The fully defined sales process for many companies is still an aspiration. Over 60% of companies in the SME segment don’t have a defined process. We also know this is not unique to the SME space either, with many larger corporate enterprises having below par sales processes.
The sales process is the navigation system by which you move customer sales opportunities from first interaction to opportunity management to closure and beyond and is something that every business does, or we wouldn’t exist. Whether a simple process or a complex one, we all have a sales process to some degree. The process dictates the steps and the gates through which sales opportunities progress. It enables sales people to apply the right methodology and customer touchpoints to control the sales opportunity.
The question is then, whether our sales processes are optimised to give us the maximum opportunity to deliver the opportunities from early stage to closure?
So, how do we know when it is time to review and evolve our sales processes?
There are some key signals from your sales function, that would indicate you should spend some time reviewing and optimising your process:
- Your product set and solutions have changed
When innovation and evolving your products and services is core to your business survival and differentiation, you should be looking at reviewing your sales process on a regular basis
- You win rate is sliding and taking longer to close deals (delayed decisions)
This is very common. Many start-ups and scale up businesses find a niche or differentiator that can deliver heathy win rates, closing most of the deals in the pipeline. As the businesses scale, whether some time, internal and external factors can result in lower win rates and delayed decisions. Again, Enterprise businesses with complex matrix organisations experience the same.
- Customer buying behaviour has changed
When entering new markets or navigating existing customer accounts, typically the behaviour and process by which customers buy from us has changes over time. Customers have access to information much earlier and involve sales people later in the buying process, so it requires a different set of steps and touchpoints, often with more stakeholders engaged.
- Lack of consistency in sales meetings
For sales teams of any size, to have a consistent way to establish the stage in the sales cycle that an opportunity is at, is critical to be able to prioritise resources and have forecasting accuracy. Sales managers need to be able to understand how to support sales people on opportunities and have an accurate gauge on the sales cycle. If every sales person has a different idea of process and forecasting, it’s a strong signal.
- Internal resources are stretched on capacity
Whether it is a technical specialist or a consultant or even senior executives to support a bid, it takes time to plan effectively. When resources are lean and prioritisation is needed, this is the time to invest in making sure you accurately measure where sales opportunities are in the sales cycle, time to check the process.
There are more indicators of course, but if your business experiences any of the above challenges, please get in touch. A Sales Process Review could soon get you back on track with next-level results www.stormcastsales.com