In today’s day and age, a company that doesn’t have a well defined and repeatable sales process can’t get ahead in the marketplace. Why? Modern sales forces, particularly in highly competitive markets, need to have well defined repeatable and scalable sales processes in order to effectively compete against national as well as global competition. The foundation for a good sales process has been covered in our other white papers, guides and blogs. That foundation includes a strong level of process definition, a strong level of automation using CRM and a strong level of accountability and discipline as instilled by management. Definition, automation and discipline are three characteristics of well-executed sales processes.
On the other end of the spectrum, we see companies that spend so much of their time measuring and tweaking their sales process that their sales people have very little time left to sell. Reporting, forecasting, metrics, selling upward in the organization to the boss, being accountable for miniscule, granular reporting and activity measurements –those can drive sales people crazy. Your best sales people are the ones who have a good combination of structure and freedom. Structure means process, but freedom means an ability to improvise and to use their own best practices to maximize their prospecting, qualifying, development and closing of new business for your company.
One thing you don’t want to do is drive yourself or your sales people crazy by over defining or over measuring or over insisting upon rigorous sales process. A well-defined sales process should be smooth, easy flowing and well lubricated. What I mean by lubricated is that you have to have the systems in place, but you also have to have people excited about doing their job and not dreading following up on endless data entries, reports, and things like that.
If your company is suffering on either end of the spectrum, you should consider bringing in an outside sales consultant to help you go through an assessment and streamlining project. If you are over-engineered in your sales process, a consultant can help you to reduce or eliminate unnecessary steps and measurements that aren’t critical to obtaining the results you’re looking for. If you need to bring some order to chaos, as is more often the case, they can help you take the rudimentary steps in order to build a workflow that helps your sales force to improve its results, without over encumbering them.
Think about sales process. Make sure that you’re driving it — and what I mean by that is focusing on driving people to be accountable for following the process — but that it’s not driving you or your team crazy.