The sales process is vastly different across product, company size and target audience. And every salesperson has a different style and skill set. But when your sales process lacks several core elements, you’re left with confusing messages, a slowdown in prospect engagement and ultimately, risk losing a deal.
Customer data integration is key to developing a single view of the customer and moving each one along a responsive and effective journey. Given that CSO Insights found 54 percent of the deals forecasted by reps never close, it’s imperative that your organization create a detailed sales process that eliminates inefficiency.
There are many factors that can lead to an inconsistent sales process, but these are the three that pose the biggest threat to success.
A Scattered Sales Tech Stack
Sales without a tightly integrated sales stack is akin to the blind leading the blind. Without a smart sales stack, there is no way to efficiently derive insights and analytics from the data you already have. Excel never claimed to be your window into prospect behavior – nor should it be treated as such.
Finding technology that allows both sales and marketing to make meaningful connections to potential buyers is tough. In fact, Gartner identifies improving customer connections among the top three challenges marketers face today. Investing in technology that collects, shares and tracks valuable customer interactions throughout the sales process gives companies the edge they need to compete and win more deals.
Fear of Commitment
When sales fails to commit to accurate sales forecasting, it’s hard to know how to prioritize a sales team’s pipeline. Use data. It’s the heart of the tech stack and that doesn’t stop here.
Technology that emphasizes predictive sales forecasting is quickly gaining favor. Predictive analytics addresses the issue in a way with which manual analyses can’t compete. The best predictive models project the revenue that the current pipeline will yield by determining which deals will close, and when. Then these models go a step further by projecting the revenue derived from deals that companies haven’t yet identified. Predictive analytics can also dig into data hidden in our customer emails to predict the likelihood to close. It may also employ your customers’ data which includes their personas, browsing history, shopping behavior and more. It’s all information that can help forecast their future actions and help you understand their journey.
According to Jim Keenan, president and CEO of ASalesGuy.com, a good marketing executive knows what his company’s pipeline looks like, but sales needs to work with marketing to create and maintain accurate forecasting. “And sales has to know what marketing’s goals are. If marketing’s measurements don’t translate to real dollars, they shouldn’t be considered winners. One team can’t fail while the other is successful.”
The fundamental goal of improving forecasted close rates is to do a better job of understanding the buyer and their buying process. Wishful thinking is not a good sales strategy. Data guides forecasting, increasing accuracy and helping salespeople put their effort toward deals that have a better chance of closing.
No Standardized Sales Process Steps
Maps: they ensure you know where you’re going and how long it takes to get there. When it comes to your company’s sales process, mapping may be the most effective way to make sure that each and every step of that process is identified and clarified from beginning to end. Determining the stages in your company’s sales process, how to handle critical handoffs, and identifying places for different departments to collaborate are all part of building a predictable and effective sales process. A sales cycle doesn’t involve just sales; the entire company should be involved in creating it, from start to finish.
With an organization-wide understanding of your process mapping, your company can better collaborate across all departments to achieve sales goals and objectives. The end result will be a repeatable process that leads to more closed deals and healthier customer relationships.