Miscommunication can cause all sorts of problems when it comes to implementing a company’s sales process – and if there is no formal alignment right from the beginning, then how can there be any guarantee that everyone is operating on the same page?
Of course the first step is discovering if your business has a lack of alignment in the area of sales – and sometimes this can be rather difficult to uncover. It could occur anywhere along the channel of communication from CEO to management, and the sales team, and the thing is, who is going to admit they don’t do things the way their boss has told them to do it?
So in order to work out where things are going wrong, here are a few areas where you can begin your search.
This is one of the most critical factors that could influence whether a sales process has a good outcome or not. People naturally interpret things differently when it comes to all sorts of things, and this is exactly what can happen with regards to understanding the steps required in a sales pipeline – particularly if it hasn’t been communicated in a very directive manner.
So this means that clear guidelines and instructions on sales strategies and their implementation must be provided, and reiterated on a regular basis. This minimises the risk of different interpretations of how things should be done, resulting in a reduction of variance in the sales process.
Doing what’s comfortable vs. following the plan
Previously we have discussed why salespeople require a particular mindset in order to succeed, and this definitely correlates with those who prefer to ‘do what’s comfortable’, rather than following the sales process set in place for the company.
Of course there must be a proper sales process in place that is followed to actually diagnose this particular issue of non-compliance. If there is not one in place, then it would be difficult to reprimand those who don’t subscribe to a certain way of doing things.
As mentioned above, regular, well-defined communication is an extremely important part of ensuring everyone is aligned to follow the sales process in the correct way.
If any verbal or written communication is vague, or not totally implicit, then it will be hard for those taking direction to understand exactly what is required from them, and when. Sales is about having a series of steps, and action points which lead onto achieving particular results and outcomes, so if communication from management is lacking, then there is every chance that the salespeople may not be able to carry out their role as effectively as possible - particularly if they are still quite inexperienced.
There is no doubt that having unrealistic expectations of performance is going to have a bad look when results are reviewed - but the hard part comes down to distinguishing between whether it is the salesperson’s lack of skill, or that the sales strategy set by management is actually unobtainable. This requires honest and open communication, and a real push for alignment between what growth and profitability the CEO is seeking, and if it is actually possible from a ground-level perspective.
Keen to further understand what it takes to grow sales in your business, including advice around pipeline management and sales process? Download our free eBook with a bonus article – A 9-step process for a highly effective sales call – inside!