CEOs have a problem. As a Sales Ops leader, you can help. Ease of doing business with your sales team is the linchpin of B2B customer experience. Sales reps are the face of the organization. Most often, however, they 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 to do. It’s what they 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.
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:
- Lower win rate on new opportunities
- Longer sales cycle on new opportunities as the focus shifts to easy wins
- 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 checkboxes 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 the company blog 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 shared our latest best practice guide. 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.