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Does Your Sales Process Achieve These 4 Outcomes?

by David Brock on December 12th, 2012

The sales process is the cornerstone to driving the highest levels of sales performance.  There’s so much data supporting this, one would think discussing sales process should be a non issue—-every organization should continually be strengthening their process, sales people should be executing them with precision.  Yet, this is far from the truth.  Too many don’t have or don’t use the sales process.  Still others have poorly developed processes that actually hinder results.

Take a look at your process.  If it doesn’t achieve the following 4 outcomes, then you need to go back to the drawing board.  If you don’t have a process–then you are missing these outcomes, so put a process in place!

1.  Does your sales process improve your win rates?  Dugghhh–yet so many seem designed to achieve the opposite.  It’s simple, your sales process is modeled after the key activities you execute to win.  The sales process is a collection of the best experience in your organization–the things you consistently do that cause you to win.  Why wouldn’t we want to collect these, learn from them, and execute those things that cause us to win time after time?

2.  Does your sales process compress your sales cycle?  The sales process focuses on the critical activities you have to execute to win.  It eliminates all waste, all unnecessary steps.  It enables you to move through the process in the most efficient means possible.

3.  Does your sales process maximize deal profitability?  This is one of the underestimated, but most powerful aspects of a great sales process.  One is it forces you to focus on your sweet spot–that is, those customers where you can create the greatest value.  Second, the process forces you to focus on identifying what your customers value–then positioning your solution in the context of what customers value most.  Without a process, developing, communicating and delivering compelling/differentiated value is just a shot in the dark–we know how that ends, you either lose or have to discount like crazy to win.

4.  Does your sales process align you with your customer’s buying process?  The buying and selling processes are distinct.  Some would claim the buying process is all we need to work with–but the buying process is owned by the customer.  There are things we as sales professionals have to do in our sales process which are independent of the customer buying process.  But the sales process has to be closely aligned with the customer buying process–otherwise, we are working at cross purposes and wasting each other’s time.

As sales professionals we focus on outcomes–results.  To be successful, we have to help our customers produce results and compelling outcomes.  To fulfill our responsibilities within our own organizations, we have to produce results.  The sales process is the cornerstone to doing this consistently, effectively, and efficiently.

If your sales process isn’t producing these 4 outcomes, then it’s a bad process–fix it!  If your people aren’t using the sales process, then they aren’t maximizing their impact–fix it!  If you aren’t reinforcing the use of the sales process in all your reviews and coaching, then you aren’t fulfilling your responsibility as a leader–fix it!

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  1. Dave, another thought about aligning with the buying process. Often you can find an opportunity to help your customer improve their buying process. My experience is that many customers have buying processes that are inadequate to the task of buying complex business solutions – they try to reduce the complexities and make the choice between commodities, and make the decision around price competition. If you can show them how to evaluate the value of competitive solutions you will have done them a great service. A good discussion of this is Jeff Thull’s “Mastering the Complex Sale.”

    • Great comment Andy! In B2B buying situations, very often, the customer buys so infrequently, they don’t know how to buy. Whether it’s evaluating alternatives, justifying the solution, organizing themselves to make a decision. We can do a lot to help them here–which creates value and differentiation for us. Thanks for the great addition to the post!

  2. Dave, I’d add one more: does you sales process help to eliminate wasted effort? By this, I mean does it help to exclude “prospects” that are never likely to buy early? Does it eliminate things that add no value to the prospect’s decision making process? Does it help to eliminate obstacles (on your side or theirs) that could stand in the way of a positive buying decision?

    There’s a growing body of work written around the principles of “lean startups”. I think there’s room to apply the waste-elimination, do-nothing-of-no-value principles that underpin lean to the sales and marketing process. After all, we ought to have better data than ever before about what is and isn’t working…

    • Bob, I really like introducing lean into this discussion. The ultimate beauty of a well designed sales process is that it has to be lean. It has to eliminate anything that isn’t essential or that doesn’t add value in the process. It’s really a key part of great sales processes. Thanks for tossing this very important part into the discussion. Regards, Dave

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Evaluate Your Sales Process for Efficiency | Media Sales Today
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