One of the biggest problems with today’s sales force is the reliance on tactics that were documented back in 1873. This tactic and process assume that the salesperson can do everything, including prospecting, negotiating, closing, demonstrating the product or service, following up, and taking care of the customer overall. Back in those days, that process worked, but the buying process has changed significantly. The sales process hasn’t kept up with those changes in the buying process, and as a result, this creates numerous bottlenecks in the buying process.
The Importance of the Sales Process
Research indicates that the highest performers and the most successful sales team have a well-defined process that everyone follows. In addition, they also have well-defined activities or steps that need to be completed within the process. What isn’t defined is up to the salesperson, and gives them the freedom and flexibility to add their own personality and their own unique way of selling into the pitch. There is a direct correlation between having a sales process and overall success, and it’s a crucial element of any winning sales team.
Lack of Sales Processes
Considering the research that shows the importance of the sales process, it’s surprising that more teams don’t create, understand, and implement processes of their own. Part of that is resistance. The sales process has been fairly resisted by a lot of sales teams. There is a hesitancy about creating a specific process and implementing that process during sales calls because of a fear that it will weigh people down, or make things too rigid. The other part of the resistance is that sales managers are not trained on how to develop these processes, how to help their team understand the processes, or monitor the usage and effectiveness of the processes. In the United States, there are about 18 universities that offer degrees in sales, and even less, only two or three, that offer degrees in sales management. These two things are a few reasons why many sales teams lack the proper processes.
If you keep doing what you’re doing, where will you be at the end of the year? Most sales forces wait until they’re about two months away from the end of the year to acknowledge the fact that they’re not going to make it. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that you’re going to hit your end of year target? If you control the quantity and quality of activities, then you’ll produce predictable results.