Finest Business Consulting | Proceso de venta: ¿Cuál es tu nivel?
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Proceso de venta: ¿Cuál es tu nivel?

Proceso de venta: ¿Cuál es tu nivel?

 

When speaking at sales transformation conference in San Diego, I fielded a question from an audience member about sales effectiveness project success rates. I had earlier mentioned that, based on our last round of Project reviews, we were still seeing the “one third” factor hold true: One third of sales effectiveness initiatives generated great results, one third created minor improvements, and the final third produce no improvements at all. “How can you tell up front which third you will ultimately end up in?” asked the questioner.

 

My response was that you can often get a very good feel for how ambitious your sales transformation plans should be by first taking a serious look at your existing sales process–the way in which you market to and sell to customers. The better defined your process is, the greater your chances of success in improving sales performance.

 

Over the past decade, I have benchmarked thousands of sales effectiveness initiatives, and in doing so we have been able to document a clear correlation regarding the level of sales process a company has adopted and their sales performance. We now classify companies into one of four levels of sales process adherence.

 

Level One: Random Process

 

Anarchy prevails in an organization at the level one stage of sales process development. Account managers tend to view themselves as CEOs of their own businesses who are not bound by the dictates of a structured approached for working with customers. There may be a suggested sell cycle, but it is used haphazardly at best, based on the

whims of the individual salesperson.

 

Being a level one organization does not mean you are unsuccessful, but it does mean that results are unpredictable. In this type of company, leads get generated, sales get made and accounts renew. However, sometimes lead conversion rates are 20 percent, sometimes they are 1 percent. Sometimes deals close in three days, sometimes in one year. Sometimes customer satisfaction ratings are near 100 percent, sometimes they are in the pits. The problem is nobody can explain why these things happen.

 

The success of a level one firm is not dependent on sales process–because there isn’t one! Instead, it is based solely on the skill levels of individual sales person.

 

 

 

 

 

Level Two: Informal Process

 

At sales process level two sales we see firms that rely on an informal approach to selling which salespeople are exposed to, but the formality of the implementation stops there. Sales reps may be expected to adopt the selling approach, but its use is neither monitored nor measured. According to our survey results this describes over 40 percent of all firms today.

 

Level two companies are essentially driven by “tribal folklore”–the belief that, “If we keep doing the perceived best practices of the past, we will keep hitting our numbers in the future.” These types of companies can be successful, but only as long as there are no major changes in the way business is done in their marketplace.

 

But therein lies the challenge. Sales is a fragile ecosystem. We are continually bombarded by changes in the economic environment, the political climate, the competitive landscape, etc. This requires us to make periodic changes to the way we sell, sometimes dramatic changes. Informal sales firms often have to rely on hunches vs.

metrics in deciding how to adapt their sales process, which can result in them making suboptimal, if not downright wrong choices.

 

Level Three: Formal Process

 

A level three organization is one where the sales process has become a way of life for the company. Every employee in, sales, and often marketing and support as well, is trained on the “standard” for how things need to be done–not only the recommended way of doing things, but the required way to do them.

 

This process is continually reinforced by sales management, who use the process as the framework for coaching and mentoring reps, as well as managing deals through the various stages of the sales pipeline.

 

Because the sales process is so ingrained into daily operations, it can be analyzed and improved. This type of company is still susceptible to changes in its marketplace. But because they have the ability to see what parts of the process are being impacted by those changes, and how, they are able to react much more effectively compared to their Level 1 and Level 2 counterparts. But the issue here is that they are still reacting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Level Four: Dynamic Process

 

Level four is where we all want to be. A firm at this level not only has adopted a formal sales process, these companies are also committed to gathering and continually analyzing metrics about their performance. They have a solid understanding of how they sell, how their customers buy and how they need to engage clients to créate long-term loyalty.

 

Level four firms are constantly questioning the status quo. They ask themselves such things as: Why do 30 percent of the people who visit our web site abandon their shopping carts? Why do 15 percent of our A leads never followed up on? Why do 23 percent of the orders we process have errors? For these types of companies, sales management analytics are not an option–they are a necessity.

 

Based on access to real-time performance metrics, these sales organization can detect early on when buyer requirements begin to shift, when competitive strategies are becoming more/less effective, when customer satisfaction is just starting to decline, etc. They are then able to proactively make changes to how they sell, to create an advantage over their less nimble competitors.

 

What’s Your Level?

 

As I discussed in San Diego, if you want to get a feeling for how successful your sales effectiveness efforts will be, first do a realistic “gut-check” on what type of sales organization you have. Having analyzed a number of sales performance metrics, comparing firms at all four levels of sales process adoption over the past three years we

consistently see that Level 2 firms outsell Level 1 firms, Level 3 firms outsell Level 2 firms, and Level 4 firms outsell Level 4 firms.

 

For a detailed analysis of sales performance based on sales process, we encourage you to read CSO Insights analysis of The Anatomy of a World-Class Sales Organization. And for more insights into what a sales process entails, from both the seller and buyer perspective, read CSO Insights Sales Process Primer.

 

Jim Dickie is the Managing Partner for CSO Insights, a benchmarking firm that specializes in researching how companies are optimizing the way they market to, sell to and service customers.

 

 

 

 

About CSO Insights

CSO Insights is the independent research arm within Miller Heiman GroupTM, dedicated to improving the performance and productivity of complex B2B sales. The CSO Insights team of respected analysts provides sales leaders with the research, data, expertise, and best practices required to build sustainable strategies for sales performance improvement. CSO Insights’ annual sales effectiveness studies, along with its benchmarking capabilities, are industry standards for sales leaders seeking operational and behavioral insights into how to improve their sales performance and to gain holistic assessments of their selling and sales manage ent efficacy. Annual research studies address sales and service best practices, sales enablement and sales performance optimization.

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