In my assignments with various companies, I have discovered one startling fact : majority of the sales teams – whether B2B or B2C – do not seem to follow a standard Sales Process while selling. This is because either there are no formal processes stated/written down or if they ARE available sales teams – salesmen and sales managers included – seem to take particular delight in circumventing them.
The reasons ? :
- In the case of Start Ups, the usual excuse is that ” we are just busy getting things done and as a Start Up we do not have time for these kind of activities”
- If it is an existing business, the more common explanation is ” we are busy chasing targets and numbers daily , we just do have time for this kind of work – our job is to meet the target, nothing else should come in the way“
Now consider an experienced sales professional joining a Start Up or a sales organisation where Sales Processes are non existent :
Instead of changing the status quo based on the process oriented training they have imbibed in previous organisations ( indeed this being the VERY reason for them to have got the job) , what does this person do ? :
Usually they effortlessly & remorselessly SLIP into the chaotic world of non process oriented selling in their new company to organisation’s detriment.
But catch a Finance or a Manufacturing professional abandoning their previous training while either finalising the Accounts or manufacturing a Product in the new job. It never happens ! Why ?
Because both these persons are trained in their respective functions that the RESULT of their work is actually the PROCESS itself – i.e. you do not “do” the Accounts or “manufacture” the product, but you EXECUTE the PROCESS that RESULTS in the final Accounts statement being made ready or the Manufactured product being produced.
Much in the same way, CEOs have to tell their sales persons that they cannot “DO” their sales targets unless they adhere to the process that “RESULTS” in their targets being achieved. Unfortunately it is ONLY in the sales department that CEOs have to bring their team’s focus in a manner like this.
So my advice to all serious minded CEOs and Sales Directors whether in Start Ups or mature businesses is :
- If you have NOT documented your Sales Process, please do so NOW
- If you already have one, emphasise to your teams that adherence to this important and ensure your CRM/Sales Force Automation systems can track compliances at every effectively
- And MOST important, do tell them the following :
- Following the Sales Process IS the Result that the company would like to see from their sales teams daily
- The Result that the sales teams have in mind – achieving their sales targets – would be a natural consequence of following the Process
- Celebrate the SMALL wins that the achievement of every Process milestone grants them instead of waiting for that BIG celebration at the end of the month that might prove elusive (Note : the trick is that every milestone achieved will add upto the final target)
- Remember : What is the ultimate goal of having a drink ? Is it just to finish the drink as fast as possible or is it to savour every sip ?
Happy Selling !