Do You Need More Sales Process?

Posted by Alana Kadden Ballon on Nov 04, 2013

Inevitably, when clients engage us to formalize their sales onboarding & enablement, sales reps get nervous. They think: “Oh no, here come the sales trainers. They probably don’t know anything about sales and are going to want to put us in weeks of training and then make us fill out hundreds of fields on our deals, which will take hours. I won’t sell more, I’ll sell less, because I’ll spend less time selling and more time mired in classes and paperwork.”

The truth is, I feel their pain: I’ve been in weeklong training, been asked to update hundreds of fields, and struggled to connect with what was in it for me. Sales trainers have good intentions: they want to guide reps and make it easier for them to identify what they are missing in deals to get them to close faster. But they get seduced by process: “If we just add ONE MORE FIELD the reps will finally know how to close their deals!” And that one field becomes 10 which grows to 20– and suddenly, reps are spending hours updating fields, missing out on customer time.

So what’s the answer? There is a sweet spot in between the stagnancy of the solo sales rep flailing in a sea of leads with no clear direction on what to do about them, and the process so formalized that more time is spent typing about sales than actually selling.

The best sales process is minimalist. It should create structure, allowing reps to map out the steps in the deal, list key pains and expected ROI, and chart relationships required get the deal done. Reps must be able to do this without more than 30 minutes of training and update each opportunity in 5-10 minutes. And then get on to the next customer.

Does this graph reflect your experience with formalized sales process? How do you determine where your firm is on the curve?