Dave Kurlan is a top-rated speaker, best-selling author, sales thought leader and highly regarded sales development expert.
Today I worked with a group of salespeople from different companies and when I asked how many of them followeda formal sales process only 2 people raised their hands. That's even worse thanObjective Management Group's statistics about sales process. The statistics show that 91% of the more than 500,000 salespeople assessed to date did not have/follow a structured sales process. And the two who did raise their hand? They claimed that their process was 20 steps! Who can remember that?
A bigger issue is that most people don't understand the difference between sales process and sales methodology.
A customized, optimized, formal sales process includes the sequence of steps, to-do's, milestones and goals that must be achieved during a sales cycle.
A sales methodology is the approach one takes to execute those steps.
For instance, using a few well-known companies and brands:
- Huthwaithe's SPIN Selling is a methodology.
- Miller-Heiman's Strategic Selling is a methodology.
- Kurlan'sBaseline Sellinghas both a process and a methodology.
- Sandler Training is a methodology.
Then each of those contractors has a methodology or approach, the way electricians run and install wiring and connect them to the power source, outlets and switches; the way plumbers cut, solder and install piping; the way back-hoe operators excavate and finish the property, the way the plasterers prepare and plaster the walls and ceilings. In each of those cases, they have a proven method to get the job completed correctly each time.
So here are some questions for you to answer about your sales force as it relates to process:
- Is there a sales process?
- Has it been customized?
- Has it been formalized and structured?
- Has it been optimized?
- Is it legacy?
- Does everyone follow it?
- Does everyone speak the language of your process?
- Is it referenced as a context for coaching sessions?
- Can your salespeople identify where they are by simply naming a step?
- Is it integrated into your CRM software?
- Is it integrated with your pipeline?
- Is the pipeline routinely reviewed and restaged according to the criteria for each step of the process?