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What I’ve Been Missing About The Selling Process

by David Brock on March 27th, 2010

Regular readers know the sales process and its importance to sales performance excellence is one of my soapboxes.  But in my zeal to talk about the sales process, I’ve forgotten a key point.

My friend, Don Perkins, reminded me of this in an important blog post:  A Lesson From Dad-Always Teach Principles Along With Processes.  Don’s absolutely on target.

In my rants about the sales process, I’ve often forgotten to talk about the principles behind the process.  I think all of us fall victim to the same thing at different points in time.  We become so focused on a certain objective, that we are blind to why we are doing it in the first place.

If we don’t know the principles that underlie what we are trying to do, we will struggle to keep focused and on target.  If we don’t have a context based on sound principles, as Don says, when things get dicey, it’s hard to know how to get back on target.

The sales process is important to our effectiveness and performance, but just teaching people about the process, what steps to take, what boxes to check loses the reason we are doing this.  It becomes mechanical and meaningless.  Why should we be executing the process?

It’s important that we understand the basic principles and objectives upon which we build our processes.  It’s important that our people understand these and have internalized them.  Once they understand the principles and objectives, the execution of the process becomes much more natural.   When things go off course and our processes don’t help us getting back on course, understanding the principles help us adapt and make the right corrections.

In developing your sales process and teaching your teams how to implement it, make sure they also understand the underlying principles.  Don’t just teach them what the process is, but make sure they understand, why a process is important, why we have chosen the process we have, why it’s important for them, what they get out of it.

Our processes can’t define everything.  But if we all understand the principles upon which the processes are built, we now have a framework to achieve our goals and objectives. 

Don, thanks for the great reminder!  Sustained performance excellence is not just about executing the process or program, it’s about understanding the basic principles and objectives these are built on.

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6 Comments
  1. David,

    You are correct. For all the reasons you cite, I firmly believe in the following Three Core Principles and have been “ranting” about them myself for years.

    1. Continuous improvement of the sales process is a fundamental necessity. (Even if you’re better than your competitors right now, if you’re stagnant and they’re improving, eventually you are dead meat.)

    2. Objective metrics – lots of them – are required to judge the quality, the amount and the pace of improvement. (If you can’t show me the data, you DON’T KNOW for sure if you are getting better or worse or staying the same.)

    3. A well-defined sales process is a pre-requisite for determining meaningful metrics. (You have to know what exactly you’re measuring before you can measure it.)

    • Todd, it’s great to have another vocal advocate of the sales process! Thanks for adding to the discussion. Regards, Dave

  2. Doug Schmidt permalink

    Todd and Dave thank you for the excellent reminder of sustained consistent performance. One of the challenges of using discipline in the sales process is it is so easy to get off the tracks when sales process is not working or sales are going well we do not need a process. Process takes both science, disciplined leadership and art to keep the organization and individuals on track. Many times it may be lack herding rabbits and cats where we can be frustrated in developing productive habits and best practice behaviors. We need to do a better job with positive reinforcement of best behavioral practices and more effective communication strategies that emphasize why process is so important.

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