There is a lot of talk about improving sales.
Like many companies, 20% of the sales reps generate 80% of the business. Imagine if you could get the other 80% of the sales reps to perform at a similar level. What are the successful sales reps doing that the mediocre ones are not?
First Step – Define your Sales Process
In my experience it is difficult to improve something unless it is first defined. I am a strong believer in defining the Sales Process then optimizing it.
Second Step – Ensure your Sales Process is Complete
So where does the sales process start and end? Well this is where my views may differ a little from mainstream thinking. I think the sales process starts from the point in time a potential prospect becomes aware of your company and continues until they are a customer being serviced by your company. Here are some typical stages in a “Sales Process”:
- Inbound Lead (Website Visits, Calls, Forms, Emails, Social Media)
- Marketing Automation (Lead Scoring, Lead Nurturing)
- Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
- Work the Lead (Meet with the Prospect)
- Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
- Early Stage Opportunity (Prospect)
- Mid Stage Opportunity (Presentation)
- Late Stage Opportunity (Proposal)
- Final Stage Opportunity (Negotiation)
- Won Opportunity
- Product/Service Delivery (Wow the Customer)
- Customer Service (Keep the Customer)
Of course some sales processes maybe more or less complex. The key thing is to document the sales process that your top sales performers use, and then codify that process into a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Then automate as much of the process as you can, to keep your sales reps focused on the customer relationship.
Third Step – Train you Sales Reps to use the Sales Process
You need to be sure that every sales reps is following the same sales process before you begin to optimize the process. Training is a great way to increase process adoption.
Fourth Step – Measure the Sales Process
Once the sales reps are using a common sales process then introduce sales performance management using the process and process measures to have coaching conversations.
Fifth Step – Optimize the Sales Process
Once you have established a consistent baseline sales process then it is time for process optimization. Start on the process step that is causing the most pain. That is often the marketing and sales qualification steps.
Sixth Step – Make Sales Process changes
My recommendation here is to focus the changes on one or two areas of the sales process so that you can tell what changes improved (or harmed) the sales process.
Seventh Step – Measure the Changed Sales Process Performance
Not all changes will give you the improvements you expected over the time period you expected. This is why constant measurement of the sales process performance is critical.