Do you like surprises? Many people claim they don’t, and yet when something unexpected and good happens it still provides a much-appreciated life lift.
That’s what we’re going to explore in this installment of the Creating Your Roadmap for Sales Success series: The Surprising Hidden Benefits that come along with having a well-defined sales process in place.
As a quick recap, in the first article in this series, I shared what a sales process is and why you should have one. The second installment of the series outlined the stages or the milestones to map out your sales process, and the third installment examined the key components to include in your sales process.
Now, the Surprising Hidden Benefits of a Sales Process.
Hidden Benefit #1: Post-Sales Analysis
To illustrate this first hidden benefit, I’m going to use a personal example. I recently had a referral and was pleasantly surprised that one of the key decision-makers was somebody I’ve worked with in the past. Yet, despite us having a positive business and personal relationship, it was difficult getting him to commit to spending focused one-on-one time together during the early stages of the process. It was even tough to get him to connect via email outside of the larger group so that I could get the necessary insight and other information I needed to help position the best solution for his company.
As we continued through the sales process, it became obvious that they primarily wanted a proposal from me for comparison to show their Board of Directors. Yet instead of this being a big upsetting realization, it pointed out one of the hidden benefits of our sales process, and that’s that we can use it to diagnose whether an opportunity is good or not. That way if we get a “No,” we’re not surprised.
Hidden Benefit #2: Early Qualification
A second hidden benefit is that an effective sales process can be used to qualify prospects early, allowing us to get out of opportunities sooner rather than later.
In the earlier example, I decided to continue the process and provide a proposal even though the probability of success was lower. Knowing that, I adjusted the resources devoted to the opportunity. Meaning what? A streamlined proposal that took half the time to prepare, and not including a team member in the last meeting, saving their time.
I’m confident these adjustments didn’t lead to the “No” decision, but they sure saved resources.
Of course, no one likes turning away prospective clients, but it’s often worthwhile to do that to save the resources, time, effort, and heartache of getting a no in the long run anyway.
Here are initial qualifying criteria financial advisors may want to consider to help qualify prospects:
- Are they willing to pay your fees?
- Are they able to pay your fees?
- Are they willing and able to delegate responsibility for the necessary financial aspects of their lives?
All these qualifiers, when done early, help you align your time and resources with the most valuable opportunities.
Hidden Benefit #3: Team Member Impact
The third hidden benefit for having a well-defined sales process in place is the impact that it has on your team. While it’s obvious that having a process that your team can follow to ensure everyone is on the same page is beneficial; the hidden benefit is that a sales process can help you decide who to hire in the first place.
What are the skills that you need? What is the time that they’re going to save? What is the value to your firm by hiring that person? And then also, what are the training needs for this new hire? Both in terms of the sales process, but also regarding the other functions of your business.
Another hidden team benefit is that by using a sales process with your team, you’ll better be able to identify gaps and redundancies in your process and adjust accordingly to better fit what really needs to happen.
Hidden Benefit #4: Identify Gaps in Your Resources
The fourth hidden benefit is around the resources that you rely on to support your sales process. This relates to both internal and external resources.
For the internal resources, when you map out your sales process and identify what is needed for each stage, you may find that some tools or resources that you or your team rely on aren’t doing the job as efficiently as they could be. You may also notice something is missing altogether that you’ve been working around. What can you do to fill these internal resource gaps?
The external resources support the prospect’s decision-making to help them move forward confidently. When you map out your full process, you may likewise find that there are resource gaps that should be filled.
For example, when looking at what resources are needed in the conversion process, you might find prospects routinely ask about a given topic. Then you can design an overview or checklist to share for getting that information to your prospect more quickly and efficiently so that they can move forward to the next stage.
There you have it. Four hidden reasons why creating and using a sales process is good for you and your business — but that still might not be enough. So, I’ll share one more final financial benefit.
Bonus Benefit: Resources
Companies that have a defined sales process generate 18% more revenue than companies that do not have a sales process. So, if you’re someone who is driven by numbers, that’s a pretty darn good reason to put the effort into your sales process!
Stay Tuned for More
Stay tuned for the grand finale where I’ll outline the do’s and don’ts of using your process to maximize the efficiency and productivity of the process.