In response to my post, But We Have A Sales Process…., Dave Stein wrote a great post, More Excuses For Not Doing The Right Thing About Sales Effectiveness. It’s a great post about excuses he hears for not having or following a sales process. Please make sure you read it.
I also got some very interesting comments, both on this blog and in other places my articles are posted. An issue that came up multiple times is “how to we have a sales process without having a lot of bureaucracy?” The question reminded me of a lot of things I have seen in organizations I work with—those who have a sales process but where it is not being used.
Too often, we try to make our sales processes too complicated. We try to make sure we have covered every possible outcome or case, every customer circumstance, for each of our products. Years ago, we worked with a Fortune 100 organization. We provided a recommendation for their sales process, roughly 25 key activities in about 5 key stages. Subsequently, they decided to re-engineer it to make it “better.” The result was a 12 stage sales process, with 9 pages of single spaced bullet points. Is anyone surprised the sales people never used the process?
A great sales process is one that is elegantly simple. A great sales process is a roadmap, based on best practices, that describes the most effective and efficient manner to guide the customer through their buying process. It doesn’t describe every pothole in the road, or every small turn, it focuses on the critical activities needed to get to a successful sale. A great sales process is one that causes the sales professional to think and analyze, using the process to help focus the strategy–not blindly follow a set of pre-described steps.
Finally, a great sales process feels natural in its execution. It’s kind of like a golf swing, you can feel when you’ve made a great swing, and it feels easy and natural. A great sales process, well executed should flow naturally. However, like a golf swing, it doesn’t flow naturally until you practice it and use it constantly.
Look at your organization’s sales process. Is it elegantly simple? In execution does it flow naturally? If not, maybe it’s time to redesign it. If you need help, ask us (sorry the salesman in me popped out–couldn’t resist 😉