Is Your Sales Process Broken?


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It’s the monthly Pipeline review call. As the Sales Ops leader, you’re responsible for managing this process. Just before you take role call you’re struck with a foreboding sense of Déjà vu.

You’re prepared, sent out the pipeline reports  in advance and briefed your CSO. The numbers still look pretty anemic. Same as the past several months – shy of what you and your boss need to reach target. Deal closing dates keep slipping into the future. Opportunity values are going down, not up. This is not getting better and you can’t figure out why.Broken_Sales_Process-1

There are so many reasons companies miss their revenue targets. Sales Ops needs to help their company figure out why and how it can be fixed. A common reason for the frequent miss is having a bad sales process.

So, what is a “bad” sales process? Sales reps selling based with a process that’s internally focused. Managers that fail to coach or do so with an internal bias. Sales job aids that are created without considering the buyer carefully.

If you’re consistently falling short of the number chances are pretty good it’s a bad process. Download our “How to Spot a Bad Sales Process” tool here. Determine if your revenue problems are being caused by a poorly designed sales process.

Best Practices & Warning Signs

Even the best of sales processes requires several conditions to maximize success. Sales Managers must be committed to their team’s development. The organization has to be committed by celebrating success and clear communication of expectations. Sales Ops role is to enable sales to follow the process. Sales managers are essential in their job as coach.


There’s Only One Correct Sales Process

The one right sales process is the one that’s right for your buyer. Just as Sales Ops’ job is to enable sales, sales’ job is to enable the buyer. Sales processes that are built on the internal view won’t work. The self-educated buyer is here to stay.

The very first step here is to know who your buyers are. Knowing how your buyers make purchase decisions and what they most value in their solutions. That doesn’t mean you have a different process for all your buyers. Building buyer Personas using sound market research is the key to a successful set-up.

Based on sound research, you can begin to build. What triggers bring your buyers into the market? What are their concerns when they consider their options? Who else is influencing the decision and how can you engage with them? What are their fears and their goals? How can you minimize their risks and enable them to comfortably buy from you?

The process you build must be based upon buyer actions. Not on sales’ gut instinct or a desire to deliver proposals. The process has to have gates from stage to stage. If the buyer doesn’t do X or Y, the opportunity doesn’t move forward.

Responsibility for the tools, job aids and training rests with Sales Ops & Enablement. Your work has to assist sales in gaining alignment with the buyer. If a sales job aid doesn’t help them do that, get rid of it. Start from scratch if you must.

Download our “How to Spot a Bad Sales Process” tool.  It will only take a short while to complete.  Evaluate how close you are to world-class and get the bad sales process fixed.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Patrick Seidell
Patrick Seidell serves as a Senior Consultant at Sales Benchmark Index (SBI). Pat brings 27 years of experience in sales management, sales operations leadership, consulting and market research to SBI with nationally and globally recognized organizations such as DHL, The Gallup Organization, Tribune Company and The NPD Group.


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