The vast majority of businesses have the sales process completely wrong!
Too many businesses believe that sales success is the result of some mystery skill only found in the very best salespeople – that if you hire great salespeople your business will grow and if your business is not growing that it is the fault of the salespeople.
This is simply not true!
I won’t argue that selling is a skill and great salespeople can generate great results but I have also seen the very best salespeople fail because the sales process was either non-existent or poorly designed. Most businesses have sales processes that actually get in the way of sales success.
Are you helping or hurting sales?
Can you imagine an accounting system where you dumped all the invoices into a box and then simply paid them randomly as money became available?
Of course not – you would be out of business very soon!
Can you imagine a factory that manufactured every order differently, using different materials and tools?
Of course not – customers expect to reorder with a predictable idea of what they will receive!
Why then do businesses take this approach with sales? Most salespeople are provided little more than a desk and a telephone – required to find their own leads, write their own pitches and manage their own pipelines.
Those that do succeed and thrive do so independently so when they leave their knowledge disappears! As a result the company’s sales ability does not improve. Too many businesses have no understanding or control on how the sales process is managed and so improvement is impossible.
The ability to manage the sales process is fundamental to business success!
How does a company design a sales process? To create a sales process you need to understand every aspect of lead generation and conversion. Then these steps are refined, benchmarking against best practices and the results are used to train the sales force. Regular monitoring and evaluation compares the sales performance against the process to achieve ongoing improvement.
At this point a sales process cycle of documentation, evaluation, training and improvement ensure the sales process works and is being continually improved.
Where to start?
First answer the following questions:
1) What value does my business deliver?
2) Who is my ideal customer?
3) Why would my ideal customer choose me?
4) What are my top five methods of generating qualified sales leads?
5) Where have we succeeded in the past?
6) Do I have a compelling message / sales script for effectively closing sales leads?
7) Do I have an effective method for managing leads, prospects and customer relationships (pipeline)?
8) Do I have a process for regularly evaluating and benchmarking sales activity?
9) Do I monitor and document sales successes to train and improve overall sales performance?
10) Do I invest in sales training?
11) Do I have a process to set goals, measure results and provide positive feedback to stakeholders?
If you answered yes to all of the following then you have the basic pieces in place to create a more powerful business model.
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