Actually, the first question is, does your company have a sales model? From my experience it’s unlikely. Well, not a formalised one that’s followed by all the team.
It’s more likely there’s a rough process that each rep or account manager more or less follows in their own style. They have mixed success with it, and there’s a “bell” curve of productivity (read sales performance) across the team. 10-20% of the team are the “sales stars” who achieve quota consistently, maybe even exceed it, then there’s a big group - the middle 60-70% who come close from time to time, have a good month here and there, but always play catch-up. Then there are the few at the bottom that just shouldn’t be there. These people suck resources, consistently underperform and give their manager a bad name because their non-performance is tolerated.
Hopefully, I’m not describing your company’s sales team. But I probably am.
The problems with a loose process
When you have a loose process, every sales conversation and step in the process is unique, (sounds like a good thing, right …. wrong!
Everyone does it a little differently but most don’t know the best way. This leads to remarkable inefficiency and ineffectiveness.
Using a "best practice" model
Alternatively, a prescribed model or process designed with input from the best salespeople, mirroring their successful methods, builds trust and credibility with prospects or customers. Well qualified buyers will move consistently through the steps towards a positive decision.
Having a “best practice” model the whole team follows leads to much greater effectiveness in the sales process. It reduces risk in many ways, speeds up the cycle and generates much better sales results.
This is the value of a SALES MODEL.
The process leads to not only a much greater consistency of qualification, but consistency across all steps. Having a structured list of qualification questions leads to a better conversation, it helps the less experienced have a more business and higher level initial conversation. When they get to the specifics, it ensures they don’t forget to discuss key points and makes them look more professional and thorough. It can help them have more of a business discussion, as opposed to a tactical discussion.
Once “pain points” or needs have been established (and my bet is that there will at most be ten things that come up consistently), these can be focused on, discussed and demonstrated in the best/most effective way – as opposed to what a particular sales person thinks is best (and may not be).
The best answers to objections can be created. I guarantee a group discussion will generate many ways of answering key objections, and some answers and conversations will definitely be more effective than others. Why would everyone in the team not want to use the “best” answer?
Building a company-wide model
So, hopefully I’ve convinced you that having a company-wide model is a good idea. How do you go about building one?
Firstly, you map out what you think are the steps your prospects or buyers use to purchase whatever it is you sell. There is no point in you having a model that doesn’t map to your market’s buying process.
In the previous paragraph, when I say “you”, I’m really meaning you as sales leader, and one or two of your best salespeople as a team. The benefit of having extra input is immense.
Then you workshop each one of these steps with your best performers (this may be a bigger group) asking “how do we do this step best?” What do we do/ask/talk about/show at each of these steps? How do we best demo or present what should be in the proposal, how is it best written (in WIIFM terms of course), how do you present it? What are the best answers to the common objections we get (again, I’ll bet there are at most ten common objections that need to be brainstormed to get the best ten answers).
At the conclusion of these sessions you will have established the “best” way to handle each of your buyer’s “purchasing steps”. These can then be documented and templated for use by all the team.
What does the sales leader do next?
They train their team how to do each of these steps as per the “new” model. Ok, so that’s a newsletter in itself, but one of your immediate thoughts should be around practicing delivery and role playing.
Then the leader follows up and ensures the team really is using these new techniques and content.
Then you review and improve, review and improve, review and improve.