Everyone knows where good intentions get you. You don’t want your sales process to be one of those good intentions that stays captured in your employee handbook or sales manual. But how do you create a sales process that is actually put to use?
With more than three decades of experience in sales and a trademarked process, the professionals at Sales Focus Inc. have a few recommendations:
#1: Map Out Your Existing Sales Process
You do not want to risk wasting your time recreating the wheel, but you’ll never know if that’s what your sales process discussions will lead to if you do not first have a clear idea of what your current sales process is.
Map out what your sales process looks like and include some visual cues to show:
- Areas where no one really knows what’s happening or what’s supposed to happen
- Areas where you have an established practice or system but one that does not seem to be very efficient or effective.
If you have more than one sales process, for instance, one for the field team, another for the phone team, map them both out. This could be the first step to streamlining your sales process and, possibly to cross-training sales representatives.
#2: Identify What Isn’t Working
Identify the steps or systems in your existing sales process that aren’t working. If you don’t know which steps or systems these are, ask your sales team—they’ll know.
Identifying what isn’t working is not just an exercise in complaining. Go further and see if you can pinpoint why something isn’t working.
- Are there technical difficulties (like unreliable cloud-based software or lack of updated hardware)?
- Is there a compliance issue? Are sales reps cutting corners or forgetting something that would make the existing process go more smoothly?
- Do you need updated information about your market to be more effective?
It is possible that when analyzing your existing sales process you may find that the process itself is not the problem. You may need to revise or re-strategize your marketing campaign or target a different segment of the market for improved sales performance.
#3: Identify What Is Working
It’s easy to focus on the negative, but if your team was making any sales, then something was going right—what was it? Find what about your existing sales process is worth keeping.
#4: Ask for Input from Your Sales Team
If you discover that the current sales process really is the cause for lagging performance, do not leave “the fix” up to management alone. That’s a sure-fire way to get resistance and non-compliance from your sales team. Ask them for input.
If you’ve done your job right, your sales team is comprised of experienced, (historically) high-performers. They will have valuable insights to improve the process to achieve more sales more efficiently. And, when they feel acknowledged (whether or not their suggestions are actually implemented), they will be motivated to achieve higher performance for your company.
#5: Re-Map Your Sales Process
Before your sales reps implement a new sales process, test it on paper. Create a visual map of the process, do some role playing and create some “what if” scenarios to work through. Try to answer as many questions and resolve as many issues as possible before your sales team goes “live”.
#6: Seek Feedback and Correct
There will never be any better teacher than real life. So, once your sales team has been using the new sales process for a few weeks with actual prospects and clients, reconvene to find out if the process needs further refining.
If it does, then go back to step 2—identify what isn’t working, what is and ask for feedback from your sales team.
The key to creating a sales process that your reps will fully support is buy in. They need to feel invested in the process.
If you need help creating a sales process and/or a cohesive sales team dynamic, contact SFI for expert consultation.