“Do I really need a sales process?” We know that’s what you’re thinking, and we can understand your hesitation. Developing a sales process sounds suspiciously like creating more paperwork – and we bet you’ve already got enough of that on your plate.
But if Henry Ford followed a sales process, then so should you.
The founder of Ford Motor Company is one of history’s best salespeople, and he had a clearly defined process. To put things in perspective, in 1914 Ford claimed 48 per cent of the American automobile market.
Many successful companies have followed in Ford’s footsteps. In the 1980s and 1990s, both Xerox and IBM had global sales standards. They produced some of the best salespeople of this era.
Despite these impressive examples, more than 90% of the businesses we speak to do not have a sales process in place. And those who do struggle to ensure that it’s followed.
So what exactly is a sales process, and how can you implement one in your organisation?
Our official definition is: “A specific system that guides and measures in well-defined steps the progress of selling from initial contact through to final decision and into account management beyond.”
Think of it as a road map for selling within your organisation. Where do you start, what stops do you make along the way, where do you finish, and what do you do if you encounter a detour?
Now, imagine some employees are following the map, and some are devising their own route. They might end up in the same place eventually, but what important stops would they have missed along the way?
The satisfaction of your customers – and the profit of your business – is simply not worth the risk of letting employees jump behind the wheel without a map.
Implementing a company-wide sales process is the best way to ensure that everyone is on the same road, heading towards the same goals, and that no customer is being led astray.
The benefits of following a sales process are far reaching. Your team will thrive when provided with a framework for consistent rules; there will be less confusion and uncertainty, and their confidence will grow as a result. A sales process will also increase both accountability and productivity within your organisation.
What’s more, a sales process will make your job easier. You will know exactly what to teach each employee to help them thrive in their role. And if an employee isn’t meeting their targets, you can refer to the sales process to see if they are missing out on any key steps along the way.
Can you see how Mr Henry Ford was onto something?
Although developing and implementing a new sales process won’t happen overnight, the future benefits will be well worth the effort. After a few months of following it, you won’t know how you coped without one.
So take a leaf out of Henry Ford’s book and follow in the footsteps of global giants such as Xerox and IBM. If they can create a sales process, so can you.
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