Sales process adherence is often overlooked, but it is crucial for the success of any sales organization. When a sales team follows a defined process consistently, it can lead to increased sales, improved customer satisfaction, and reduced costs.
In a recent podcast interview, I had the pleasure of speaking with Spencer Wixom, President & CEO of The Brooks Group, about the importance of sales process adherence. Spencer is a seasoned sales professional with over 30 years of experience, and his insights were invaluable.
The Reality of Sales Process Adherence
Spencer shared that while many organizations claim to have a sales process, only a small percentage actually follow it consistently. This lack of adherence can lead to disorganization and confusion in customer interactions, which can ultimately impact sales negatively.
The Three Basic Rules for Process Adherence
Spencer emphasized three basic rules for sales process adherence:
- Do not skip steps.
- Complete each step before moving on.
- Ensure that both the salesperson and the customer are in the same step at the same time.
These rules are essential to avoid misinterpretation and to ensure a smooth sales process.
The Importance of Initial Stages in the Sales Process
Spencer and I also discussed the importance of spending more time and effort on the initial stages of the sales process. This is because the initial stages set the foundation for success in the later stages. Spencer cautioned against rushing through to the negotiation and closing stages, as this can result in customers not tracking with the process.
Adapting to Changing Market Dynamics
In today’s rapidly changing business environment, it is essential to regularly revisit and tweak the sales process to adapt to changing buyer behavior and market dynamics. Spencer shared that The Brooks Group reviews its sales process quarterly to ensure that it is aligned with the current market landscape.
The Difference Between Methodology and Process in Sales
Spencer made an interesting comparison between the sales process and a chord progression in music. He stated that if the process is not followed correctly, it will sound bad or wrong. This emphasizes the importance of having the right skills to execute the sales process effectively.
Assessing Salespeople’s Situational Acumen
To assess salespeople’s situational acumen in each stage of the sales process, The Brooks Group has developed an assessment called the Selling Skills Index. This assessment helps evaluate the intuition and decision-making abilities of salespeople. Interestingly, Spencer shared that salespeople struggle the most in the discovery and probing stages of the process.
The Challenges in the Current Economic Environment
We also discussed the challenges salespeople face in the current economic environment, where buyers are more cautious with their spending. Spencer highlighted the importance of competing against the “no decision” option, as it can often be the easiest and safest choice for buyers.
The Traits of Successful Salespeople
Spencer and I agreed that the best salespeople possess curiosity and intellectual curiosity about their prospects’ businesses and the business world in general. We also noted the decline in listening skills and emphasized the importance of investing in sales team skills development, especially during tough times.
Investing in Sales Team Skills Development
Many people tend to think about investing in their sales team only when times are good and they have extra money. However, I argued that it is during tough times that investing in skill development is crucial. Those who invest in skill development during tough times are the ones who emerge the strongest. Spencer agreed with this, stating that this is a well-known fact that has been statistically proven.
Sales process adherence is essential for the success of any sales organization. By following the three basic rules of process adherence, investing in sales team skills development, and adapting to changing market dynamics, sales organizations can position themselves for success in any economic environment.
John is the Amazon-bestselling author of Winning the Battle for Sales: Lessons on Closing Every Deal from the World’s Greatest Military Victories and Social Upheaval: How to Win at Social Selling. A globally acknowledged Sales & Marketing thought leader, speaker, and strategist. He is CSMO at Pipeliner CRM. In his spare time, John is an avid Martial Artist.