A process is only effective when all the individuals involved understand the purpose of establishing such a process. A team probably use dozens of processes on a daily basis. The sales team is no exemption. Within the team, there are well-defined processes that aim to bring in more sales as possible. The question now is what will happen if the sales process starts breaking down?
You need not wait to happen. Below are some of the tell-tale signs that your sales process is broken to the extent that it borders the mediocre and the awful. We also offer some insights into how you can fix it.
Signs of an ineffective sales process
1) Low response rates
If you are doing cold calling and email outreach and yet very few people are responding, then there’s a problem. There is nothing completely wrong with email outreach and cold calling for that matter. However, the methods to connect with our prospects are evolving. Perhaps, your sales process should, too.
Some experts argue that cold calling is dead. Nowadays, sales reps should prioritize “warm calling.” LinkedIn is there for a purpose. So, use it to your advantage. Yes, it is tempting to open the yellow pages. But for a more streamlined process that adds value, you need to define your list before you introduce yourself to the person.
When it’s time to connect through a call or an email, your name will be familiar to the prospect. This increases the likelihood of getting a response.
LESSON: The sales process must emphasize the need to establish a connection first before making the first contact
2) Few leads
If you aren’t able to build rapport in the first place, chances are, there will be very few leads to enter the pipeline. If there will be leads entering the pipeline at all. Another problem to look into is the fact that many companies are still buying leads lists. Thus, the prospects are nothing but names and not necessarily people who have a genuine interest in the company or its products and services.
Now is the perfect time to change the perspectives of these salespeople. If you are looking for qualified leads, these are the people who have already expressed an interest in your product. These people definitely need or find value in what you are offering. Yet, if a sales rep cannot distinguish between a qualified and unqualified lead, your process is obviously problematic.
The first place to look for those who have an established buyer interest is through the company’s CRM (customer relationship management). This is a critical tool to determine who reaches out to your company to inquire. They are probably looking for information about the choices and alternatives.
LESSON: The sales process should emphasize the need to differentiate between cold and warm leads
ANOTHER LESSON: The sales process should integrate sub-processes to determine which leads to pursue
3) Low close rates
In creating revenue, the sales team needs to convert leads into sales. If the team conducts 100 meetings in a month and closes 2 to 3 leads, the sales process needs to be improved. The ideal conversion rate is at least 10%. Anything lower than this rate is a sign that you need to evaluate the process that the team is using.
Depending on the industry, there could be some slight variations in the process. Nonetheless, the goal is the same – conversion. Thus, you need to know if the team members understand and complete the required steps to take. They should be able to address the pain points of the prospects.
It takes more than reviewing the sales reports and evaluating the performance of the sales team. The entire process must be reviewed to determine which areas need improvement.
LESSON: The sales process must value the buyer experience, and the team must understand how to do this
4) Longer sales cycle
There are no two sales cycles alike since they differ depending on the industry or niche. There are no rules of thumb when it comes to this. But, this is not an excuse to have a draggy sales cycle. If you can trim down the process into 15 to 18 days, why not right?
LESSON: The sales process should be operationally efficient, so there must be no room for redundancies
Simply, the sales team is only strong if the sales process that they rely on is equally strong. If the process is not doing what it should, it’s high time to do some evaluation. And please, get the team on board not because they are the one who uses it, but because the team members know what makes a valuable sales process. They are completely aware of the loopholes so they can best judge which needs to be improved.
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