When speaking about a person who has built a successful career in sales it is often said, “They are a born salesperson,” but what does that actually mean? While it is true that some salespeople possess excellent people skills, it is not true of all. Moreover the ability to charm is not a given for a successful sales career. Many charismatic individuals have failed to produce favorable results when placed in a sales position.
Often companies do not consider the individual activities that comprise a process. This is especially true in sales organizations, where each person may operate independently. Success in sales is not unique to achievement in all activities—there is a systematic method that can be followed to achieve the desired outcome. Those activities once defined, can be monitored, measured and improved upon to increase performance.
By performing an audit of the internal sales processes, company owners can determine if each salesperson is investing their time efficiently. Moreover they can also identify areas that require additional training.
The following outlines a series of questions regarding three processes: lead generation, lead management and prospect development. Although each company is unique, many of these questions can apply to most organizations.
Review the questions and customize a list to your organization. Ask each person involved in the selling process to submit their answers and then have a team building meeting where tribal knowledge can be shared, to the benefit of all involved. The more consistent and streamlined the sales process—the greater potential for overall company success.
(1) How are you generating your leads?
(2) What research do you use in the process?
(3) How do you solicit referrals?
(1) Describe a typical day and how you schedule your activities?
(2) How do you manage/calendar your day?
(3) Describe your process for organizing the leads once obtained.
(4) How do you manage the follow-up process?
(5) What processes do you follow to convert a lead to a prospect? (ex. number of calls/visits or the use of specific literature)
(6) What percentage of leads turn into prospects?
(1) At what point in the sales cycles (amount of effort invested) do you determine if the prospect is qualified?
(2) What criteria do you use to identify a lead as a “qualified prospect”?
(3) Once identified as a qualified prospect, describe the activities involved to close the sale?
(4) How do you manage any additional information obtained during the interaction?
(5) How do you manage the communication process?
(6) What percentage of qualified prospects turn into clients?
Lori educates and inspires entrepreneurs. Her company Business Simply Put provides information, advice and tools to succeed in business. Whether you are starting a company or growing an existing business, these tools will define your pathway to success.