There are countless ideas, principles, facts and nuances that alone and in combination contribute to a truly outstanding performance in sales or sales management. We read the books and articles, listen to the speeches and lectures and learn from our own experiences and mistakes. But what is the best way to organize all that knowledge so we can apply it most effectively? The answer lies in the Three Core Principles of Sales Process Engineering.
Principle #1 – Continuous improvement of the sales process is fundamentally essential.
Who can argue with that statement? It’s motherhood and apple pie. It’s blatantly obvious that both individuals and sales teams must continually work hard at getting better. If we stand pat and the competition improves, relatively speaking, we’re falling farther and farther behind.
No need to belabor the point, but realize the catch. By accepting principle one, you have also just accepted principles two and three.
Principle #2 – Objective metrics – lots of them – are required to judge the quality, the amount and the pace of improvement.
Are you (and your sales team) better than average? My company surveyed over 300 sales executives, and this was one of the questions. Based on the responses, we “concluded” that 83% of sales teams are above average. Hmmm… Think about that. Does the bell curve not apply to sales?
Consider a different question. By what percent per year are you improving the quality of execution of each of your most critical sales activities? If you are unable to produce the hard statistics, you have no valid means of answering the question. You have no facts; nothing to back up your own subjective, untrustworthy opinion. In other words, you just violated your commitment to principle #1. If you can’t show me the data, how can you or I know if you’re improving at all? Maybe you’re getting worse!
Principle #3 – A well-defined sales process is a pre-requisite for determining meaningful metrics.
Humor me for a minute… Take out a blank sheet of paper and write down the three key measurements you would use to judge the quality of the performance of your sweep. I’ll wait… Got them?
Maybe you recognized “sweep” as the guy with the broom in a curling contest. Probably not. Odds are exceedingly low that you were able to come up with a single meaningful metric. Here’s the point… If you don’t know anything about the “sweeping” process, there’s no way you can define even one meaningful “sweeper” measurement. In other words, until you implement principle #3, you cannot get started with principle #2.
This concept also applies to sales. You must have a clear, detailed, written sales process, embraced and used by everyone in your company.
Without that clearly defined sales process, development of meaningful sales metrics is simply not possible. Without metrics you cannot know if performance of any given key sales task is improving or declining, or at what rate, or how you compare to others in your company or industry. Not knowing if you’re getting better or worse or where you stand competitively, means you don’t really care that much about continuous improvement.
Think About It…