This is the third post in a series of guest posts from Brian Groth, Sales Enablement Manager at Xactly Corp. Learn how to overcome the challenges of implementing and upholding a productive sales process.
Having a measurable sales process is probably the best way for a sales enablement manager or team to understand how to help a sales team and whether their efforts are helping to drive sales. But implementing a sales process that all reps identify with and stick to is harder than it sounds.
What is the sales process?
The sales process is the approach your sales team takes to manage sales opportunities. It involves taking an initial conversation with a stranger and turning it into a customer relationship by closing a deal. But there is a lot going on between these steps! There are a number of tasks that a sales team must do to move a sale forward, and it takes some logical grouping of those tasks to keep the process organized. Grouping tasks into stages of the sales cycle and closely monitoring them makes up your sales process.
Why is it a challenge?
It is difficult to determine the right activities for sales reps to focus on, the right prospects to be selling to, the “right” way to sell, and the right criteria to advance an opportunity. But all of this is very important for managing pipeline and revenue. Only the most seasoned and tenured sales reps at a company truly know what activities work for that company, but fresh eyes can help identify missing or overly-complex parts. It's unlikely any one person is an expert at everything and even if such a person exists, buyers and the competitive landscape are often changing and challenging the process. This poses a challenge as companies try to keep up with an evolving process while still taking advantage of what worked in the past.
What can you do about it?
By working closely with both sales operations teams and sales executives, sales enablement teams can help across the entire sales process. This occurs at the granular level by helping reps improve skills for specific activities, and helping managers to perfect those skills. Sales enablement teams can also measure conversion rates from one sales stage to the next, and diagnose what needs to be improved to increase that conversion rate. This may include identifying and creating specific training, guidance, changes to the activities, or a combination of these. And finally helping sales operations make the process easier on the rep, while also training the rep and the sales managers on the importance and benefits of following the process.