Last time out I talked about the need and upside of having a sales process.Once you embrace a sales process, define the basic elements outlined, you can look at taking the benefits further in your revenue generating activities. One of those benefits, one that many without a process struggle to archive, specifically alignment.
Alignment not only helps remove obstacles and friction from a sales, it allows for more efficient use of resources, including time, faster sales cycles, and more solid relationships.
First and foremost is alignment with your buyers. A sales process is half of the revenue equation, this is hard for some sellers accept, the other half, the buyers’ BUYING PROCESS is more important. Don’t believe me, where does the revenue (money) come from? Exactly! So aligning your selling with the buying process will give you a tangible advantage over competitors, I would argue, if all things were equal between you and a competitor, but they were selling without a process, unaware of the buyer’s process, you’ll win every time.
Alignment with the buyer is key, not just from a product/solution perspective, but the decision perspective. Nothing scares a buyer more than when a seller gets ahead of them in the process, especially at critical points in the cycle. Looking at the graphic below, it is easy to see how a seller, who is trying to close, when the buyer is still defining their requirements, will risk the sale.
Internal alignment is also important for sales success and customer satisfaction. Whether you are a vendor, a VAR, etc. a sales process allows you to align with other key groups that impact the sale. Most obvious would be marketing or product development. It is not hard to find instances where marketing and sales were not on the same page; this can usually be traced to the fact that either one or both do not have a defined process in place. This makes it hard to understand what needs to be done, when, by who, hand-offs, and more, needed to move things forward. When the respective processes are aligned, not only are issues resolved more easily, but you gain a competitive advantage to responding to market opportunities and specific client requirements.
If you are in a channel environment, then you have one other opportunity to align for more sales and profits, by aligning the vendor’s sales process with the reseller’s. In most instances, many resellers do not have a formal sales process, this makes it easier for vendors to extend and push their sales process out to their resellers. What better way to pass on best practices, and have a reseller imprint on you, not just based on product, but the ability to monetize opportunities.
Two things to consider, first you may not want to do this for the entire channel, you may want to be selective based on specific criteria, these will differ based on the organizations involved, but not difficult to figure out once you’ve defined objectives. The second is a false concern held by some, specifically their fear that if they extend their process out, the reseller may also use it to sell other products. So what? The reality is that if you can indoctrinate a reseller to your way of selling, with all that it includes, all that is captured in the process as outlined last time, you sales and wallet share will increase; especially when that process is wrapped around your product or solution.