The purpose of process is to ensure consistency. A good process is like a checklist that ensures the right things get done by the right people at the right time. Unfortunately, sales is a discipline that often lacks documented processes. Consequently, sales results are often unpredictable from one quarter to another.
Many organizations are now making the effort to document their sales process. After much effort, they are finding that they are experiencing diminishing returns. One of the fundamental reasons for this is they often take a self-centered orientation. They implement the process with the view of ensuring things are done in the most efficient manner for their organization. This often creates tension between the sales person’s performance and the buyer’s expectations.
In today’s hyper-competitive market not only must your solution create value for your customer, but the sales process itself must also create value. The only way to ensure that your sales process creates value is to begin first with the buying process.
Here are some steps to get you started:
- Identify your buyer. Who are you selling to? Many organizations neglect this fundamental question. You can’t appeal to everyone. You must begin by being clear about who you want to help.
- Uncover the steps in their buying process. What are the pains they experience? What typically happens when they experience these pains? Where do they look for answers and what do they look for? Who gets involved at each stage in their buying process and why?
- Design your sales process to satisfy the buyer’s needs at each stage of their process. Ensure your salespeople do not engage in sales activity for the sake of the activity itself. Ensure that they understand that the reason to engage in sales activity is to move the buyer through the stages of the buying cycle.
- Create sales tools that satisfy the buyer’s needs at each stage of the buying cycle and that help the salesperson to communicate effectively with the buyer.
- Create a matrix that enables the salesperson to track how well they are engaging buyers at each stage of the buying process.
This fundamental shift in perspective will yield a dramatic difference in performance. Your salespeople will become increasingly effective in articulating value and staying relevant. The best salespeople today don’t sell. They solve problems and they help people buy. A good process ensures your salespeople consistently create value.