As a sales manager I would often ask a salesperson why they won or lost a particular order. I would further inquire about their sales process. Seven times out of ten times I would get a blank stare. Usually the salesperson went on to sell me on why they thought they lost or won. And nearly always it was plain to see they lacked the insight each time. And so it goes with sales management.
Uh, I don’t know
Fact is most salespersons don’t know why or where in the process they won or lost their sale. So the question is, if you don’t know how, where or why you won or lost, how then do you know how to avoid the same mistake again? And how then do you know how to repeat your success?
To the manager out there, without a clear understanding of why your salesman wins or loses a sale, your salesperson will not be as productive as he/she could be. Further, a solid understanding of how this process works will help the manager manage his/her salesperson to a higher level of productivity pointing their salesperson to successful and repeatable activity’s that lead to proven success.
Change is a constant for the Sales Process
Though few recognize it, all sales processes evolve over time. And why not given that your competitors are likely only getting better at what they do and the technology of the day keeps improving. Change therefore is a constant. Accordingly your sales process will require regular tweaking (mapping) to be sure your sales force is in alignment with your customers’ expectations. This process needs to be clearly understood to be managed to drive sales success.
What is your process?
First determine a baseline and then modify it over time regularly. As a help, the following is a simple sales process map for a typical medical diagnostic equipment sale –
Prospect – generate the lead
Opportunity – qualify the opportunity
Initial Sales Call – meet/greet with decision makers
Demonstration – perform initial demonstration on-site
Budgetary Quote – initial quote for budget purposes
Trial – user evaluation on-site
Negotiation – pricing finalized and finance signoff
Closing – verbal win, PO issued and received
All sales go through a process and have a beginning, middle and an ending. You start in the beginning and end in the ending. If a percentage of your salesmen are consistently missing their numbers, chances are they are not mapping and following the process to victory.
So, are you clear on why you won or lost? Map your process and know for sure!