A sales process that is efficient creates consistency and discipline, which are often lacking in sales organizations. Your sales managers will also benefit from the coaching structure.
What if salespeople applied the same level of rigor to each deal?
This is often not the case. Prospects can slip through the cracks if there is no straightforward sales process or salespeople don’t stick to it. We see this most often when salespeople give up too quickly or celebrate too soon. These may seem to be two opposing issues, but they are actually the same thing.
Don’t Give Up Too Soon.
Recently, we have seen a trend in our coaching calls: Salespeople who give up too soon. Selling is difficult. There are many ways to make it difficult. You might lose the business even if you do everything perfectly. Why is it that salespeople often lose sight of the ball during the final stages of the sales process?
Sometimes salespeople assume they have lost a sale because they are pessimistic. Some salespeople give up too early and just go through the motions. They lose sight of the opportunity and shift their attention to other things. Sometimes, the deals they thought they would lose are realized, and they are shocked to find out that they have won.
If your sales team doesn’t closely monitor and review their pipeline in weekly meetings, they won’t be held responsible for following the sales process and may give up too soon. Your sales team will develop a better habit of following a clearly laid out sales process. Ask your sales team to share each step in these coaching sessions. You will often find that there are many more opportunities to follow up. This could save the deal.
Celebrate Too Soon
Sometimes the problem is the exact opposite. What happens if your salespeople celebrate too soon?
Sometimes it is a case of salespeople getting complacent. They assume that everything is going according to plan and are then surprised to learn that the prospective client has altered plans, cut the budget, or selected a different supplier. You can’t take anything for granted. Follow the process from the beginning to the end and keep an eye on it until the close.
It was a play that I remembered from Superbowl XXVII. This video is worth 15 seconds. It is ironic that only Leon Lett (the guy with the ball) can see the video. Coaching is crucial because it provides outside perspective and accountability.
During your weekly sales meetings, the best time to hold them accountable is when they are most active. Ask them to rank each prospect based on their likelihood of closing. In our Must Win Deal workshops, we often see salespeople putting these prospects in a 75-85% closing position when they haven’t done enough qualifying. These are some questions you should ask at your next sales meeting.
Are you familiar with their timeline and budget?
Are you really speaking to the decision-maker?
Do they work with another vendor? Are they loyal to this vendor? If yes?
Can we satisfy 100% of their needs?
These questions are not something that your sales team has ever considered.
Ask your sales team to reflect on each step they took with prospects this week during your sales meeting. Is the team following all stages of the sales process or just a few? Are there any standard sales processes, or do salespeople have their own? Are they letting go of great opportunities too quickly or celebrating too early on lukewarm leads?