As the manager of a sales team, one of your primary responsibilities is making sure your team is operating as effectively as possible. Sales skills, team cohesion, and product knowledge are all important elements in creating an effective sales team. However, if your sales process has leaks that are causing it to be ineffective, your sales team, along with their sales results, will never reach their potential.
Importance of an effective sales process
You can imagine your sales process like it is a ship at sea. Even with the best ship design (your products or services) and the best crew (your sales team), leaks in the hull could cause your ship to sink. Even small leaks, which can be maintained, will take away from the potential your ship has when operating at 100%.
Similarly, a “leaky” sales process can cost a significant amount of sales over the long-term. The worst part of an inefficient sales process is that there is little that your sales team can do to reverse it; no amount of positive or negative incentives will help if there are underlying problems with the process itself. In order to stay in control of your sales process and make your sales process as effective and error-free as possible, you must first identify the problems in your current process and then take actions to remove those impediments.
Common mistakes in the sales process
While every industry and every company are different, there are some sales process mistakes that are fairly common across the board. The first step to increasing sales effectiveness and improving overall sales is to identify if your sales team or sales process are making these same mistakes.
One common issue across many industries is not understanding when to make a follow-up call and when not to. This mistake can fall onto both sides of the spectrum. Making follow-up calls too often can irritate a lead and make them unresponsive to any further sales efforts. On the other hand, failing to call can lead to missed opportunities. In order to have your team deliver a consistent experience of value map out a precise contact plan that includes how many efforts will be made and how many days apart they will occur. You can also support your team by giving them message scripts, voicemail scripts as well as call scripts and objection handling recommendations.
Lack of specific goals in a sales call
Every sales team member, no matter how experienced, should have specific, measurable objectives every time they make a sales call (on the phone or in person). Without these specific and measurable goals, it is easy for the conversation to be led astray, and to miss on important elements that are proven to increase sales. In order to measure how well sales team members are doing, they must have goals that they understand going into each call that can be quantitatively measured after the fact. Develop a complete set of key insights that are required in the successful delivery of your discovery call and provide the ability for your sales reps to track which insights have been uncovered at each stage of the pipeline. This will provide a date-driven process for self-evaluation and a consistent process of goal setting for each call or meeting.
Knowing the product inside and out
There are few things worse that a sales person who does not deeply understand what it is they are selling. Even the best product utilizing the best sales process will fail if the sales personal delivering the message is not able to respond with clarity, expertise and confidence. Your team should have regular (quarterly or semi-quarterly) workshops where they build their product knowledge and are tested on that knowledge. Roll-play with difficult questions that may be asked of them. There are a finite number of scenarios that they will be presented with, and each rep should be armed with the best responses to key needs, preferences, objections and competitive influence.
Avoid sales process mistakes using the Insight Sales Process™
Please read The Insight Sales Process™. It is designed to assist with both the identification and removal of inefficiencies in your company’s sales process. The Insight Sales Index is a quantification of the likelihood of closing a deal and the depth of the relationship. The Insight Completeness Score™ provides measurement on the completeness and reliablability of the sales discovery. It is easy to incorporate the Insight Sales Process™ into your existing framework with little risk and you can realize great value in your next quarter’s sales results and create long term sales success.