Our previous post focused on applying the fundamentals of CI to the sales process, and included some proven best practices that can help boost field-day efficiency.
But the sales process extends well-beyond a day in the field, as it encompasses everything from identifying a lead to delivering a solution.
Considering this broad spectrum, it is really not surprising that the largest waste in most commercial and industrial organizations is lost gross margin that results from sales not made, sub-optimal pricing, and excessive costs in sales-related processes.
The first step toward improvement — that is, moving from “where we are now to where we’d like to be if everything were right” — is to identify specific areas of waste, and a good way to start might be to answer the following 20 questions:
- What is our current market share?
- What are our customers’ requirements?
- How well are we meeting these requirements?
- What would it take to truly delight our customers?
- How long does the sales process take from lead to sale?
- What is our lead conversion ratio?
- What were the top 3 reasons for lost sales over the past quarter?
- How many calls do our sales people make, on average, each day?
- How much time do we spend talking with uninterested or unqualified leads?
- How do we continually improve our sales team’s skills and habits?
- What percentage of prospects contact us first?
- How does this percentage (#11) compare with industry data?
- Does the sales process take less time to complete for inbound leads? If so, how much less?
- What is our response time to customer or prospect inquiries?
- How many customer complaints do we receive?
- How much time do our sales people spend interceding or responding to complaints?
- What is done with the information associated with customer complaints?
- How do customer complaints or how does customer dissatisfaction impact our ability to make sales?
- How often are discounts extended, and what is the average discount?
- Are discounts offered due to competition or in response to dissatisfaction?
Clearly there are many more questions and steps associated with analyzing and improving an organization’s sales process, but these twenty questions are a good starting point.