What is your take on the paradox “Sales Teams die without process” vs “Too much process may kill Sales Teams”? Are you amongst the ones who feel constrained and restricted when you hear the word process? Or do you find processes guiding you towards your next action?
Well, I personally was in a love-hate relationship with processes in general and sales processes were no different. I swayed sides from processes hindering creativity to processes helping me decide “what next”. I recall my early sales days wherein I followed a very well-defined sales process, the young rebel in me wanted to prove a point and in doing so tweaked and modified the sales process as per my preferences. The result was shattering, I wasn’t able to achieve my sales target. Now when I look back, I realize I was playing the wrong chords.
The key here is to find the point of perfect balance. The balance between process development and execution. I am a firm believer that sales is an art which needs to be mastered by the artist, however I would not want to take anything away from the process of painting (Execution). I am pretty sure the process was equally helpful for the artist to come up with his masterpiece. Today when I look back and reflect my discomfort with the process my understanding of the process in general stands out. I now see my inability to draw a clear set of actions to perform a task in the past quite visible which led me to look down upon the sales process in general.
If you ask me now, I believe that sales process is nothing but a clear set of actions that you need to take to make sure your prospects become your client. Simple right, Well that’s the catch it is definitely simple but involves a fair bit of complexity in terms of consumer behavior, sales team abilities, and many more. Keep reading to explore how you can make sure the simple steps in sales process become even simpler while execution.
1. The process should be as simple to your team as it is to you
I repeat again execution is the key here. When we say simple it should be simple to everyone around us especially the users. Sales processes are no different. The sales team’s ability to execute the steps, their understanding, the available resources should all be considered while defining the process. Now, do you understand why isn’t your team sending proposals without approval or verification? Or why isn’t your team recording the “Know your customer” details properly? Probably you need to look into the processes and think from their perspective.
2. Don’t overcomplicate
Now in our desperate effort to simplify we fall prey to the tendency of simplifying to a level which now questions the significance of the steps outlined. And in doing so we result in overcomplicating it. Like these sentences themselves. What is the point of taking approval from two different managers/departments separately when we have the option of doing it collectively by looping both of them in a single mail? You now need to look and avoid any redundant steps that may be compromising your team’s efficiency.
3. What after closure?
A lot of processes end after making the sales or it would be better to say end at the point of sale. Well, technically the definition that I presented above also implies the same. But what after that, Sales and Selling techniques have evolved over time. There is so much activity, potential, and responsibility after sale. Growing beliefs like“Retention to be the new acquisition” are valid indications of the potential after-sales. Your sales process should be able to incorporate these opportunities and should be a part of your core business philosophy. This will also help you incorporate the buyer’s perspective after all these opportunities are a representation of their expectations as well.
4. Listen to your team
The intention of the process is to guide salespeople and sales teams. With things changing so rapidly the need to adjust and accommodate changes in the process is supremely important. While doing so the best insights come from the sales teams. They are the rightful executional custodians of the process in general. They develop the ability to visualize, optimize, and improve the process as they know their own efficiency is at stake here. Hear them out and let them back their opinions with data.
5. Use technology and let data speak
There are enough opportunities to leverage technology and make it a crucial element of your sales process. Technology like CRM not only helps you in optimizing the process but also helps a salesperson monitor his own performance, understand the bottlenecks better, and significantly improve the response rates. The above-mentioned aspects should definitely be a part of the decision-making criterion at the time of selecting the technology to be used. The use of technology also promotes the culture of using data to back decisions after all additional reassurance never harmed anybody.
Sales processes have had the reputation of being intimidating and cumbersome at the same time. A lot of times these intimidations are a result of the failure to understand what sales processes actually are. The above-mentioned aspects may help you in understanding the significance and the need for a sales process to overcome the selling challenges in modern times.