Most of our “sales processes” are failing us. There are a couple of core reasons we’ve found. First, sales people don’t pay attention to them or execute them poorly. This post isn’t for those people.
Second, we have outdated views of the sales process. We design it to be a relatively linear progression of activities we undertake with the customer. Despite knowing the customer buying process is very squishy and wandering, we design our processes to be relatively rigid, rigid to the point of being highly scripted. Overlay on this, the focus is on our activities and the activities we want the customer to do in response to our activities.
Sometimes, when we design our sales processes, we suggest a complementary buying process to align customer activities with the things we want to do. But the reality is very far from this.
Having said this, a sales process is very important–not just to us, but also to our customers. But today’s sales processes have to be designed very differently. Let’s look at some of the elements:
I’ll stop here. There are undoubtedly more–but since you are agile and skilled problem solvers, you can figure them out.
For complex issues, the buying process, problem solving process, and, consequently, our selling process will never be a simple predictable process. It will change with every situation and every customer. But we can help the customer make it simpler and improve their success in achieving their goals. And through that, more effectively achieve our own.
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.
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