It's Raining Process These Days...
Process, process, process. You see it and read it ALL the time in sales blogs, articles, and books. You hear it on podcasts. An entire sports franchise is telling their fan base to, 'trust the process.' The challenge with process is that it's become code for long-term payoff (hopefully), at the expense of short-term gains.
And that's a huge problem. It's in a salesperson's (or sports fan's) DNA to want to win right now. I wouldn't want to hire them if they didn't want that. But there are CATASTROPHIC problems with teaching sales without teaching process. They include:
Our Clients: Our clients have different buying patterns. Not having a sales process forces our reps to try to close every client, on the spot, every time. This sacrifices the opportunity to sell clients when they are ready, because they've come to not trust our salespeople, our brand, or our organization. We've turned a fan of our team against us. Having proper process allows us to have more, better conversations all the time, and having the confidence to sell to a buyer on their buying cycle. This turns us into a resource...not a nuisance.
Accountability: A rep that has accountability to a process will have a greater level of accountability towards their goals. If they buy into the right way to do things on a tactical level, they will have a greater tendency to be motivated by not just a future in the industry, but their current results as well. Those that drift to the easy sales, the low hanging fruit, are the ones who often drift from sale to sale...and job to job.
B2B Sales: Part of the challenge with reps selling B2B is that, without a clearly defined process, they tend to sell cyclically. That is, they'll engage, then have meetings, then put proposals on the table, then get decisions, then have to start the entire process over again. They'll go another few months without a sale, while re-starting a sales process, then get upset with the inconsistency and stop selling. Having a clearly defined process allows a rep to be focused on engaging at all times, having meetings at all times, putting proposals on the table at all times, and getting answers at all times. This clearly defined process creates consistent results.
Rep Growth: Without process, it's almost impossible for reps to identify where their lost sales went wrong. Too many reps, when asked where that sale went wrong say, 'I don't know, they didn't buy?' With process, reps can be proactive in identifying a lack of questioning, lack of recommendation, poor agenda, lack of urgency, etc. as areas of improvement. This allows a rep to be accountable to improving their own process.
While the word 'process' is everywhere these days, it is a critical part of what makes a successful salesperson. If you're not teaching it, learning it, and driving it...you're not allowing yourself to be as successful as you could.