I thought it timely to write about this topic as we have recently run into so many financial services firms who are implementing a new sales process. Obviously, the goal in doing so for most firms is to enhance the experience their clients receive (by enhancing the effectiveness of their advisors) and/or ensure a consistent approach throughout their sales force.
I well recall my first role as a sales leader. I took over a decent sales organization, but one that lacked effectiveness, efficiency and profitability within the sales process. So I concluded that the first task that would be most impactful (and impressive!) was to establish a sales process. The resulting process was awesome. In fact, I still have the final document today. I was so impressed with myself and the team that worked with me. Our end-product – if implemented – would definitely ramp things up in terms of sales effectiveness.
But what a shock. It was never effectively implemented. While everyone agreed that it was the right process, our sales force basically ignored it.
I have since learned a lot from that time-consuming and expensive mistake and, as confirmed by the statistic above, I am not alone in making this mistake, which we at Greene Consulting see repeated time and time again throughout our industry.
Three Common Mistakes
The problem? From our experience, there are usually 3 key mistakes in the development and launch of a “new sales process”.
- The process is more about you rather than the prospect.
Most sales processes state what YOU want to accomplish and have no reflection of what the prospect is actually seeking.
- The process lacks defined minimum outcomes.
Most sales processes fail to establish clear, concrete criteria that provide clarity around successful progression in the sales process. Without defined minimum outcomes (also refereed to as exit criteria) for each stage in the sales process, you will never have a true picture of what is actually occurring in the field.
For the remainder of this blog, I will focus on Mistake #3, which is:
- A Process without Purpose.
A sales process should always be fundamentally grounded in the mission and purpose of the organization. If the sales process is built around that context first, then the rollout and all related training should be consistently aligned and related to that purpose.