A recent Manpower study revealed that the most difficult position to fill is a Sales Representative. Why is finding top-performing sales talent so tough?
A Sales Action Plan is not Enough
Many businesses have a loose sales action plan and think that is enough. A sales action plan, however, can be inherently fluid, based only on evolving answers to key questions such as:
• What size sales pipeline do we need during the next sales period to achieve our goals?
• What do our “ideal clients” look like?
• What can we do for these clients better than our competitors can? And how do we articulate that difference?
These questions might have been answered via trial and error. As the business started, grew and adapted to change, the answers became clearer: sales pipeline goals known, ideal clients personified, and the value proposition necessary to win and serve those clients. But there’s another question that needs to be answered: What is the tactical plan to achieve sales goals?
That’s where the well-defined sales process comes in:
Using the Well-Defined Sales Process
A defined and carefully crafted sales process can help virtually any organization know where it is in terms of sales performance, where the organization is headed, and how to get there. The sales process is also beneficial to the business owner because it can help identify breakdowns in responsibility, authority or performance that keep the owner too involved in routine decisions and actions. Here are some other ways a strategically crafted and well-defined sales process can take stress off the business owner and make the organization more productive and successful:
• It becomes a predictable, repeatable and scalable sequence of events that removes guesswork and uncertainty.
• It employs a common language (throughout the entire company) for the sales process and each step along the way.
• It establishes the benchmarks by which the sales team can monitor progress – or lack of progress – toward identified goals.
• It helps the sales organization forecast future sales activity and revenue based on past performance.
• It makes it easier for new sales team members to get quickly up to speed as they learn how to reach prospects and turn them into customers.
And finally, it allows the business – and the business owner – to assign responsibility and authority for each step in the process. Identifying the process and the ownership of each part of the process is a first step in making the right changes.
The Bottom Line:
An efficient and productive sales action plan demands a well-defined sales process. With the sales process in place, it can indicate where changes need to be made, both procedurally and in terms of responsibility.