Your Sales Process – What’s It Really Costing You?
I hate waste. I especially hate waste in the sales process because it just costs so much money and wasted time, talent and resource…and don’t get me started on the opportunity costs.
If I tell you the cost of running an inefficient sales process is huge and largely unquantifiable…would you do anything about it?
What if I told you that an efficient sales process can get a sales conversion rate from 1:25 to 1:3 in a matter of weeks?
Or that it can treble your average order value? See here for more information and 3 case studies on how to increase price
Would you do something then?
Maybe you need more proof…
How about if, simply by improving the efficiency of your sales process you could treble the output of your sales team without trebling the costs?
Well, fortunately, you don’t have to take my word for it – you can check out this article form the Harvard Business Review showing that firms with a formal sales process generate higher revenues – here’s the link ‘Companies with a Formal Business Development Process Generate More Revenue’
So, read on to find out how you can get your business and sales team flying by adopting an efficient and effective sales process…
How Do You Know If You Have an Inefficient Sales Process?
Your business will suffer form the following:
- Inaccurate sales forecasts
- Inconsistent close rates
- Low sales conversion rates
- Inconsistent sales performance across your sales team
- Lack of predictability in sales performance
- Unqualified and aged data can clog up even the best of sales funnels
There are other indicators but these are the main ones you’ll be fighting against every day.
Wasting Sales Resources: Why Does It Happen?
Simple answer, because when people get busy they fall back on autopilot. That means they react.
This impacts on their ability to discern the good from the great and the good from the downright awful when it comes to what leads to engage with and what leads to pan.
So it only happens when sales guys are busy, right?
No, not really.
Conversely, when sales people aren’t busy enough, they’ll chase every prospect on the block, regardless of quality, value, risk or potential to convert.
So, what am I saying, that sales people can’t be trusted to know when to chase a prospect and when to drop?
But forget about the blame and thing about the solution.
The truth is, this is not a black and white area and sales teams are, by definition, semi-autonomous.
Sales people have their head turned by a prospect for lots of reason, and trust me I’be heard them all.
Every single one, from a sales guy fostering clients in a particular part of the UK where his new girlfriend lived (whilst ignoring other profitable clients across other UK regions), to sales guys meeting with small firms with no budget on the basis of promised work to come, and even one sales person who decided to go completely off message and recreate the offer to get more (cheap) prospects.
But, after 20 years, I can honestly claim that sales wastage occurs because of a few key factors
- Poor sales prospect qualification
- Poorly defined sales prospect identification
- Questionable sales pipeline management
- Busy fool syndrome
The great news is…ALL OF THESE ARE SOLVABLE!
So, having identified the causes of sales wastage, let’s look at
Getting Rid of Waste in the Sales Process
Here’s the short answers to minimising waste in your sales process, and it starts with one clear message, look at what you put in your sales funnel and look at how you manage your sales pipeline.
Rubbish Leads In = Rubbish Business Out
- Have a clear and detailed view of what your perfect prospect looks like, create some real characteristics for this avatar.
- Set some tough qualifying questions.
- Look at the go and no-go responses for key buying criteria questions.
- Don’t be afraid to reject prospects that don’t fit your perfect profiled client…it’s tough to start with but soon you’ll be too busy with your perfect clients to pander to the needs of ‘nearly good enough’ prospects.
Look at the risk and the value of the prospect…and set out very early on to be rigorous in the qualification of this prospect in terms of budget, intent, time scales, alternative solutions, other providers, doing nothing, motivation to change, commitment to act, motivational forces, profile of purchase, part in a bigger picture/process.
Ensure the buying process is very clearly defined very early on. Be super aware of deviations from the agreed buying process.
Understand the buying process, the buying criteria and who is involved in the decision to go or not go.
Identify the game changers up front – what could cause the buyer to change their mind, alter their thinking, modify their course of action (and establish how that impacts on you)
Never leave a single interaction without agreeing the next action and where that action sits in the process.
Be conscious of sales timeline creep, simply because are deadlines being missed in the buying process.
Look at the nature of the interaction with the client, moreover is the sales person acting as a free consultancy resource?
Is the buyer responsive, committed, working in partnership or do you still have ‘supplier’ status where you’re chasing the deal?
Of course, a super savvy sales person will be clued up on all of this all the time…or will they.
I think some will, but I think the majority won’t.
If you want to ensure all of the sales team work this way all of the time, then check out this blog post from last week – it will change how you look at making sales and running a sales team.
Plus if you want a further insight into improving sales performance – hit this link
Summary: Minimising Wastage in the Sales Process
Sales wastage will be costing your business a huge and largely unquantifiable sum. So, it’s serious.
So, it deserves your attention.
I’ve seen sales conversion rates go form 1:25 to 1:3 in the matter of weeks using the basics outlined here.
It’s almost like doubling the output of your sales team without doubling the size (and costs) of your sales team.
Efficiency is a state of mind. Busy is also a state of mind, it matters a lot which one your sales team have, because you have to ask: what’s that costing the business?
Watch out in the next few weeks for an insight into what creates a great sales process, the individual building blocks and the points where you’re most likely to lose sales…also, if you think you’ve got the perfect sales process, how you can get to work on checking out those sales metrics and making sure you’re getting optimum results – download your free guide here – 7 Sales Metrics to Measure, Manage and Monitor
If you’ve any questions regarding your sales process get in contact
0779 002 1885
Plus – if you’d like to receive weekly sales and business development hits, tips, strategies and insights to boost sales and sales revenues – check out this – it’s free