29 Mar Selling Is a Process, Not a Magic Trick
It is not uncommon for early stage companies, eager to generate revenue, to have someone on the sales team that is a “rainmaker”. The sales are coming in, but the process, if any, is a mystery.
Here is the challenge. As long as the rainmaker keeps making rain and stays with the company the lack of process can be managed. But what happens when this person leaves or it is time to scale the sales team? Who can fill this person’s shoes? Where are the call notes? Who are the contacts?
Bottom line, the magic no longer works.
The organization may be left with an unreliable data set in the CRM, no historical info to pass on to successors, and no clear way to scale and build upon past successes.
Sales is a process and it should be open and widely shared, not a closely guarded secret. In other words, the secret to success should not be a secret at all.
While competition is a widely regarded motivator among sales people, it needs to be managed carefully and applied differently depending upon the life cycle of the product and the maturity of the sales organization. Otherwise, it can create an environment where sales personnel who achieve success keep their methods to themselves, do not document their process, and protect “their territory”.
In order to build a scalable sales organization, sales personnel should be tasked and evaluated based on their adherence and contribution to the process, not just the end result.
Things to consider when building and managing a scalable sales organization:
- Are sales people required to enter CRM notes?
- Are they held accountable?
- Is the incentive compensation plan in line with company goals?
- Is there a positive consequence for negative behavior?
- Is there a negative consequence for positive behavior?
- Is every sale good for the company’s bottom line?
In other words, are processes in place so that sales people are acting in the company’s best interest as well as their own?
Here are some tips for building a sales organization that builds the business:
- Build a compensation plan that blends both sales performance with clearly defined metrics such as call averages, CRM maintenance, and other clearly defined behaviors that are documented in evaluations.
- Reward full transparency, team building, sharing of knowledge, and training would-be successors.
- Especially in a complex sales process, make it a mandatory for all sales people to maintain complete call notes; document the decision makers, decision-making process, and next steps; and make all this information available in the CRM system.
By putting processes like the above in place – during the early stages of building the sales organization – even when your top sales person leaves someone else will be ready to step into his or her shoes.
Selling is a significant skill and should be highly valued. However, sales skill without a rigorous process ultimately fails to build the business long term.