We are at the halfway point in the year and are you wondering if you will end the year on target? With five months remaining you should have a pretty good idea where you will be at year end.
We often find client sales teams with bulging pipelines, frustrated salespeople and no clue if they will meet forecast. One of the major reasons is the absence of a well-defined, consistently executed sales process. Everyone talks about process, but few follow one with regularity.
Here’s a check list to bring to your next sales meeting. Use it to test the validity of your sales process.
- Does your process have clearly defined steps, or mile markers? You should be able to look at any of your current prospects or outstanding proposals and see specific steps you followed to get to where you are today. You can also see the steps remaining to success.
- Is there a natural flow from one step to another within the process? What happens after you receive a lead, uncover a prospect or get a referral? Is there something more than just blasting out an email, or quickly picking up the phone? Before you take the first step, you should know what steps 3 through 5 will be.
- Your process should be time sensitive. You can easily see when a prospect entered the process, how long they have stalled at a specific point and when they will exit the process. Each step needs an action required by the prospect to move to the next step? After each interaction with your prospect, take a minute to determine where you are in your sales process.
- Each step along the path should have a go/no go decision point. This will help you avoid trying to force a proposal and having a bloated pipeline. If the prospect isn’t a good fit, make that decision early and move on to a better opportunity.
- Is your process designed to fit your business, or was it found on a website somewhere? Your process should use your terminology, your sales cycle and make absolute sense to the team.
- Is there regular interaction between salespeople and sales manager to verify process progress. Another set of eyes and hears is very effective in verifying movement within the process. Talk about your prospects and strategize how you can best respond to your prospect; uncover the blind spots.
Consistently following a process that aligns your objectives with your prospect’s goals will reduce your frustration. You will move opportunities along quicker and meet your forecast earlier. You will find yourself spending less time working on proposals with low closing percentages and more time finalizing orders.