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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