Podcast: How to not make your new sales process just another flavor of the week
Sales is one of the hardest jobs in any organization. Sometimes optimism keeps sellers from recognizing the truth of the situation because they are focused on commission.
On today’s episode, we’ll talk to Tom Williams, CEO of DealPoint, about getting buyers and sellers on the same page as part of a new sales process. When organizations put buyer-centric processes in place, prospects feel heard and deals close faster.
Tom’s journey with DealPoint started when he was a sales manager overseeing a team of sellers. [1:07] He discovered that there was a misalignment between how his sellers perceived the process was going and how the buyers perceived it.
He spent a lot of time thinking about how he could use processes to bring the two sides together.
Perhaps the biggest issue is that the seller has happy ears because he wants the sale to happen. In many cases, sellers are naturally optimistic people, so they view situations differently.
The other big issue is that the buyer himself doesn’t understand where he is in the sales process. [2:44] Especially in the case of large organizations, the buyer may not understand all the steps required for approval, so he may not anticipate the roadblocks.
It’s important to understand both processes: the buyer’s process and what the seller is hearing about the buyer’s process.
FLAVOR OF THE WEEK
Many companies change their sales process frequently because they are trying to address problems with the existing one. [3:48]
There’s a statistic that says you can spend as much as you want to put a sales process in place, and it might survive for 6 weeks, or even as long as 90 days. Eventually, though, your team will likely return to the old way of doing things, largely for two reasons:
- They don’t think the managers are putting a lot of effort into it, so it’s rep-driven.
- The managers aren’t seeing success because they didn’t implement the correct kind of process for their organization.
If it’s option 2, you should absolutely change the process so that you aren’t harming your sales team. If it’s option 1, there are things you can do to make sure your sales team is on board with the process so that everyone makes more money.
Begin by looking at how your team implements your existing process. In Tom’s case, he discovered that his team saw the existing sales process as an extra job; little more than paper-pushing. [5:19]
At one point, he was withholding commissions until his team filled in SalesForce. He had tried all kinds of incentives and nothing was working.
Even then, they were filling in the SalesForce fields but doing the bare minimum.
The buyer and the seller have to be getting some value out of the process as well.
Make sure the process is flexible enough to support different types of sellers. Although you’ll always have a scripted component for your sellers, you’ll be holding your top sellers back if you insist that they use a script.
When you sell it to the reps, clearly outline the benefits. [7:05] Make them understand how the sales process will help everyone involved. Provide statistics that quantify the improvement you’ve seen as a result of a sales process, and they’ll be happy to follow it.
Help them understand that it’s in their best interest to adopt the new sales process.
HELP THE BUYER
Your new sales process should include a mutual action component so that buyer and seller are negotiating. [10:56] Neither party wants to invest a lot of time in a deal only to see it fall away.
Once the champion has acknowledged that this product or service will definitely solve her problem, buyer and seller must decide how they are going to make this plan happen.
As you build the mutual action plan, the buyer, seller, and sales manager can verify that the plan is on track and that triple reinforcement can make sure the process is embedded into the funnel.
If there’s a step you aren’t aware of, it can cause a late-stage failure, which can damage your deal as well as your reputation.
Management must be on board with the new sales process in order to keep it from feeling like the flavor of the week. [14:09] If the managers aren’t fully on board, the reps will immediately sniff that out and they’ll perceive the process as a waste of time.
Some teams use leaderboards to motivate their sellers, but if it’s used in a negative way, it doesn’t bring all the boats up. If, on the other hand, you’re sharing successes and challenges, it can help your team understand why the leaders are succeeding and how they’ve overcome their challenges.
Embed your sales process into the daily routine. [17:46] Fight against your team’s tendency to wait to input all their information on Friday afternoon when it isn’t as fresh in their minds.
Collaboration between buyer and seller brings the process into the forefront. For example, have the buyer fill in a form that provides the data you need so that you get more accurate data.
The idea of DealPoint is to get sellers and buyers on the same page. [20:09]
A long sales-cycle-gone-bad wastes time for both buyer and seller, often resulting from miscommunication or errors in the process.
Very rarely do circumstances change in the 10th month of the process that wreck the deal. Usually, it’s a problem that could have been sniffed-out in month two to save everyone a lot of time.
Doing so also builds up the seller’s credibility, because if the seller identifies quickly that the deal isn’t working out, the buyer will respect his handling of it and he’ll be willing to come back to him later with a new challenge. [20:47]
DealPoint gets the buyer and the seller on the same page. It brings both teams together with a visual timeline and conferencing and file-sharing capabilities that they can access at any time.
They can view milestones and post things like meeting notes, and it keeps everyone on track.
The question of “what is the next step?” drives a lot of business and it causes a lot of deals to crash because there wasn’t a clear next step. [22:08]
DealPoint is that single location where buyers and sellers can understand the next steps and keep the decision moving forward.
“NEW SALES PROCESS” EPISODE RESOURCES
You can connect with Tom and learn more about DealPoint at dealpoint.io or Tom@dealpoint.io. He enjoys talking about sales processes and he’d love to geek out with you for 20 minutes to talk about your process. He’s also active on LinkedIn.
This episode is brought to you in part by Maximizer CRM, personalized CRM that gives you the confidence to improve your business and increase profits. To get a demonstration of maximizer, go to the salesevangelists.com/maximizer.
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