When I was younger, every Christmas I would get a set of Lego which I would duly build on the day I received it. As time went by, and my wife and I had children, the tradition continued. Yet, something had changed.
The Lego sets had become somewhat more complicated and this resulted in a continuation of the tradition: Building Lego on Christmas day, although, it was no longer a child building the Lego, it was adult me. Now, imagine if that Lego set came with no instructions, just a set of random bits and pieces that needed to be pieced together to create something worth having. How difficult and time consuming would it be?
So, why is it that when we consider sales, we often fail to follow a set of instructions or guidance notes that will support and drive success in our pursuit? Is it possible that if we had a proven structure, methodology and set of exit stages as we progress through a sales process, we might find that we have greater success in the same way that we do when we follow the Lego instruction manual?
The importance of a great sales methodology
The answer, of course, is a resounding yes. Don’t just take my word for it, research from CSO Insights has shown that when an organisation has a robust sales forecasting process, win rates of forecasted deals increase by up to 25%. The importance of a great sales methodology cannot be ignored.
What does a great sales methodology look like? There are a number of key factors that need to be considered when answering this question. Think about an end to end sales process in the same way that you would if you were building that brand-new Lego set.
It needs a clear set of plans that you would follow and build upon to achieve your outcome. At Mentor Group, we call this a Sales Productivity Blueprint (SPB).
Our sales operating system
Our SPB, which you can think of as a sales operating system, includes but is not limited to the following pieces:
- An indicative buying cycle – this is always the starting point as the solution should be aligned to what your customer is looking to achieve and how they will engage you
- A customised sales cycle – aligned to your CRM tool and your forecasting stages
- A solution sales methodology – that informs your sellers about the stage they are in, aligned to the buying cycle, including the critical activities and exit stages that show the opportunity is progressing
- An aligned sales coaching methodology – as previously mentioned, to achieve higher levels of performance, the sales process and coaching culture need to be activated so the SPB shows the types of meetings (e.g. Forecast and Pipeline) and the cadence in each case
- The sales and marketing interconnect – how information should flow between sales and marketing to engage the customer throughout the customer lifecycle journey
These pieces provide clarity, direction and consistency in your sales effort, working to produce a process that is centred around your customer, and builds towards productivity gains, higher levels of performance and better employee engagement.
There is a difference, however, between my Lego example and SPB.
The SPB process is dynamic in that, depending on the buyer process and number of buyers involved, a seller needs the agility to move between sales stages to ensure value is being created for the customer. In short, it is not a linear process.
So, think of the outcome of the SPD as a completed piece of Lego. The blocks are all in the right place. The model looks how it should and the people working on it have clarity, purpose and fun as they build and interact with it.
Watch my Chat with Matt about the Sales Productivity Blueprint here: