Sales Process: Help or Hindrance

I just finished reading Kendra Lee’s recent post on Sales Process: Help or Hindrance.   http://www.thevarguy.com/2012/08/01/sales-process-help-or-hindrance/

I found it interesting for several reasons, but I want to share my perspective in two areas.  While Kendra’s main focus is on sales process and making sure you have the appropriate focus for your solution offering, he also is tying the sales skills of your team to their ability to move deals through the funnel to close.  Through his example, I had a concern for the selling skills of the team as well.  Allow me to make two short  additions to the post that I hope will help you do a better job of focusing your sales team, no matter how small or large.

Point # 1 – The Sales Process or is it the Buying Process?

When I am working with my clients on their selling process, I change their focus to looking at the process from the customer’s perspective, the customer’s buying process.  I have them define what their customers go through to identify the business problem, determine the business impact of the problem and the resolution to the problem, determine how the customer will fund a solution, and then evaluate and select a solution and a vendor.  Once a clear definition is put in place, you can define the appropriate sales activities and supporting sales tools to guide the buyer through the evaluating and purchasing process.

Point # 2 – Selling Skills

When a clear customer buying process is defined and used to track the progress of opportunities through the funnel, you now have a model that helps you assess your sales team’s selling skills.  You have laid out the process and activities you expect them to follow.  Now, how well do they execute those activities?  Do your reps have the ability to work with prospects to identify the real need?  Are they able to help them develop and define the business impact?  Are they able to define the value (results you will produce) of your approach?  Can they build the business case that helps the prospect determine you are the solution for them?

Getting your sales team focused on how your customer perceives your value and buys from you will drive improved sales productivity.  For additional insight, see my post here in the ASOE on January 12, 2012.

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