Is business slowing down? Are you experiencing sluggish revenue growth? It might be time to review your sales process.
Despite most sales leaders believing they have a good process, a recent survey of hundreds of salespeople and managers across Australasia showed that in reality only 3 per cent of salespeople have a strong, milestone-centric sales process in place.
Without an efficient process to support your sales team, business growth may stall (or stop), causing profits to plateau – and stress levels to rise.
Here are three reasons why a carefully considered process is essential to business growth, plus what to do if yours is not up to scratch.
Take the ‘luck’ out of sales
There’s no luck to consistent sales. Luck is sporadic and difficult to replicate; a high-performing sales leader knows they can’t rely on chance to meet their targets. Instead, they rely on a well-oiled process.
“A sales process is a series of key steps and milestones that each salesperson should follow, to effectively bring on new clients,” says SalesStar founder and group chief executive, Paul O’Donohue.
“Its purpose is to ensure every prospect is taken on the same journey and given the same opportunities. It creates consistency across your sales team and leads to more predictable, steady sales growth.”
And when growth does slow, or performance unexpectedly drops, retracing the steps in your process can often reveal the cause of the problem.
Get a deep understanding of your customer’s journey
Understanding your customer’s journey, from beginning to end, is integral to sales success. But mapping out the journey can be challenging – and is therefore often overlooked, or corners are cut.
Developing a sales process takes away the temptation to skim over your customer’s journey. You simply can’t create an effective process without a strong understanding of your customers’ buying process.
“When implemented correctly, a sales process removes the guesswork about customer behaviour. It requires you to have a robust and deep understanding of how your customers make purchasing decisions,” says Paul.
With clarity about the journey comes consistent, steady growth.
Predictable is better than variable
Sales often slow down when you least expect it. One minute you are meeting your targets and growing at a rapid pace; the next, your sales fall into a hole!
A well-planned and researched process helps to remove some of this volatility from the equation. It’s based on predictable, reliable revenue targets and is easily measurable.
With a robust process in place, you are less likely to suffer from sales ebbs and flows, and more likely to enjoy consistent improvements.
How to refresh and improve your process
It’s best to start over. Go back to the drawing board and develop a new sales process from scratch, ensuring no key steps are missed.
“It never ceases to amaze me – and the clients for that matter – how many critical steps in their process have been overlooked (and if implemented, would have provided game-changing results)," says Paul. "I would advise anyone that is serious about improving sales to get in an expert that understands the science around developing an effective process for sales.”
Want to take your sales to the next level this year? Download our free ebook: Highly Profitable Sales Leadership Tools for 2017.