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By Eric Morse January 13, 2014

Lessons Learned About Sales Process Implementation

Overcoming Fear to do what is needed in SalesSo after developing, creating, fixing and implementing numerous Sales Process for different types of companies, I thought I would review some of the REAL Killers/Failures in adoption that I have personally seen while I was selling, managing and since 2003 providing winning sales consulting through my Sales Consulting firms SRi, Sales Result Inc. in which we cleaned up a lot of the below mistakes.

The Sales Process was created in a vacuum.
The importance of providing a salesforce a well-documented and well thought out winning sales process is paramount. Getting people involved at all levels and skillset is key to making the process successful and stick. Meet, collaborate, seek feedback, look at win/loss, and seek input from marketing, manufacturing, finance, execs and clients. If you have never done it before seek outside assistance. Try it out in a controlled environment. There are many great Sales Consulting Firms that can assist. The more involved, the more real data, the more you know what it takes win consistently win the better the process.

Sales Process did not address the Prospect Buying behavior
We all know in 2014 that buyers are more prepared, have more information at their fingertips and enter the sales process a lot later that they used to. You need to ensure the sales process maps to the buying process or you will confuse and turn off the prospect.

Sales Process did not address the Different Sales Coverage Models
Also if your coverage model has a direct team, inside sales team, partner channel and lead generation team, is your sales process all in one? In most cases they are not. Can you use certain parts yes but make sure you do not add or subtract additional steps/outcomes to the wrong group of salespeople. Ensure you have common language and definition and be careful with this as you can quickly lose ground with your competitors and the prospects will be confused.

Management did not lead in the rollout or use of the Sales Process.
Great you got a lot of input, designed a well thought through sales process. Then who roles it out and uses it. Not the sales management team. Key mistake, sales execs need to roll it out and show clear leadership in using the new process. Examples are weekly, monthly or quarterly reviews, sales funnel reviews, and others. Guess what it shows the sales force we mean business and this new process is here to stay better get on the bandwagon.

The Sales Process did not take into account for new technology, tools or ideas
I find this one an absence of input. Its 2013 wake up. There are new tools such as social selling, LinkedIn, twitter,, lead scoring, web demo, inside sales, proposal generation quoting and other tools to make your life a lot easier and more productive. These tools usually build credibility and access with the prospect to allow the sales person to become the thought leader.

The Sales Process was a management/reporting tool only
How many times have we heard, this sales process is only for my management, not for me the sales person? What do we usually find in this scenario? A sales process that is cumbersome, not easy to use, unnecessary steps, not customer focused and a sales process that is about reporting not winning.

The Sales Process focused on activity not outcome.
How many times have we heard you need to do 100 calls per day. What does that mean, and BTW I have personally seen many sales people game activities like that. An example is like doing all their cold calling after 5 when no one is at the other end. Focus on RESULTS, like good conversations. A good conversation is a outcome that moves the sales process along to the next step. A cold call well it’s just that.

Sales Tools, Messaging were not created for each outcome of the Sales Process
This is key in my view. So milestone one says get a good conversation. OK great, what tools do I have to accomplish the task? Do I have a sales playbook, do I have a campaign, key messaging, value propositions, objection handling, prospect profiling. Don’t create a sales process without the complete picture and sales tools, or it won’t work and you will not win.

The Sales process was not integrated online with the CRM system
So you go to all the work, create a winning sales process, all the sales tools, playbook but now is only in paper or electronically and very duplicative from the CRM you installed. DOES NOT WORK. Sales people will look at this and not adopt period. Get it online and integrated with your CRM.

No training or role play was provided for the New Sales Process
Rollout and training are key in rolling out a new sales process. Don’t think they will open the email and begin following, without the proper training you lose all the good work you have done. Each person will incorrectly translate the good work into something you never wanted to have implemented. You need to invest in training, role play and make sure the salespeople can execute on the outcomes.

Sales Process that is Lacking descriptions, definitions and common language
A winning sales process is to bring people, dept. and companies together under a common methodology but you cannot do that without clear descriptions, definitions, and common language. How will we identify a sales opportunity at 50%. How will we agree on an outcome or key activity? What role and who does this step? Be very detailed with your outcomes and opportunity definitions.

Square peg round hole
We have an internal tag line for our approach we use; Your Culture, Your Clients Your Way. Make sure the sales process is about you, your company and your clients. Don’t force a canned sales process down the throats of your salespeople. You will lose deals, waste a lot of money and lose key people. Make sure it works in your environment and with your clients and your people.

Finally its all about consistently Winning!
A Winning Sales Process is exactly that. Focus on the WIN, Focus on the Prospect, Focus Focus Focus.

A Winning Sales Process is a key game changer for most organizations. It has been proven to improve the win ratio, reduces sales cycles, decreases costs, improves sales forecasting and retains great sales people. Make sure in 2014 your Sales process Implementation is one of success. 

Topics: Sales Process, Sales Success


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