Today’s post comes from The Whale Hunters Certified Partner John Prentice, president of Prentice Consulting in Indianapolis, IN. John consults with many companies about process improvements, including whale hunting processes. Thanks for contributing John!
Perhaps you know that one of The Whale Hunters key principles is that sales is 90% process and 10% magic, not the other way around. It is true. To help turn that concept into a real tool you can use, here are three steps to a more efficient sales process.
1. Get everyone involved in designing the sales process steps. That includes Sales and Marketing, of course, but just as important are those upstream (perhaps the CEO or top executives who can open doors), and downstream (those who will have to
deliver on the products and services promised). Your sales process map is your playbook. Don’t dare take a chance on a fumbled handoff; everyone needs to know the
2. Make it visible. Prepare a process map (there’s an example of a process map on page 139 of the book Whale Hunting, How to Land Big Sales and Transform Your Company. List all the participants along the left of the map, each in their own “swim lane.” Then go from step 1 to step 2 to step 3, etc. until you have a picture of “who does what by when,” as well as decisions that need to be made along the way. Now everyone can see at a glance how they contribute to the overall sales process. Then, of course, follow your process.
3. Find the diamonds. A diamond on your sales process map indicates a place in the sequence of events where a decision is made. It is also called a “yield point” because you can keep track of the percentage of favorable decisions at each diamond. If too few decisions are going your way, then you’ll know just the point in the process you will need to improve. Using yield statistics, you won’t have to guess where the problem might be; you’ll know. Isn’t that much better than fumbling with a global directive for Sales to “just fix it.”
If you follow the three steps above, after a few iterations of performing the process, learning what works well and what does not, and making improvements along the way, just imagine what a lean, mean (and repeatable) sales machine you will have.