Ask a sales leader what a key reason for their success is, and they’re bound to say one factor is a sales process that every member of the team focuses on. As critical as a sales process can be in building sales for your team, it can quietly work against you as well.
Below are 5 questions every sales manager must regularly ask about their sales process:
1. When it comes to “averages,” am I as the sales manager being deceived?
Benchmarking numbers is a key thing sales managers do, and a natural outcome of benchmarking is determining what the average is. The problem is there is no such thing as an average.
Average is nothing more than that—the average. As a sales leader, you should be focusing on the outliers. The numbers at both ends of the spectrum deserve your attention. It’s these numbers and what is behind them that offer you real insights about your sales team and the sales process.
2. Is the overall time it takes to close a sale decreasing?
This one is simple. If the overall time it takes to close a sale is not decreasing, then something is wrong. Taking into consideration how customers are choosing to enter the buying cycle in relation to the point when they want to buy something is only one variable. The time it takes to close must be getting shorter. If it’s not, then something is amiss.
3. What is the difference between what your salespeople are sharing with their customers and what the customer could find on the internet?
Answering this question is going to take some digging. You not only will have to ask your salespeople, but you will also need to go on some sales calls with them. What are they saying? What are they talking about with the customer?
If they’re merely sharing information that a customer could find on the internet, then you have to ask yourself, “What is the shelf life of the salesperson?”
A salesperson’s value is what they bring to the customer. This means bringing them insights and questions a customer cannot find via another source.
4. What part of the sales process could someone outside the sales team better handle?
Is your sales process a victim of tradition? Unfortunately, too many sales processes are, and as a result, so are the results. A part of you continually challenging your team’s sales process is finding those activities someone else could be handling.
It’s amazing what happens when a process or activity historically done by one group is moved to another group or person in your organization. Yes, this may cause some grumbling all the way around, but the strong leader will minimize it. Out of these wise observations and decisions to better align work, the sales process will improve.
5. Am I spending my time monitoring results or impacting results?
Too many sales managers spend too much time doing nothing than completing reports. This means their perspective is nothing more than conclusions drawn from reports. The real value of insights is when the sales manager is acting as a sales leader in the field, helping to develop their salespeople and customers. This is the impact the sales leader is paid to have.
Yes, these are the 5 questions every sales leader should be asking on a regular basis. Why? It’s simple–you can continually strengthen your sales process to take advantage of shifts in the marketplace or you can wait until the results are not there and then make a change.
It’s your choice.
Mark Hunter, “The Sales Hunter,” is author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price. He is a sales expert who speaks to thousands each year on how to increase their sales profitability. He was named one of the Top 50 Influencers in Sales by Top Sales World. To receive a free weekly sales tip and read his Sales Motivation Blog, visit www.TheSalesHunter.com. You can also follow him on Twitter, on Facebook and on LinkedIn.
Learn more about salesforce.com by visiting our website, or download our free e-book below.