Last week I overheard a conversation between one of our client implementation consultants and a former prospect who had just come on as a customer. One of the first things our implementation team does with a new client is hold a Business Plan Review, designed to identify a client’s key processes and value areas.
In a nutshell, the question this new client asked was, “How does defining all of these process steps directly benefit my sales reps?”
As much as we tout the benefits and productivity of a good sales process linked to a CRM software system, the short answer to this question is, “Sometimes they don’t.”
As managers, we obviously understand that sometimes our need for good processes can cause pain for reps. One of the reasons we added “productivity enhancers” like dialers and one-click voice messaging and email to our software was to combat “sales process slowdown” by helping reps be vastly more productive with the time they do have.
And obviously a good, repeatable sales process helps management, and improves sales performance by providing better training opportunities.
But how often do our conversations about sales process discuss how to make life better for the real end-game participants: the prospect?
Are time frames and key process points set up to push our own internal sales agenda, or to give prospects a realistic opportunity to evaluate what’s being offered?
In the Sales and Marketing 2.0 World, we talk all the time about making the selling process more “client centric.” Focusing on the prospect’s needs. Approaching them as a valued resource and strategic partner instead of a target for a sales quota.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that every single sales process and metric should reflect clients’ needs, rather than our own.
But how much of our sales process is in place because it’s what the management team wants, how much is in place because it’s what the sales reps want—and how much of it actually gives our clients the best possible outcome for them?