And How to Correct Your Sales Process
When you are living in the sales process, it can be hard to figure out where the problems really are. Sales problems typically fall into two areas.
- Not enough prospecting, which means not enough meetings being held to add opportunities to the pipeline.
- Bad sales process, which means that there are good deals in the pipeline, but those deals are not closing optimally, or at least at a predictable rate that is acceptable to the company.
When the pipeline is full of opportunities, but sales are not where they should be, management really needs to look at problems with the process. While it is easier to blame your people for poor results, it is normally a process problem, not a people problem.
Here are tips to help you identify where you might make some improvements to increase your sales process effectiveness.
- Qualification needs to be heavy at the front. The biggest danger of a full pipeline is that your salespeople are chasing deals that will not close - but they don’t know it. This typically happens when we find that the deal would be “great for us” or the opportunity is “in our sweet spot.” Salespeople in this situation go into ‘convince and prove’ mode as opposed to selling. Salespeople should only be chasing deals where the prospect has been identified as a good customer, that customer clearly needs you, and they have a compelling reason not only to solve the problem but to solve it with you.
- Presenting or quoting should only be done on deals we will likely get. Once the customer knows how you will solve the problem and then what it will cost, you have lost all of your leverage. They have everything they need to decide. Although it is counterintuitive, you really need to sell the deal conceptually before giving too much away. That means the prospect has said that they want to solve their problems and they want you to do it. Take a look at your pipeline to see how many quotes are out to people who have not said that to you.
- Are we selling or collecting information? Too many sales processes are heavy on data collection. We want to know exactly what the client wants, who will make the decision, how much money they have, etc. None of that leads to increased chances of getting a deal. We want salespeople to sell, which means they are:
- Correcting incorrect prospect beliefs
- Identifying reasons that things have to change from how they are now
- Overcoming the prospect’s subconscious desire to not change or do things differently unless absolutely necessary
- Unseating an incumbent that has been doing OK
- Creating an atmosphere where the prospect not only trusts you, but trusts you so much that they WANT to work with you
- The process must predict the outcome. The whole point of having a sales process is to do what works over and over again. That means that when an outcome occurs that is not what we wanted to happen, it is very clear that the process was either not followed or exactly where it was ineffective. Most sales managers do not spend enough time managing to the process to really understand where things are going wrong and why. Take a look at the last five losses that you had. What was skipped in the process, what was not done per the process? If it isn’t clear, then you do not have an effective process at all!
Building the Right Sales Process
The sales process should be simple, easy to see, and very effective. It may be time to evaluate making changes to the process if you are seeing any of the above. If you need help with that we would be happy to spend the time showing what is wrong and how to fix it. Click here to connect with a Lushin coach.