Category Archives: Sales Process
What do you think is the intent of your company’s sales process? Maybe I should step back and ask: does your company even have a sales process?
What I’ve found is that many clients interpret the purpose of a sales process to be overcoming objections or outlining the skills necessary to close a sale. Those certainly are elements of a sales process, but the real value comes from an overall framework for pursuing opportunities — beginning with initial research and ending with negotiation, closing, and expanding the relationship. In essence, the sales process is really a pursuit process.
In many companies, if there is any kind of sales process at all, it’s usually random or informal, and few people follow it consistently. Some individual sales professionals may have their own processes, relying on tried-and-true formulas that they’ve used throughout their careers, but there isn’t a single process that is followed by everyone in the company or is based on outcomes that have been proven to be successful.
Some companies do have formal sales processes, but they may be so rigid that few stick with them in practice; instead, the process might become a reference or a template for adding opportunities to the pipeline.
Then, there’s the dynamic sales process, which provides both structure and latitude for sales professionals to determine where they are in the pursuit of an opportunity, how to move to the next steps, and how to » Continue Reading.
When we work with clients to create a common language and sales process, that’s just the start. A process by itself is just a process. It needs to be absorbed and put into practice. It needs to become part of day-to-day behaviors. It needs to be second nature.
Depending on the organization, this can be straightforward or complex, depending on how well sales professionals understand what they’re doing as they go from one step to the next.
That’s where Richardson sales training, reinforcement, and coaching come in. By linking the sales process and sales training, participants can see what they are currently doing, how it fits within the desired behaviors, and where adjustments are needed. A process that may have seemed overwhelming to start becomes a welcome roadmap that breaks down each step, and they can see how the things that they currently do fit within the overall scope.
At the end of training sessions, I’ve had participants tell me the structure of the sales process is “awesome” because now they have something to guide what they’re doing. They know that they can always refer back to the steps of the sales process and make adjustments, as necessary, for their specific situation.
It certainly is possible to train sales people without linking content to a sales process. The training would incorporate information from interviews with sales professionals and managers of the activities in the process of » Continue Reading.
How Can a Common Vocabulary Create Shorter Sales Cycles?
At Richardson, we place great stock in creating a common language and a customized sales process for consistency across a client organization. The reason is simple: results. We continually see benefits in terms of creating sales success and shorter sales cycles.
Why does language — vocabulary — matter so much? What is the big deal if one person talks about pursuing a lead, while another talks about prospects, and a third an opportunity. They all mean the same thing, don’t they?
Similarly, some sales teams talk about a close, others about gaining agreement or signing contracts. Again, are they the same thing? Maybe or maybe not.
Whenever members of the same team use different words to describe what may be similar activities, they can confuse clients and coworkers, particularly those who work in global organizations.
Consider the case of a large US company that has grown by acquisition, with local offices in Europe and Asia. Say the company then contracts with a global supplier that also has a US headquarters and branches around the world. The expectation at the headquarters level is for consistency across all locations in terms of service, the relationship, and the overall value provided. But, if the local offices in Japan or India hear different vocabulary than what was used in the US, it can make the supplier look unorganized and create confusion with the client. » Continue Reading.
The Best Sales Process Comes from Successful Sellers
One thing we know about successful sales organizations is that they take guesswork out of the equation for sales professionals. They establish a consistent sales process and language, and this means that sales professionals don’t have to recreate the wheel or figure things out as they go along. Instead, they are able to follow a process that has been tested, prove its value, and provide a roadmap to next steps.
A critical challenge for sales organizations in onboarding new hires is the length of time before they become productive. They have to learn the product that they’re selling, the company’s culture, the clients, and the prospects. Any steps to shorten that coming-up-to-speed period contribute to the productivity of sales professional and the organization.
At Richardson, we believe a common language and sales process helps bring sales professionals up-to-speed faster and serves them better throughout their career. By telling them, “This is how we do it, step by step,” sales professionals get better and quicker at turning a sales lead into a successful deal.
The way that Richardson works with clients to create and validate an effective sales process — one that clearly identifies leading indicators of success — begins with what we call an affirmative inquiry. We interview senior leaders and then ask them to nominate sales professionals who consistently perform at top levels. The goal is to determine what » Continue Reading.
Sales Process Optimization: Don’t Throw the Baby Out with the Bathwater!
In this time of tremendous change in the buying and selling dynamic, we’ve seen a real spike in client interest in updating and optimizing their sales processes.
Your sales process has to reflect how your customers buy. Your sales process has to be designed to help your customers through their buying process. Your sales process has to be based on your best and most effective practices and support your strategic direction. So, as the buying process changes, it only makes sense that selling processes need to change.
The Sales Learning Curve: Getting Sales Process, Skills and Tools Right before a Full-scale Product Launch
Over the past 18 months we’ve launched three significant new offerings: Richardson’s Selling with Insights®, Richardson QuickCheck®, Richardson Sales Process Pro®. It is interesting looking back at how we prepared our sales team, especially in light of a very thoughtful and highly relevant article I picked-up from the Harvard Business Review. The article was written by Mark Leslie, the managing director of Leslie Ventures, and Charles A. Holloway, an emeritus professor of management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in California.
Advice on Rapid Growth and Enterprise Sales Success from SAVO CEO, Mark O’Connell
Mark O’Connell is the President and CEO of SAVO, a fast-growth enterprise SaaS company and a strategic alliance partner of Richardson. SAVO’s technology solutions improve productivity and performance of sales organizations and salespeople. Mark has led SAVO since the fall of 2010. He graciously shares his perspective on growing a company that ranked among Deloitte’s 2013 Fast 500™ list of fastest-growing companies in North America.
No-decisions are to be expected, but too many can signify a larger problem. If you’re tracking more than normal, then you should try to uncover the cause and take corrective action.
Your client’s decision not to change the status quo is now a significant “competitor” in many selling situations. According to a 2013 CSO Insights study of companies’ win/loss ratios, 26.1% of all deals were ending in a no-decision. As recently as 2002, the rate was only 17%.