"Not making the sales numbers? There must be a problem in the sales department!" How often have you heard a statement like this? If orders are not closing does it mean salespeople don't know how to close or that they aren't working hard enough? Should something specific be changed? Perhaps it's time for sales training or a new incentive program or a better lead-generation campaign would help boost sales. The fact is there are a hundred things that affect your sales people's ability to make their numbers.
The numbers don't lie and they are a good indicator of how well the company is doing financially. Finding out why sales numbers are falling and then identifying solutions to the problem is a challenge for any sales manager. Sometimes it is necessary to step back and take a look from a macro level within the organization. Those who are looking closely will delve into the realm of sales process analysis as a way to improve sales results and find overlooked opportunities. At the very least, reviewing your sales processes helps convey the expected behaviors of salespeople and the sequence of events leading to closing sales.
While most sales managers have a sense that there may be something wrong with their sales processes, they often can't put a finger on what it is. The reason is that over the years, business processes tend to become fraught with inefficiencies; unnecessary work, redundancy and delays that have been incorporated into solutions to get the job done. Unfortunately, over time, the solutions are rarely as good as they could be. By assuming your sales process is the best solution for current times, you may not be discovering new opportunities to improve sales and build customer satisfaction. To have a thorough understanding of processes you need two things: detailed information and a tool for capturing and displaying the information.
The detailed information is in the heads of the people doing the work and often each person goes about his work in a slight different way. What sales managers need to understand is the accumulated experience specific to a process. For example, your sales people know what happens in their part of the process better than anyone else because they do it every day. The problem is that you, as the Sales Manager, often don't know the process and until you do, you don't know where it may be broken or need improvement.
For example, process mapping may uncover that prospects are dragging their feet when making a final decision. This allows you and your team to develop strategies to speed up closing sales. Ask the team the following questions.
- How can we get prospects who promised to call back to do so?
- How do we get prospects that keep changing the implementation date to choose a date and stick to it? How do we manage these situations?
- If this is a normal part of our business what other types of sales do you need to fill in the gaps?
Try using the following four principles to yield powerful results to improve sales: