How much time do you have to waste?
How much time are you wasting?
That’s the thing with sales.
With so much constant pressure to close deals, fill up your pipeline and nurture those leads faster - you start to feel more like a professional relationship juggler than an experienced sales pro. And that’s without mentioning all of the unnecessary admin thrown in to make your circus act even more challenging.
But what if we told you there was a solution where each and every one of you and your team’s actions moved you a step closer to achieving your aim? That if you strip back and simplify your sales process, you will get better results. And you’ll work less too.
Sounds pretty good doesn’t it.
Let’s make it happen!
The 3 Most Common Sales Process Problems
You’re focusing on the wrong things
Almost every experienced sales pro has been here.
Management wants more deals in the pipeline.
We can’t ignore results. We all want more $$$.
But the most effective sales process won’t drive to you maximize leads.
Instead, the best sales process will help you prioritize the right activities to complete at any given time. You want to make sure you focus your time on the hot leads and banish the cold leads from your pipeline fast.
Spreading yourself too thin across too many leads will lead to that nerve-shredding juggling act. Focusing on the right activities will lead to better results.
Your sales process needs to be structured to simplify sales and allow reps to focus on the right activity at the right time.
Your team is stretched and stressed
The pressure is real. You need to hit your numbers or you don’t get paid.
Let’s not pretend that a sales process can remove this pressure completely.
You’re always going to have ambitious targets and a race to hit quotas.
But your sales process should help you prevent that pressure from turning into stress, as this can quickly become detrimental to the physical, emotional and mental health of your team. It can also lead to burnout and mental exhaustion. This will seriously drain your performance, having a direct impact on results.
Sales is hard, unforgiving and too often stressful.
But your sales job shouldn’t ever impact your mental health.
The right sales process can help you make sure that pressure doesn’t turn into stress.
If you put in place complicated processes and tasks, they’ll either be followed incorrectly or ignored.
Busy and under-pressure salespeople don’t have time to get their head around something they a) don’t fully understand and b) probably don’t believe in.
Don’t create unwanted stress levels where you don’t have to.
You need to understand and be able to recognize when members of your team begin to suffer from stress. In our interview with consultancy sales expert, Liston Witherill, he gave some important and actionable advice:
“If you’re a manager who truly believes in building a high-performing team, you’ll have to give people the space to address their emotional needs.
Telling people to ‘get tough’ or ‘snap out of it’ will only serve to alienate people you claim to care about.”
The way you address the emotional needs of your team members should always depend on that individual and their needs.
For more practical advice about how to recognize the signs of stress in your team and provide the right assistance, we partnered with MHA to create this detailed guide to maintaining a healthy workplace in a high-pressure industry.
You can’t settle on a clear and defined strategy
Technology should be used to make your job easier.
Unfortunately, so many tools are built for managers and not for the people doing the work.
Many of the leading sales CRMs have thousands of features with millions of combinations of customizations. You can analyze endless streams of data to within an inch of its life.
But all of this administrative work is such a time-consuming chore for a sales rep trying to focus on closing deals and hitting quotas.
If you don’t simplify your tracking and reporting, you could be stuck in the weeds wading through a swamp of meaningless data.
By too often changing strategy, going after the wrong leads, or neglecting hot leads while you try to fill up your pipeline - chaos will reign, stress levels will rise, and time will be wasted.
Your working week can’t be packed with data entry and pressure to hit a bunch of numbers with no space to focus on the best action you need to take to close the next deals.
This is when sales gets hard.
Activity-Based Selling Will Simplify Your Sales Process
According to New York Times bestselling author and sales trainer, Grant Cardone:
“One of the fastest and best ways to separate yourself from the masses is to establish yourself as someone who makes situations better, not worse.”
And that’s exactly what the activity-based-selling approach will do for you and your team. You’ll be able to focus on the right activity to take instead of heaping pressure on yourself and your team by stressing about outcomes you have to deliver.
The concept of “selling” means two things.
It refers to both the actions you take throughout the process with your prospects AND the closing of the deal.
The activity-based selling approach prompts you to trust the actions you’re taking, operating on the knowledge that you will achieve better results by completing key steps with a prospect and repeating these same steps with all your prospects.
A killer sales process is not designed to focus you on results - they will come if you complete the right tasks at the right time.
By simplifying your sales process and focusing on your highest priority actions at each stage of your sales pipeline - you’re quickly making things much easier for your team.
Reps will know exactly how to balance sales time between prospecting, lead nurturing, closing and upselling. This builds a priceless confidence into your team (and this ability to trust in a process reduces their stress levels).
The True Benefits of Activity-Based Selling
Take a step back and contemplate your current process.
Do you know exactly what each of your team members is spending their time doing?
Can you accurately gauge their performance based on specific metrics?
Do you really know the metrics you should be tracking?
Activity based selling gives you clarity on each of these key points, by:
- Simplifying your process
- Helping you focus on the KPIs and data that really matter
- Prompting the rep with what to do at each stage of the pipeline to optimize success
The Key for a Good Simple Sales Process
Simple and measurable KPIs
Simplicity is vital to establish the right sales process. Ignore unnecessary data and reporting and have a few core KPIs to measure success.
Specifically look at the following metrics:
- The number of deals in your pipeline
- The average size of the deals in your pipeline
- Your close ratio - the average percentage of deals closed
- The sales velocity – the average time it takes to close a deal
You can build a structured and simplified sales process around the above metrics, which will give each team member a clear idea of their priorities.
Going after the right leads
What’s the biggest waste of time in sales?
There’s likely a few contenders, but none more frustrating than missing the best leads because you’re spreading yourself too thin..
Time will be lost, frustration will creep in and when you do find a good lead you don’t have enough time to focus on the relationship and nurture the prospect effectively.
With the right structured sales process, dead leads should become a thing of the past.
By analyzing your past customers and developing insights as to why they are so valuable you can begin to build a picture of what you ideal customers look like.
Then you can filter these insights into a structured lead qualification template at each stage of your pipeline to make sure your team only spends their time focusing on the right leads and customers.
Dead leads will be dropped.
Sales reps will have more time to focus on nurturing the right prospects.
Automate annoying admin to find time wherever possible
When analyzing your prospects, the last thing any salesperson wants to do is manually research and gather background information.
You should be spending that time selling.
This vital information on all your leads can be gathered through Pipedrive’s Smart Contact Data feature which retrieves web-data such as LinkedIn and Google+ information, about your contacts instantaneously. With the click of a button you can automatically grab all publicly available info from across the internet and assemble it neatly in your contact’s profile. Here’s a quick video of this time-saving magic in action:
Zapier can also allow you to automate almost any annoying manual admin task in your sales process to free up your time to focus on closing deals.
The right automation tech can be a critical enabler for a simple, structured and strategic sales process. You want to turn automation technology into an extra admin team member. That’s the right way to use sales tech. You can’t afford to implement tools that make your rep’s job more difficult.
It’s Time to Make the Change
With a simple and structured sales process, you’ll have the clarity to understand which action to take next at any given time - knowing the outcome will be the best possible.
By simplifying your KPIs you can remove so much admin from your routine and accurately forecast and report without getting lost in the numbers.
A simple, structured process will allow managers to quickly assess performance and pinpoint weakness or problem areas easily, clearly and consistently.
Better yet - sales reps will have one clear focus at any given time. An activity-based-selling approach will remove the noise and stress and give you confidence in your ability to hit quotas as long as you follow the simplified sales process.
By knowing who your ideal customers are and establishing the right process to find, qualify and close leads, the quality of your results will increase.
Now, how much time are you wasting?