Sales Process – the Great is the Enemy of the Good Enough
Most companies claim to have a sales process or methodology, but many times it’s so burdensome that the sales team doesn’t bother with it at all. Focusing on just the basics – like identifying decision makers, buyers, and influencers – goes a long way to achieving the benefits of increasing sales efficiency.
How many companies have you worked at or worked with that had adopted the sales methodology de jour? Whether it’s Solution Selling, SPIN Selling, Challenger Sale, Customer Centric, or Miller-Heiman, we’ve all been through the training and the documentation that goes with them. The goal of a consistent and predictable sales process makes complete sense, but too many companies take the implementation and imposition of the sales methodology too far, in particular by hard-wiring it into their sales force automation or CRM system. While the VP of Sales and Sales Operations think they’re turning on sales acceleration, they’re actually turning off the sales team.
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You hire salespeople to sell, and selling means talking to customers. The more time reps have to spend with customers, the more they’ll sell, and the more they, you, and your company will make. So why do we impose clerical and data entry burdens on our salespeople? Keep in mind that each sales methodology ends up creating new fields for salespeople to fill in, which they immediately come to dread. Assuming they can figure out what the fields means and what appropriate values to pick or comments to enter. How many times have you seen the “Next Step” field with “Close it!” in it?
Sales heads should focus their teams and their efforts on the handful of information that will actually move deals forward. If the sales rep does nothing more than identify the key roles on their deals – decision makers, economic buyers, influencers, and – most importantly – executive sponsors, that would represent a huge improvement in most companies’ sales processes and deal close percentages.
Too often, we fall in love with a great idea without realizing the costs and pitfalls. Many times 20 percent of the project will yield 80 percent of the benefit, and be much more likely to be accomplished, than the “ideal”.