aka “Why your company sales process and customer relationship management system doesn’t work”
I am very often asked about the value of the sales process or the CRM (customer relationship management) system because of the fact that most sales people just don’t follow or use either one. While some of the time, the problem can be your company’s sales process itself or how your sales process is incorporated into your CRM system, there are 8 very key reasons why they fail! The eight key reasons are:
1. Poor communication skills
b. All the systems or processes in the world will not solve poor communication ability within your sales personnel. There is nothing worse than having to deal with someone who has poor communication skills. The good news is that this skill can be learned and effectively drilled so that the sales person can communicate well and effectively.
c. It is important to understand that each step in the sales process is achieved through good communication skills used by the sales person. For example, you likely have “Qualifying” as a step in your sales process. The sales person that cannot communicate well will fail to get the prospect to provide the information necessary to complete this step in the process. With this step not done, closing is not possible and all kinds of unusual and other “solutions” to this are tried but fail.
d. Instead of blaming the system or process, continuously improve the ability of your sales people to communicate and use regular drills and exercises to maintain those abilities. With strong communication skills, each sales person can focus on guiding the client through the sales process and using your CRM system to track the progress.
2. Sales people or sales managers feel like they are not in control of their sales revenues or sales team
a. The daily media consistently tells us that we are not in control. Instead, what is constantly being stated and preached is that the economy is in control or the government, politicians, banks, the weather and on and on. The problem with this is that this view leaves no room for the sales professional or sales manager to take control and effectively DO something to be more effective. And, the more you believe them, the truer it becomes for you!
But ask yourself this question “is the information provided by the media always based on fact?” Or, is the information just being reported? Is it someone’s opinion or agenda? Is any of the information provided by the media controlled by you? Having taken a look at these questions, I would ask you the following:
Should you make business or sales decisions based on what you see or hear in the media? Or should you do something to be effective in your sphere of responsibility?
And which position makes you feel better? Not being in control with any way of turning your sales revenues around? Or, having a good outlook on the future and pushing through effective actions to achieve what you want to achieve?
b. If you ask the majority of sales people if they feel in control of their sales process, the answer is no. The key point to understand here is that sales itself is a technology and the successful sales people use this sales technology to control the sale and ensure the prospect is effectively taken through the sales process.
c. The sales persons job is to take care of the prospect and get them through the sales process so at the end both the company and prospect win!
d. As a sales person, get yourself and your team trained in the technology of selling and you may find that you and your sales team more effectively follow your sales process as well!
3. Inability to effectively contact new prospects
a. The sales person who is not able to effectively make the initial contact with the prospect will not follow the sales process. This sales person likely makes calls over and over and never seems to reach any prospects.
b. When they finally get a prospect on the phone or meet them at an appointment, they forget all about the sales process and try to immediately close the prospect. This normally causes the prospect to hang up or end the meeting as soon as possible.
The remedy for this is again to effectively improve the communication skills of that sales person as well as your sales team. With good communication skills, sales people can effectively contact the prospect and move onto the next step of “qualifying” the prospect.
4. Sales people have a lack of confidence in their ability to complete the sale
a. Sales people that are not confident in their ability to sell, tend to RUSH through the sale based on their fear of failure.
b. They are trying to avoid having REAL communication with the prospect for fear of rejection or objection.
The key to effectively handling this is continuous training especially on objection handling. Daily and weekly exercises that focus on how to effectively handle prospect objections will give you and your sales people the confidence needed to continuously improve and maintain sales ability without fear of objections.
c. If you and your sales team have confidence in the ability to handle objections than the sales process and the use of your CRM system will be in place and well supported by your sales personnel. The confident sales person will more likely follow your sales process and use the CRM as they have no fear.
5. Not competent in their understanding of the products or services they are selling
a. The competent sales person understands the product or service they are selling and is professional when presenting the product or service to the prospect. This makes the prospect confident and builds trust.
b. The sales person that is competent and professional knows that sticking to the sales process and continuing to build the strong case for the prospect to buy is key to closing the sale. They also understand that the “strong case” is documented every step of the way in your companies CRM system so the information can be used during the close and eventually in the delivery process.
c. This sales person also understands the value of the CRM information and documentation transfer to the delivery team as if the delivery team has all of the information about the customer and how the sale progressed, they will be able to completely handle the customer. The sales person can then focus on the next prospect without worry of having missed something in the transfer to the delivery team.
d. The key here is to continuously practice the sales technology to improve the sales ability for yourself and your sales team. Also constant research of the products, services and your industry will keep you and your sales team professional.
6. No real certainty that following the process works
a. The sales people who have no certainty that your sales process and/or CRM system work, have usually had multiple failures in using the sales process and has lost faith.
b. The restoration of certainty comes from defining the result of each step in your sales process and practicing the sales technology required to effectively achieve the result of each step.
c. Once you have restored certainty that the overall process works, it is easier for you to follow the process and get your other sales team members to follow it as well.
7. Doesn’t know how and when to close the sale
a. Most sales people are focused on “closing”. In spite of this the general closing percentage around the world is declining!
b. Most sales training has a heavy emphasis on “closing” and/or “closing techniques”. This too has not improved the overall closing percentage.
c. The key is to ensure that each step in the process builds and builds your case and by the time you get to closing there is a strong foundation to support the client moving ahead with the contract in spite of objections or problems that may arise.
d. Closing will naturally occur if the previous steps of your sales process are done to full result. Once you and your sales team have success with this, the desire to follow the process and use the CRM becomes much higher.
8. Underestimates the value of customer relationship and how this relates to continuous sales
a. A prospect that comes from a referral is way less work to get and you can obtain it at much less cost. In spite of this fact, many sales people don’t put enough emphasis on great customer relationship and the follow through to obtain the referrals from their happy customers as well as doing what it takes to have a continuous flow of these prospects in their pipeline.
b. It is vital to ensure that you and your sales team take full advantage of all the good work you have previously done for a client and ask them for referrals of their friends and colleagues.
c. If you can see the vital importance of referrals and how much easier they are to work, the importance of following the sales process and using the CRM to develop referrals becomes understood.
Inspect your own sales focus and abilities against the 8 points above and create the importance for you and your sales team of using your sales process and CRM system. Remember, it is vital to have a continuous improvement and maintenance system for the sales abilities of you and/or your sales team. That is how the top sales professionals around the world consistently sell.
Take our FREE Sales Skills Assessment Test today and see how you rank in these 8 areas– click here!
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