My peers and I have talked many times about the benefits of an
effective sales process. There are the obviously essential things that a
sales process needs to be - be repeatable, be criteria based, clearly
defined and all in the proper sequence. Then there are the benefits that
come from implementing this type of process - better accountability,
easier to manage the pipeline and forecasts and an organization speaking
the same language on any topic is always more efficient.
And then there are the "not so obvious" benefits. These are the
things we hear some time after implementing or refining a sales process
at a company. These were not the goals or an intentional focus, yet they
were still desirable outcomes.
It helps even weaker Managers manage - left to their own
instincts many managers struggle at being effective when it comes to
coaching people, yet they can at least manage to the process. It is like
painting by numbers.
It ensures your prospects and customers are treated in a consultative way - we
all want our sales people to treat potential clients this way and yet
too often they talk and present and fail to differentiate. A process
that requires the specific gathering of information forces reps to move
into a more consultative dialog.
It gathers useful information from the field related to changes in your market or new needs - when
everyone is working with the same process then any issues with the
pipeline or forecast can be defined more easily. Rather than guessing or
taking the individual rep into consideration you can ask "if we have so
many opportunities stuck here might it be a competitive/pricing/product
It helps new reps get on boarded quicker - they join the company and their expected activities are clearly defined.
It helps veteran reps stay out of the "rut" - veterans can be
the worst culprits of avoiding a process and shooting from the hip.
Focusing on the metrics of the process will push fresh wind into their
It aligns the corporation - the pattern and the focus a process provides not only aligns sales but helps sales align with other parts of the company.
Before you dismiss the idea that you may have an issue with sales
process think about this. Our research shows that even when leaders
believe there is a sales process often the managers and sales people do
not use it or are not aware of it.
is the VP of Corporate Training at Kurlan & Associates. You can
find this post, as well as additional content on his blog clocated here.