You may be familiar with Arthur “Red” Motley’s quote, “Nothing happens until somebody sells something!”
Leaving aside the extent to which Motley’s perspective might or might not be true, effectively managing the sales process and maintaining a path of steady revenue growth are every-day objectives within organizations of all types and sizes. And while many external factors, such as variation in the economy or increased competition, can significantly impact results, the selling process — like all processes — can and must be studied and continually improved.
Interestingly, when we delve into that subject with organizational leaders we frequently find that they have not defined a “sales process” that focuses on the work. Instead, they refer to their CRM categories as the sales process.
We understand and appreciate the value of CRM systems and forecasting, but this type of measurement does not focus on the work. It is, therefore, not surprising that a common challenge facing so many organizations is how to grow revenue.
If sales growth is an issue for your organization, here are a few strategies you might consider from a past newsletter:
- Looking outward to test or confirm what customers deem most important
- Looking inward for opportunities to define and improve the sales process
- Looking forward to maintain an innovative edge, based on 3 key criteria
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Have you formally defined your organization’s sales process?
In other words, have you documented the specific steps you or your sales team must execute to move from identifying a lead to closing the sale?
If so, are they the right steps? Have you mapped the key objectives and activities for each step? How about measuring team performance on a step-by-step basis? Are people working on the right things? Have you identified the best opportunities for continually improving each step and, as a result, the entire process?
We’ve found that those who place a strong focus on these things are able to execute the sales process much more effectively and, as a result, enjoy a number of advantages, which include:
- Consistent approach which can more easily be analyzed and continually improved, most often resulting in a greater competitive advantage
- Common language throughout the organization, facilitating more effective strategizing
- More consistent and diligent lead qualification, thus promoting efficiency and reducing waste
- More precise definition of transaction status and progress, thus more accurate forecasting
- More comprehensive need assessment, which promotes a consultative selling style and higher margins; better assessment also tends to bring-about a heightened responsiveness to customer needs, interests and priorities, and often yields larger average order size
- Heightened ability to incorporate the voice-of-the-customer into organizational decision-making
- Higher levels of conscious competence and team development
- Shorter sales cycles
- More natural closing
- A better customer experience, as the “diligent” execution promotes differentiation