Many businesses are ready to leave 2009 behind and bring on 2010. The million dollar question is:
What will you and must you do to ensure sales success in 2010?
Here is a very non-sexy answer: install processes and systems that can be duplicated, measured and improved. The very thought makes most sales managers' eyes glaze over because they must move from ‘shoot from the hip’ to ‘shoot from the brain.’
The real value in documented processes means that if you leave the company or got run over by a bus, a new sales manager could step in, hire a new rep, and have processes to follow without any delay or disruption. The other value is revenue. Sales organizations with good processes are able to hire salespeople and ramp up quickly without worry of losing revenue.
Here are the top three processes to install and document:
1. Hiring processes unique to your company and industry – your sales organization should have a hiring manual that contains:
• Need to have versus nice background, i.e., sold to CEO’s versus human resources.
• Key areas to ‘vet’ the resume – can past success translate into future success? Is this salesperson charged with building a territory or maintaining a territory?
• Top seven competencies/soft skills needed for success, i.e., self-starting, assertiveness, and resiliency. Competencies vary based on the industry, management style, and life cycle of the company.
• Company core values….need I say more? Want to hire the wrong person? Forget to incorporate this piece in your hiring process.
• Behavior-based questions designed to test and assess all of the above areas.
2. On-boarding process:
This process is essential in creating a turn-key approach for ramping up salespeople quickly. It also ensures that if a bad hire somehow slipped through the cracks, you don’t hang onto them too long. An on-boarding process puts metrics and timelines to each of the following:
• Sales activity plan – What is the weekly, monthly and quarterly highest return on investment activity for this particular rep?
• Sales process skills – What is the most important skill for them to learn in the first 30 days? 60 days? 90 days?
• Knowledge – technical, product, company.
• Results – Is the salesperson achieving A, B or C results?
• Administrative – CRM tools, reports, meetings.
3. Sales process:
Let us save you money in 2010. If you have not documented your sales process, don’t invest a bunch of dollars in a robust CRM tool. It’s called garbage in, garbage out. (It’s like a contractor trying to build a house with no blue print.) Identify steps of the sales process and drill down into best practices and questions to be asked within each step. If your salespeople knew what to say and do, wouldn’t they be doing it?
Processes and systems raise the bar on sales results because your sales team finally knows where the bar is!
Chief Selling Officer