What Do We Do Next?


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Every year, I sit through hundreds of deal reviews. They all seem to go the same way. The sales person talks about the deal, the competition, what the sales person or team has done. Too often, too much time is spent reviewing and discussing past history. However, at some point in the review, the discussion shifts to, “What do we do next?”

Often, there’s a bit of an uncomfortable silence. Then a lot of random ideas start surfacing, “We should probably meet with…..,” “Maybe we should do this……, ” “Let’s do a demo…..,” “Let’s have one of our executives call on them…..,” “What if we tried this…..”

I’m always struck by the seeming randomness of the discussion. Lots of brainstorming, lots of (and some very good) ideas, but they sometimes seem unfocused or like we are grasping at straws struggling to identify the critical next steps in improving our positioning, and moving to winning a deal.

There’s simply no reason for this. There’s no reason to be guessing, there’s no reason for the randomness in thinking. The next steps must always be purposeful and have a strong direction. They must be based on our experience in winning deals, knowing what’s most effective in producing results, and how we win.

Guess what, the tool that we use to do this, executing our best practices consistently is the Sales Process. The sales process provides direction and context to our discussion on what’s next. While the specifics will vary deal by deal, the Sales Process provides a structure and framework that’s based on our best practices and knowledge of what wins.

The conversations that are random brainstorming sessions, the confused discussions about what to do next are the result of not having a Sales Process–or not using it. In the absence of a sales process, we have to “invent” a way to win each time every time. We have to invent it continuously as the customer executes their buying process. We aren’t leveraging our experience of what it takes to win, so we put our ability to win at greater risk.

One of the best things about a Sales Process is it provides a structure and a framework that helps us win! It helps us understand what it takes to win and provides us a starting point to answer the question, “What do we do next?” Why not focus the next steps based on what we know causes us to win, rather than guessing? Why not use the process as the starting point to identifying specifically what advances us–yest we have to adjust what we do to the specifics of the situation, but we do in a structured, efficient and effective context.

I don’t know about you, but somehow winning–and winning fast is important to me. I can’t imagine having to guess. I can’t imagine putting my ability to win at risk–in fact I want to minimize that risk. I can’t imagine not leveraging our best practices to give me direction and insight into what to do next. I can’t imagine not leveraging the Sales Process for it’s maximum impact.

Are you comfortable with guessing and putting your ability to win at risk? If you are, then you don’t need a Sales Process. If not, then the answer should be clear.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


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