Posts Tagged ‘Sales Process’

Process? We don’t need no stinkin’ process.

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Everything that humans do is process. Everything.

Process is “a systematic series of actions directed to some end.” That pretty much describes everything you do, from brushing your teeth to designing a jumbo jet. The only time we escape process is when we’re asleep.

So why do many sales people react with, “Process? We don’t need no stinkin’ process.” (Apologies to Humphrey Bogart and Gene Wilder.) But you do. And here is the most important process you need: choosing the sales opportunity you’re going to work on right now.

That’s more important than your process for closing the sale because if you’re working the wrong opportunity, winning doesn’t matter. Neither does losing, which you will do more often than your manager will like.

That’s more important than your process for prospecting a lead because when that lead becomes an opportunity, chances are you’ll screw it up if you don’t get it into its proper priority in your pipeline.

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Successful CRM Implementation #2: Develop the Plan

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Even before the CRM system is specified, researched, and purchased, there should be discussion amongst all the functional groups within the company that might be impacted, and that will be pretty much the entire company. In these discussions, the previously defined vision will begin to permeate through the organization. Just like any project, if there is no plan to translate the vision and change into a working system, things are bound to go awry.

The plan will include an overview of what has to be fixed and a detailed operational description of how and when to do each step. Key people will be assigned as stakeholders and will take charge of the piece of the project that they control or influence. Goals must be set, expectations must be aligned with real tasks, and measurement criteria has to be identified and assigned.

These can vary in scope depending on their expected impact. A sales manager may set down the goal of having an accurate day-to-day bookings forecast available. Someone in sales administration may want to see clean customer information in one place. A CEO may demand real-time information about, well, virtually anything. CRM is so all-encompassing that each company will have its own unique set of aspirations. The important thing is to get them written down in a plan. That is the only way the success of the project can be monitored.

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Deal Me In – Prioritizing in Cards & Sales

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One of the most significant daily challenges to a sales professional is deciding which opportunity to work on today. To do this, you have to get your prioritization right, and that requires each opportunity to be valued.

This is even more critical when you are working many opportunities at one time and when the opportunities are at different points in the sales cycle and have different levels of importance based on strategy, revenue, product, etc. This exercise requires a significant time investment, and getting it right is crucial to focusing your effort where it will have the best payoff.

Putting a value on an opportunity is tricky. Our OPM methodology helps by defining two distinct types of value. An intrinsic value depends only on the probability of winning the deal and the position you are in the sales cycle. External value refers to the factors we mentioned earlier such as potential revenue, strategic importance, product relevance and others.

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HBR Article On The Move To Inside Sales

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Following in the theme of my last post, I ran across the results of a survey done by Harvard Business Review on the move from outside to inside sales. You can find it here.

The writers surveyed over a hundred companies in high tech and business services. Over fifty percent say they are moving from an outside (field) sales to an inside sales model.

I found a few of the other conclusions interesting.

Inside sales is the favourite among early growth stage companies – it’s cheaper to get your message over to more potential customers.

Field sales is more effective for complex sales with long sales cycles, and inside sales better for Cloud delivered standardized package sales.

Reasons for the movement from outside to inside sales models were thought to be:

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Are Outside Salespeople Quaking In Their Boots…

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First what is an outside salesperson. It must be the opposite of an inside salesperson, right?

Yes – according to Ken Drogue the expert in the field of inside sales:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenkrogue/2013/02/26/what-is-inside-sales-the-definition-of-inside-sales/

Ken says:

“The most pragmatic definition of Inside Sales is simple: inside sales is remote sales. It has been called virtual sales, professional sales done remotely, or one of my recent favorites “sales in the cloud.” Where outside sales or traditional field sales is done face-to-face.”

So, really the difference between “in- and out- side sales” is the amount of time you spend face to face with the customer.

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20 Reasons to Share Your Sales Process With Your ComputerReason No. 3 – Singing from the same page.

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The common way for sales teams to get automated is through a CRM system. Early adopters of CRM have managed to iron out the flaws and have settled down to life with CRM doing a pretty good job of assisting with customer experience—making it as good as you can.

Salespeople and sales managers use the CRM system. If the CRM is implemented correctly, they have to. Sales, however, is the last bastion to get into the CRM fold and sometimes only with kicking and screaming. There are reasons for that which are a fairly common topic in my posts. Let’s think a bit about what the sales manager wants out of computer involvement with his team and his processes.

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20 Reasons to Share Your Sales Process with Your ComputerReason No. 2 – Because It’s the Best List Manager on the Planet!

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You can’t get lists out of your life – we depend on them. Before writing this I did a bit of research on the history of lists. Belle Beth Cooper in her wonderful article on lists says, “We pack all the madness and ambiguity of life into a structured form of writing. In short, making lists is a great way to increase our overall happiness and feel less overwhelmed.”

Beth’s was the first piece I turned up in my research and it drew me in so deeply I didn’t bother to go any further. She has some very excellent tips for those of us that are always searching for ways to pack more productive time into our lives. But, back to the post—I’m interested in the list as it applies to salespeople.

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20 Reasons to Share Your Sales Process with Your ComputerReason No 1 – Because It’s Cool

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Well right off the bat, computers are cool. Every salesperson has one in some form or another. The choice is not limited to laptops or desktops—might as well include smartphones, tablets, phablets, ultrabooks, chromebooks and, of course, pads and pods. And now there’s wearable computing—soon salespeople will be looking through Google Glass, and reading their schedule on their iWatch, Gear 2, and so on (and on).

Technology has proven valuable for salespeople, assisting in a zillion different ways to do things better, faster, and overall, just making things easier. The effect is, or should be, more sales. But all of this is not that new— can it be cool? Cool easily becomes a passing fad.

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3 Ways To Shorten Your Sales Cycle

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Full disclosure: that title is deceptive. Intentionally so. It implies that I am going to show you some surefire ways to shorten your sales cycles and get to the win faster. Well, I am going to show you those surefire ways, but they won’t lead to a win. Shortening the sales cycle never does.

First, we need to understand what the sales cycle is, and what it isn’t. Here’s what it isn’t – yours. Here’s what it is – your reaction to the customer’s buying cycle.

That means your sales exists at the customer’s whim. It starts when he wants it, it ends when he’s ready, it changes as his situation does. The customer makes the rules and you need to obey them.

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The Probing Demo: Using the Right Selling Skills At The Right Time

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In a previous article, I categorized the probing skill as the most overlooked of the three selling skills: probing, proving, and closing. Probing is asking the questions before giving the answers. It’s listening to what the customer says, thinking about that in relation to your own products and sales environment, asking follow-up questions and listening again, repeat. You never stop probing, you only do less of it as you learn more and are able to use that knowledge to move through the sales cycle.

Many sales people are reluctant to ask the questions, maybe thinking it shows their ignorance or something. And even those who do ask often don’t listen to the answers and think about them and react accordingly. They have accumulated information, but they haven’t gained any knowledge. It’s like hearing the weather forecast. If you don’t get your umbrella, it is useless information.

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