An article for sales management, sales operations and sales enablement leadership looking to improve the adoption of sales process.

A world-class sales process will help you win more deals. Win bigger deals and do it faster. Ease of doing business with your sales team is the linchpin of B2B customer experiences and sales process adoption. This article is focused on clearing the way for sales reps to pick-up speed of adoption by running downhill without obstruction.


Most often, however, sales reps are shackled by internal processes that are time killers. This limits their ability to be out in front of clients. This is what sales reps love and get paid to do. If a broken process stands in their way, they will simply go around it. Don’t render your sales processes obsolete. Create sales processes of least resistance.


Download the Irresistible Sales Process that helps you align selling stages with buying phases. As a guide to your effort, download our 10th annual workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017. Turn to the sales strategy section and flip to the Sales Process phase starting on page 279 of the PDF.


Why should you care? Standard one-size-fits-all sales methodologies no longer work. The competitors can license the same sales methodologies from the same vendors you can, so there is no competitive advantage to be had by adopting the latest sales methodology from the sales training industry. To increase deal sizes, improve win rates and shorten sales cycles, you need to adopt a custom, proprietary sales process and methodology.


The problem with a typical Sales Process is its focus on seller actions.  In these cases, organizations focus on what they do to win deals.  It’s a math equation.  It’s been the method of top sales forces for decades.  It has worked.  Until recently.  The process no longer helps your reps.  It’s obsolete and no longer is driving revenue.   Here’s a great example:


Common Sales Organization Philosophy: “I need my sales reps to generate 20 new leads per week.  I need them to log 10 new opportunities.  I need them to create 3 proposals.  This will lead to 2 net new customers and 3 renewals per month.”  


Sales Rep Philosophy: “Get 20 business cards or LinkedIn connections.  Take the ten most viable and enter them as opportunities.  Generate my proposals to keep the boss off my back.  Rely on my killer instinct to close business.  If I miss, call in a few favors with my customers.  Get a few change orders and hit my number.”


This typical scenario brings 3 negative results:


  1. Lower win rate on new opportunities
  2. Longer sales cycle on new opportunities as the focus shifts to easy wins
  3. Smaller average deal size as reps focus on smaller opportunities


How, then, can you enable a more effective sales force?  How can you create a system that your team finds irresistible? Through buyer-centric sales processes.  By aligning the sales process to the buying process.  The sales process is no longer a series of check boxes in your CRM.  It’s a tool that helps you identify key buyer actions.  It allows your reps to change their approach depending on the buying stage.


Modern Buyer Philosophy: “A problem comes up at work.  I go online to research my options.  I call a former co-worker that I know dealt with a similar issue recently.  I start going to a few websites and explore my options.  I read blogs and validate they are legitimate by researching the authors.  I hit diminishing returns and decide it’s time to give a sales rep a call.  I find out exactly how each solution will address my issues.  A quick meeting with my team gives me approval to implement.”


Sales Rep Philosophy: “Every morning I take 5 minutes to shoot out a relevant industry article on Twitter and LinkedIn.  I check to see what my prospects are doing on Social Media.  I share an article with a customer I know is thrashing on a major initiative.  After breakfast I connect with a few leaders that have responded to my articles sent earlier in the week.  Set up a few lunch meetings to discuss their issues.  Validate where they are on their buying journey simply by listening.  Being able to anticipate their next move, I offer them a quick fix.  I connect them with another leader I know just went through the same obstacle.  Without breaking out a sales pitch I’m having dinner with the buying decision team.”


The way a buyer makes a decision varies by industry, role and culture.  Understanding the buying process necessitates an ability to take the customer view. Listen to your buyers and share your findings with your team.  Put yourself in your customer’s shoes.  Consider how they like to buy.  Then create a sales process that mirrors this process.  Your team will quickly see the value of being a part of the process.  Adoption of your CRM will go up.  Deal sizes will increase.  Most importantly, your customers will get the superior experience your brand promises.


Download the Irresistible Sales Process to help you align selling stages with buying phases. As a guide to reviewing your sales process, download our 10th annual workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017. Turn to the sales strategy section and flip to the Sales Process phase starting on page 279 of the PDF.


If you would like a hand, come see me in Dallas at The Studio, SBI’s multimillion dollar, one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art executive briefing center. Sessions at The Studio are experiential and are designed around the principles of interactive exercises, hands-on innovation, and peer-to-peer collaboration. The Studio is a safe-haven for learning and after just a few days clients leave with confidence and clarity your revenue growth strategies and sales and marketing motions to make your number.


The Studio Executive Briefing Center



John Kearney

Helps clients adopt emerging best practices to help them make their number.

John has been with SBI since 2011. He has worked with executives in Executive Education, Media, Telco, IT Services, and others. Under his leadership, organizations have successfully grown revenue and improved Sales and Marketing Effectiveness. With a focus on aligning strategies across functions, John has delivered strategic solutions that are actionable and executable. Prior to SBI, John earned his MBA from the University of Notre Dame.


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