Just about every conversation that I have with sales executives leads to an expression of their greatest need, "Improve sales performance ... as quickly as possible!" In almost every case, the real issue is the need to more consistently and effectively implement their sales process. In almost every case the quickest road to success is to improve their understanding and execution of their discovery process. Here are a few important benchmarks to consider in reviewing your sales discovery.
Develop All Discovery Insights for each Sales Stage
It is not enough to train your sales reps on the theory of the discovery process. You must be granular in your approach and support. That means taking the time to define all the key insights or discovery questions that are to be uncovered through each of your sales stages. This is a critical aspect of successful discovery management that is often overlooked.
Meet with your team. Ask the group what are the key discovery insights and at which stage they should be asked. This discussion can be quite insightful and assist in team building as well as developing a common vision of your sales process. Then rank each of your discovery insights in importance. The higher the score you assign, the more likelihood of closing the opportunity or developing a deeper relationship with you customer.
The next step is to create a list of responses that you expect for every discovery insight question. This is not as daunting a task as it first sounds. Even if you are asking an open-ended question, there are likely only 7 to 8 responses that you commonly hear.
The final step is ranking your discovery insight responses. Again, the higher the ranking, the more likely you are in closing the opportunity. This new data is the foundation for your discovery management process. You can now calculate a Discovery Completeness Score which is a new metric for sales effectiveness management. You can also use the data for accurate forecasting instead of relying on inaccurate stage opportunity values.
Map the Value and the Experience to be Delivered for each Sales Stage
Your detailed Discovery Insights will help deliver better sales performance. However, you can increase your sales effectiveness to a new level if you provide a map of the customer experience that the rep is expected to deliver at each sales stage ... as well as the key value assets that are to be delivered that will help build trust and engagement.
Your contact plans should include the number of contact efforts. Determine if voicemail messages are to be left, if emails are to be sent and the frequency and cadence of engagement. This should be tracked and managed with your CRM.
Consider the importance of being customer-centric and provide the specific value to be delivered by your reps at each stage. These should be aligned with the discovery insights to ensure relevance and can include webinars, white papers, special research or other unique value that differentiates your brand.
Manage your Sales Discovery Process
Manage the process. Use your Discovery Completion Score to understand if your reps are promoting opportunities prematurely or if opportunities are under developed. Drill down to the question detail to see which insights are not being asked and coach your reps accordingly. You can also monitor sales process compliance with this new data.
We are facing harsh new realities in selling today. We need to increase our performance. The most fundamental shift is the definition and measurement of your sales discovery process. Most organizations find that their performance dramatically increases within 2 months.
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