Have you ever heard a seller complain that there just isn’t enough paperwork to be completed?
How about that they wish your CRM was more complex?
Or that there aren’t enough departments involved in their sales?
As a manager, it's likely that you have heard the exact opposite from most of your salespeople. Hunters like to hunt, but many don’t really like to cook or clean up after their kill. What are ways that you can let your sellers sell and minimize the roadblocks they deal with?
Create a Sales Process for Your Business Unit
Sit down as a management team and map out what the sales process should look like for all your sales teams. Every department that touches any part of the sales process should be included.
Ask questions like:
- Is this process too long?
- Too complex?
- Are there any ways to streamline?
- What is the specific goal for part of the sales process?
The goal of prospecting, for instance, may be qualifying leads that meet certain criteria.
The goal of a proposal, to present one clear solution that addresses client needs with and showcases an integrated solution.
Once you have your optimal process in place, along with an intended goal for each part of the process, highlight your goals. Bring them to the foreground, so they are the first thing your sellers see.
Now comes the important part. Bring your sales process to the sales team. The people who will be using this process each day need to have input.
Through sales process mapping, your team can keep a constant focus on your most mission-critical question: How can you create real value to the customer? … Everything you do to find, gain, and keep customers should create clear value for them. If you do, customers – and the best salespeople – are sure to follow. — Michael. J Webb - iSixSigma
If your sales team sees the value and benefit to your sales process, they are more likely to buy in and follow it.
CRM — Friend or Foe?
Ask salespeople about their feelings on a CRM, and you'll likely hear love it or hate it. Most sellers have strong feelings about the CRM and its usefulness. So, ask yourself, is your data working for you or against you?
Customer Relationship Management software is a great innovation and a wonderful tool. However, many organizations use it incorrectly. Salespeople should be data recipients – not data entry reps … most salespeople are not wired for data entry or record keeping. (At one company) over 50% of the average salespersons workweek was lost to CRM and order processing. Big roadblock. The labor cost was high, but the opportunity cost was staggering! — Barrett Riddleberger - LinkedIn
Is there a way to take data entry out of your sales team’s day, in part or totally? And if sales support is simply not an option, are there ways to simplify the CRM process?
Look for any redundant steps and remove them. And again, meet with the sales team and ask them where they have issues with the CRM. What steps trip them up, and can they be modified or removed?
How often does this scenario play out on your team?
- Your seller made a great sale, but between the sale and fulfillment, something went wrong.
- Your seller is furious and is blaming the fulfillment team, while fulfillment is blaming the seller for not giving them the right info.
Unfortunately, a breakdown in communication can lead to a negative atmosphere, lost revenue, and unhappy clients.
Creating a sales fulfillment checklist and encouraging sellers to check off each step can cut down on these issues. And for large sales, encourage your sellers to schedule a meeting with key players to make sure everyone is on the same page. They should create a clear agenda and send this out to the team, send meeting invites, and a reminder email to make sure everyone is on board.
The more internal roadblocks you can remove for your sales team, the better, faster, and greater volume they can sell.
Ask your sellers to tell you something good about the sales process, then tell you something that is not good, and ask how can we make it good. Get their input on improving the process and making it as seller-friendly as possible, and then step back and let your sellers sell.