When I interact with sales leaders, the question I get asked the most is, “How can I get my sales reps to actually use our sales process?” Most sales teams either don’t have one or are not disciplined about using one, so they decide to “wing it” instead…and they pay for it in the form of sub-optimal productivity.
Establishing and consistently executing a sales process has been proven to increase sales productivity. Specifically, it increases win rate, average sales price, and lifetime customer value while decreasing sales cycle length. But the positive impact of a sales process can only be realized through consistent execution of the sales process across all opportunities in your pipeline and consistent coaching in the context of the sales process.
Now, when you map your selling and coaching approach to the buying process and integrate a handful of sales “plays” designed to be deployed in specific selling situations, the overall productivity of your salesforce improves exponentially.
To get your sales reps to actually use your sales process you need to do three things:
- Embed the sales process in your CRM and use the sales stages as your forecasting methodology. You know what they say, “Out of sight means out of mind.” Requiring every deal be forecasted in the appropriate sales stage naturally drives greater adoption of your sales process. Integrating the sales process into your CRM ensures that reps see and use it every single day.
- Have your front-line sales managers coach to the sales process. Coaching is an important driver of productivity, but most managers don’t have a specific process for coaching their reps. Instead, they tell their reps to do what they would do with little or no data to support the claim. Coaching to the sales process provides real-world context to inspire reps to pay attention.
- Conduct weekly deal strategy sessions. Every level of the sales function should use the sales process to drive their deal strategy sessions. Having a formal process for planning and executing deal strategy provides a forum for sharing constructive input on how to advance the sale. Doing these regularly is a practice adhered to by all great sales organizations.
So, what’s a well-meaning Sales VP to do? Well, if you don’t have a sales process, you need to construct one. Here are the basic rules for doing so:
- Map it to the buying process
- Make sure it’s tailored to the market you’re competing in
- Layer in an adaptive capability. Research where (and why) you win or lose and use that to determine the ideal next step for a given opportunity
After you’ve established your sales process, you need to make sure your sales managers are coaching their reps effectively. Don’t just focus on the quality of the coaching, consider the frequency as well. Across numerous client organizations, we’ve found that sales managers consistently fail to allocate enough of their time to coaching, which can hinder productivity.
If any of this strikes a nerve with you, our team can help. Subscribe to our blog to get more insights on how to get your reps to use your sales process.
About The Author
Daniel Perry is a partner at The Brevet Group. He leverages nearly 30 years of experience leading sales teams and helping complex sales organizations become elite performers.