Don’t Forget Your Sales Process
This time of year always brings a convergence of all types of activity. We’re closing the last deals of the year–that frenzy to make the numbers. We’re getting ready for the Holidays and New Year. We’re getting ready to launch the New Year with a bang.
New plans and programs. Some inevitable restructuring, new territories and realignment. Always the new quotas and compensation plans. New initiatives focusing on the fastest start possible.
But year after year, we enter the year with the same old sales process–you know, that one we developed a few years ago–or in the case of one of my clients, over a decade ago!
How can we hope to maximize performance if we are executing (or not executing) and old sales process?
Think about it:
- Have your customers changed the way they buy?
- Have your customers/markets changed?
- Has your customer engagement or customer experience model changed?
- Are your demand generation, nurturing programs changing?
- Are you facing new or different competition?
- Have current competitors changed their strategies?
- Have you introduced new products to existing or new markets?
- Have you shifted your strategies and priorities?
- Have your win rates changed–up or down?
- Have your sales cycles changed–shorter, longer, or more “no decisions?”
- Have your margins changed? Are you forced to discount more?
- Have you acquired new companies or merged with another organization?
- Have you changed or shifted your go-to-market strategies?
I don’t know any organization where at least one of these hasn’t occurred in the past 12 months.
Your same old sales process just won’t cut it!
Take the time to reassess and tune your sales process. It’s supposed to make you much more productive, efficient, and effective. It’s supposed to align you more effectively with how your customers buy, enabling you to create much more value and more effectively engage your customers. If you are relying on your same old process–then you are doing yourselves, your company and your customers a disservice.
As you reassess and tune your sales process, try a couple of different things. First, do it with marketing. Make sure you are looking at an integrated customer buying experience, so that you are effectively and efficiently engaging the customers. It might also be nice to be collaborating with marketing, rather than fighting them.
Second, make sure you are looking at how your customers are buying. Are they changing their decision-making processes? Do they know how to buy? Make sure your updated sales process reflects these changes–so you can actually create value in the process.
Third, you must engage earlier than in the past. Think about how you can use your process to disrupt your customers’ thinking. How can they run their businesses differently? How can they better serve customers, or find new customers? How can they be more efficient? How can they grow? How can they innovate and improve? We can no longer wait for our customers to engage us in their buying process, we must disrupt them, provide insight, and help them initiate a change process. Design your new sales process around this concept–change your results forever!
Was last year tough? Well the coming year won’t be any easier if you don’t do something about your sales process!
(Now the inevitable commercial announcement—for our free sales process self assessment, just email me and ask for it, firstname.lastname@example.org. For a fast start on the New Year, ask how we can help!)
Interested in our Sales Management Operating System–a framework to look at the entire sales function and how the different pieces, parts fit together? Ask for our free interactive MindMap by emailing email@example.com with your full name, company and company email.