“What’s the best way to increase sales?” This is a questions sales leaders often ask themselves. Especially since buyers are making purchase decisions differently in today’s market. Because of this, outdated sales processes no longer work. Buyers no longer move sequentially from developing needs to solutions positioning. So, what is the answer? The solution is a custom built sales process. Your process must be tailored to the decision maker’s needs. We have seen this result in shorter sales cycles, and better win rates. And those are two things every sales leader is looking for.
We recently spoke with Lori Chmura, the Vice President of US Sales for Cordis, a medical device company about this topic. Lori has over 28 years of business experience, and has deployed a version of a customized sales process during her tenure. What were her keys to success?
Understanding How Your Customers Buy
Lori started by understanding how her prospects want to buy. This was especially challenging in her industry due to healthcare reform. Historically, the company’s products were purchased by the physician alone. Over the last couple of years, though, it has become a complex sales process. “The decision now,” Lori explains “is being made by the economic buyers who are challenging some of those recommendations of the physician.”
This is a great example of how today’s buyers are changing. Previously some of the best, most successful sales forces have come from the medical device field. But now they are required to sell to a different buyer, and they must adapt. This caused Lori and her team to build a unique process.
Custom-Built Sales Process
One major trigger for Lori was the lack of repeat business. They were experiencing a high churn rate. Their sales were very transactional.
This caused Lori to ask some tough questions like – how can we sustain business? How can we develop a strong foundation that we can grow from? The only way they could do that was to come up with the process, data and tools that would drive that behavior.
Lori and her team were close to the customer. This allowed them to better understand how they were changing. And in response they built a bottoms-up organic process. The results have been positive because it’s driven from what’s actually happening day to day. It has come firsthand from what they’ve learned about their buyers.
A roll-out of a new sales process requires training. Lori took several steps to ensure adoption among her team. She started with a national training meeting. “First we gave the team pre-work. Then we brought all of the leadership teams in a day early. This allowed me drive alignment,” she explained. This led to the overall training event being a success. From start to finish, the entire organization was interacting and on the same page.
Furthermore, the training was reinforced every quarter. It was important to Lori that training be continuous in order to ensure it’s being used in the field. And finally, they made sure to incorporate the process into their marketing materials. Again, this allowed for alignment between the teams.
Ultimately, Lori recommends taking a look at the organization critically. Is there a process in place that drives accountability? She recommends really understanding how your sales process is being used in the field. And how it’s being used to drive your number. Then, at the end of the day, it’s about rolling up your sleeves and driving processes and accountability to get the results you need to make your number.