From the Sales Director's perspective, developing a consultative sales process means developing a comprehensive, formal, realistic, and step-by-step outline of what salespeople are expected to do. This is just as appropriate for internal and totally reactive sales teams, as it is for external pro-active ones.
This outline includes the activity and calls they must make, the relationships they should establish with prospects, the documentation they should use in sales calls, the issues they must discuss and resolve with prospects and the tangible goals they must achieve in sequence along the path to each sale, in order to achieve maximum effectiveness.
It's only when such an outline is in place that sales management can be in a position to:
• Monitor the sales force's activity, progress and results
• Assess issues as they arise and take appropriate action
• Redirect individual sales representatives' efforts efficiently
Although many organizations appreciate the importance of being customer-focused and talk in vague terms about their "consultative sales process," surprisingly few sales leaders invest the time and energy required to develop a formal sales process - a process that is at once detailed and resilient enough to guide their salespeople and permit effective management of their efforts.
Overcoming Implementation Inertia
Even when a consultative sales process has been developed, understood by sales managers, written down, and circulated, it's often not enough. No matter how brilliant, a sales process will only be effective to the extent it is followed and used by frontline sales staff. And this is where most organizations fall down: overcoming inertia - among managers and salespeople alike - and implementing the process.
The hurdles that must be cleared, in order to get people throughout the organization to actually implement it, are enough to cause Sales Directors to tear their hair out!
But a select few, of the very best, have found some innovative strategies that have enabled them to achieve the Holy Grail: Sustained sales growth achieved efficiently, reliably, and by design.
Tomorrow: A break with tradition; no JF Guest Author Spot, because I need to write an epilogue that concludes a post I made in January "Have We Been Witnessing The Death of Professional Selling?" which has caused such flutterings and witterings in a few myopic quarters.
My view, which I will justify, is not only have we been witnessing its death - in some B2C sectors - but we have been to the wake, and watched it climb down to the vestibule and join the choirboys. Do join me?