Tweak Your Biz » Sales » Overhaul the sales process or fine tune it?

Overhaul the sales process or fine tune it?



Over the last ten days sales managers in three major firms outlined how their sales process needed to be changed, it wasn’t working and in particular it wasn’t helping to generate new opportunities. These firms were ready to embark on a major overhaul of their process.  In each of these cases the question needed to be asked is an overhaul going to deliver the improvement needed or would a fine tuning of the process be as effective?

Some food for thought, even if the fine tuning delivers only a modest increase in performance, as little as just 3%, or 5%, the yearly impact on sales has the potential to be very significant and these firms wouldn’t have to go through all the pain associated with changing a process that people already know.

If you are in a similar position to these firms, there is some good news. You may remember the engine analogy we highlighted in a post last week. Well taking this one step further every engine needs to be fine tuned and serviced. Otherwise it will gradually lose power, burn more petrol and generate higher emissions.  Every engine from time to time will require new spark plugs, a new filter and new oil.  Why is your sales process any different to the engine of your car? Does it not make sense that your sales process will need a fine tune from time to time?

So the question to be asked is not do we overhaul the complete sales process but do we need to tune parts of the process to get more miles per gallon?

Here are some of the tell-tale signs that may indicate you could be getting more miles per gallon from your sales efforts:

  • Buyers are making more decisions when you are not in the room
  • Your market has changed, is slowing or is more competitive
  • Customers who should be placing repeat orders are not
  • You are losing deals that you expected to win
  • Your lead to meeting conversion rate is decreasing
  • Deals are stalled, or ‘in the valley’
  • You are finding it increasingly difficult to predict what deals will close and when
  • Some sales people are underperforming and you are concerned high performers will be lured away
  • The sales team don’t feel marketing is helping them and you are not sure of its contribution either
  • Sales and marketing costs are rising, but value for money is a growing concern.

For those of you who are considering an overhaul of your sales process the advice is slow down. The most successful sales teams in the world look at ways to fine tune their sales process and sales efforts on at least a yearly basis. They realise their sales process is no different to the engine of a car, it needs periodic fine-tuning and servicing.  Consider fine tuning, its less costly, less stressful and can give you the results you need.

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The Author:

John O’ Gorman is a Business to Business sales coach who works with sales teams and sales managers across Europe to pinpoint sales performance opportunities and barriers to growth. John has recently co-authored “The B2B Sales Revolution - http://b2bsalesrevolution.com/” and “Quick Win B2B Selling”. The B2B Sales Revolution is the first ever book written on selling in conjunction with buyers from Fortune 1000 organizations. http://b2bsalesrevolution.com/

Add Your Comment

  • http://www.btbtraining.com/blog Niall Devitt

    Jackie, Great post and great question.

    I think leadership is sometimes borne out of frustration with the status quo, a burning desire to fix the things that are wrong or broken. Coupled with a strong moral obligation or a good moral compass, this frustration can motivate a leader in a very positive way (against the odds) This for me is the true gauge of a leader, what does he or she do when their back is against the wall.

    There also has to a desire to be different and a willingness to sacrifice for the good of the collective. For me, leadership is a word that is bandied about quite a bit, as in my lifetime I don;t think I have met many that I would call true leaders.

    I don’t really think you choose to be a leader, it more something that is entrusted. In fact, I think if you constructively choose the role of leader, It probably means you aren’t one.

    Just my 2 pence word, thanks for asking.

    Cheers,
    Niall

  • http://www.WeismanSuccessResources.com/ Skip Weisman

    Your mom sounds like a great leader. She probably doesn’t even see herself in that way as she was just doing what came natural and what she thought needed to be done to help you and your siblings be successful in your life. Nice post.

    I recently created a series on my blog called “Champion Leadership Tips.” To launch it, I developed my own definition of leadership, which is:

    “Inspiring others to do something they ordinarily would not do, and/or coaching them to perform at an even higher level than they ordinarily would perform, if left on their own.”

    You can read more about my “Champion Leadership Tips,” (this Monday, Nov. 23rd will be week #4) and subscribe to the series if you are inspired to do so at: http://tinyurl.com/leadershiptipsblog

  • http://www.WeismanSuccessResources.com/ Skip Weisman

    Your mom sounds like a great leader. She probably doesn’t even see herself in that way as she was just doing what came natural and what she thought needed to be done to help you and your siblings be successful in your life. Nice post.

    I recently created a series on my blog called “Champion Leadership Tips.” To launch it, I developed my own definition of leadership, which is:

    “Inspiring others to do something they ordinarily would not do, and/or coaching them to perform at an even higher level than they ordinarily would perform, if left on their own.”

    You can read more about my “Champion Leadership Tips,” (this Monday, Nov. 23rd will be week #4) and subscribe to the series if you are inspired to do so at: http://tinyurl.com/leadershiptipsblog

  • http://www.consultingexcellence.ie Jackie Prendergast

    Niall I absolutely agree with you that if you “choose” to be a leader then you probably aren’t one. It is what makes me constantly challenge the appropriateness of “Leadership Develeopment” programmes. Because I absolutely believe that leaders are born. That isn’t to say you can’t nurture someone who already has that natural tendency but I really don’t think you can make a leader as such. It does raise another interesting question though – how do you identify the natural leaders so you can then develop them to be great leaders?

  • http://www.seefincoaching.com/blog Elaine Rogers

    Hi John,
    A great read, thanks. Sounds like I should take my sales with me today for an NCT with my car!! If the signals are there, we should abide by them, rather than play with the ostriches or take drastic measures. I like the fine-tuning, sometimes it takes just one small thing to change, to get a momentum going, resulting in much bigger results.

  • http://www.btbtraining.com/blog Niall Devitt

    John, great points! I agree. I think it’s worth remembering that fine tuning the sales process is an ongoing process and should largely based on feedbacks from customers, prospects and salespeople.

  • http://www.ivanwalsh.com Ivan Walsh

    Good point. I think where most S&M fall down is that they don’t actually ask for feedback and/or don’t pick up on the cues from customers.

  • http://bettercloser.com Bill Rice

    John,

    Great points. I think we in sales often forget that buyers and markets are moving targets. Things are always changing for them as they maneuver for success. Why wouldn’t we think we need to make the same adjustments.

    To you’re analogy if you are doing the regular maintenance–tuning is always the best route. But, I have walked into some neglected sales organizations and there was no option, but to buy a new car.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Bill

    For sure, sometimes there is no choice but to buy a new car. Some companies will just have to bite the bullet.

    I am just back from a conversation with a really experienced sales director this morning, the discussion focused on overlaying his customers buying process over his current sales process while he is fine tuning it.

    He plans to marry the best of buying with best of selling. Would be great if more people began to do the same.

    Cheers John

  • Anonymous

    Great post John,
    Many of us have been too complacent about the sales process over the past number of years. It is constantly evolving and by constantly talking to our customers and our potential market we can stay ahead of the competition. And do so without knee jerk reactions that can steer us off course.

  • http://blog.myprojecttracker.com Barney Austen

    Some great learning for me here – thank you!

  • Anonymous

    In my case lately I had lost the personal touch with my costomers.For me fine tuning would be TO KEEP VISITING THEM ON REGULAR BASIS.

  • Dennis Parker

    Yes, it is important to know that whether the CV is making you get interview calls or not, if it is not so then you are required to create a professional CV.

    http://www.globalcview.com/