The ‘successful salesperson stereotype’ is widely recognised throughout the sales community and society at large.
It’s an image of someone confident, charismatic and quick-witted with a brilliant smile, and an approachable manner.
Sure, these qualities make for an excellent salesperson – especially if you throw a positive mindset into the mix. However, if this person lacks consistency in their approach, then their image of success may be just that: an image, a facade. Look closer at their performance and you may see they are enjoying average results at best.
The key to success is consistency
Consistency may not seem as glamorous as a dazzling salesperson in a sharp suit, but its impact is far greater. When provided with a consistent framework for success, your staff will be more likely to meet their targets on a regular basis, as opposed to sporadically hitting the jackpot when luck strikes. As a leader, what would you prefer to see from your employees? Consistent, steady growth, or a rollercoaster of results?
The best way to foster consistent sales results is through developing an effective sales process.
A sales process is a unified, organisation-wide standard of best practices that all staff follow when going through the sales cycle. It’s at the very heart of your sales culture. No one operates outside of this process – and therefore everyone in your organisation operates to the same high standard. The result? A cohesive, productive workforce, where all employees are enjoying success – be they ‘charismatic and confident’ types or quiet achievers.
According to research by the Harvard Business Review, the benefits of a consistent sales process go beyond increased efficiency; they also lead to increased revenue.
“We discovered that sales forces were most effective at managing their sales pipelines if they had invested time in defining a credible, formalised sales process. In fact, there was an 18 per cent difference in revenue growth between companies that defined a formal sales process and companies that didn’t.”
That’s a nearly 20 per cent increase in revenue, right there for the taking, if a consistent sales process is developed and followed.
How can you create a sales process? What’s involved?
You probably already have some type of informal sales process in place. Perhaps staff are encouraged to follow a set of broad guidelines (but this isn’t measured). Or maybe you have a sales process written out, but no one ever references it. The first step to creating a new one is to look at what you already have and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is this working?
- Is everyone following the same process?
- Does everyone know the process exists?
Once you start thinking critically about your process – or lack of one – you will begin to identify opportunities for improvement. If possible, it’s best to recruit the services of someone experienced in this area, as they will be able to help you make key decisions about what to keep and what to let go.
After some reflection, research and real-world testing, you will be able to settle on a sales process that works for your organisation. The next step is implementation; teaching your staff about the new process, and ensuring that they don’t deter from the new rules. To really optimise the sales process, you should create an electronic version within a CRM system or similar. That way, you can use it as an interactive tool to track and manage sales on a daily basis. Easily accessible, the electronic sales process will help sales staff focus on the right activities, in the right order, to achieve their targets.
Once everyone has adapted to the new sales process, you should start to reap the benefits of consistency – the real secret to sales success.