Have you ever worked in an organization with sales processes that are clear, but so complicated or slow to follow that you end up finding your own way? Or perhaps you do follow them, but see that some of your colleagues don’t and still get things done faster? I know, I have. I also know that the defined sales processes are not always revised as often as they could be and therefor ends up being inefficient or simply not logical.
Please work your magic - just this once
I have had colleagues who have been with the company for many years and they know exactly who can help them speed up the process – regardless of the officially defined process. And I don’t blame them. Why not use your connections and relationships and let someone in a different department work his or her magic on a specific case from time to time? Especially if it provides the customer with excellent service.
I work with Commercial Excellence and help organizations utilize their resources better. One of the cornerstones to running an efficient sales operation is are smooth and easy-to-navigate sales processes. If our organization is under pressure or if we have decided to make radical changes to the organization or systems in order to maintain our competitive edge, we also have to look at how we work. We need to create a common understanding across the organization to ensure everyone understands why we need to change the way they work.
Communication and engagement
We should communicate a clear vision for the future to be sales organization and make sure everyone understands the purpose and benefits of the new or optimized sales processes. Our approach should be holistic and engage at all levels in the sales organization vertically and horizontally. We need acceptance from all the contributors to the sales process regarding that the sales process includes more than the account manager. Contributor are eg. product owners, support functions, technicians etc. And finally the top management must be aware that only the middle management team are able to implement sustainable changes in organizations. We need the middle management involvement in the making of the future sales processes. They are key and will make the change sustainable if they find it meaningful.
It is time to roll up our sleeves
I believe we are ready to look at how the sales processes work today (as-is) and how we see them tomorrow in a new and improved setup (to-be). A number of interesting discussions often comes up:
Where does the sales process start and end?
What processes comes before and after the sales process (value chain)Is the sales process the same for all customer types (small, large, b2c, b2b)?
Is the sales process the same for new sales and repeat sales?
Do we map as-it based on best practice or on what most colleagues do?
Step by step we draft the as-is sales process. We look at the straight road to success (order) but also on all the loops back, if the customer is not ready to move forward or decides to partner with one of our competitors. There are a ton of decisions made by both customer and our team throughout the process. Take your time and make sure everything is captured.
Designing the future
The next step is a session on how we see the future setup based on some of the following questions:
Where in the as-is sales process do we use most of our sales resources?
Can we automate some of the steps in the process and minimize time spend and human errors?
Can we collect information before, under and after our customer interaction in a less time consuming manner?
Can we collect and reuse information smarter?
Can we move steps in the process between functions and optimize the usage of resources?
Once the ideas start floating there is a real chance of mapping a future to-be sales process that allows time for more customer interaction. I believe that all sales organizations can benefit from doing this excise from time to time. Well defined as-is sales processes are useful because they give clear guideline to who does what, when. Just imagine if sales colleagues are introduced to this when onboarding. Their lives will certainly be a lot easier.Furthermore, the to-be sales processes help us prioritize initiatives and improvements. They help us understand if we need a completely new IT platform or if we just need to adjust the existing platform. They help us understand if we need to make changes to the task allocation and if we have the right FTE mix.
My advice to you is to revise your sales processes and make the necessary changes. If you need help, give me a call on +45 6162 2060 of drop an email to email@example.com.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!