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Sales Strategy
Jan 6, 2014 | Sharlene Fernandes, Professional Development Manager, CPSA lock

We’ve all heard the sales gurus echo the importance of defining a solid sales process across an entire organization. However, simply having a sales process defined doesn’t actually mean that the appropriate behaviours are being followed consistently. Whether you are implementing a new sales process or already have one established, frequent checks are needed to ensure that the sales process is running effectively.

Here are 6 downfalls that may impede the effectiveness of your sales process:
Lack of Discipline
Honing your skill as a consultative sales professional takes concerted effort over time. It takes discipline to review your performance regularly and tweak your behaviours until you get it right. It also takes discipline to apply the process even when it’s not convenient to do so, such as when you have a tight timeline to reach a target or when your client just wants to talk price.

Lack of Consistency
A common way that companies undermine their own sales initiatives is by not having a consistent standard of performance laid out explicitly for the whole team. We’re not just talking about consistency in the number of phone calls made, we’re talking about how they are made. Performance standards around objection-handling, upselling, and discounting for example, need to be maintained throughout the entire team so that customers are receiving the same message from all front-facing staff.

Lack of Tenacity
If there’s one thing that sales people should not do, it’s give up. Be thorough in applying the consultative process even in the face of negative sales outcomes, such as rejection, competition, stalling, and objections. Just because there may not be an opportunity now, does not mean there won’t be one later, and don’t forget that you can still ask for referrals.

Lack of Client-Centricity
Too often a sales person’s focus is on themselves and what we need to get out of a prospect – it’s not enough to ask great questions, if the questions are biased toward what we want to hear. Having a consultative sales process that focusses on the needs of the client will go a long way in building sustainable business relationships.

Lack of Feedback
Sales process implementation is a team effort, which is why regular feedback from  managers and in the form of statistics such as conversion metrics will form a feedback loop, resulting in positive reinforcement of behaviours that lead to better sales results. Other forms of reinforcement that could benefit your sales process include gamification methods, rewards, and recognition.

Lack of Flexibility
Sales processes cannot be too rigid because they need to accommodate changes in the marketplace, internal team, and customer needs. Set the expectation from the start that the sales process is an ever-changing entity – encourage open dialogue about what is working and what isn’t.

About the Canadian Professional Sales Association
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