24 Oct 2013 6:00 AM Over 5,000 sales leaders shared their biggest obstacles during SBI’s 7th Annual Sales Research Study. “Sales process execution” was stated as one of those. It had surfaced as a bigger execution gap than years past. The sales force is trying harder to execute and not seeing a return. While execution matters, if you have a dated sales process, you will not generate a result. Today’s informed, socially connected buyers do not respond to traditional selling methods. This is a misalignment with the buyer. What options do you have? Stay the course and run a play that doesn’t work. Embrace the fact that buyers have changed. You need to respond with a modern sales process. The Modernized Sales Process World class sales leaders have gone to an Agile Sales Process. Agile is an approach borrowed from the software development industry. Imagine rolling out a new product and never testing it. Agile is built on the same philosophy. It is focused on speed and flexibility. The focus is on the transfer of knowledge and adapting to a rapidly changing buyer environment. You must build your sales process for change not a static moment in time. It is focused on customers and built by the team. Here is how: The modern approach to sales process is to build a custom sales process using the following 5 steps: Buying Process Creation – Begin with a Buying Process Map to understand how your customer makes a purchase decision. It is customized to the market segment, product and buying persona. Your goal is to come up with a working prototype. Read my previous blog post on this topic, “Mapping Your Buyers Journey to Hit Your Sales Goals”. Field Testing - The prototype is tested in the field by a select group of sales reps. Alter the prototype using feedback from sales reps actually using it in the field. Leadership Validation and Testing - After field testing, the prototype moves to the leadership team for validation and testing. Leadership will need to train, coach and drive adoption of the sales process. Before that, they need to see for themselves that it works. General Release - At this step, the sales process is launched to the rest of the sales force. Launch is facilitated and training conducted by the sales leadership team. Adoption - Sales Process is not a onetime training event. It is a program that requires persistent reinforcement. By the time a seller asks the majority of the sales force to use the sales process, it has already been used and tested by members of the field and leadership team. This dramatically increases the likelihood the sales process is adopted. The sales team now views sales process as a system that is always changing. They are expecting modifications from V1 to V2 to V3 as the buyer changes. They become more nimble and more adaptive to change. The research from our study shows that Custom Sales Process works. The summary of the findings show companies with Custom Sales Process realize: • 33% higher win rates • 20% shorter sales cycles • More than 6X higher probability of success • 51% less time to result • 19% greater quota attainment with multiple sales processes than a single sales process Give your sales force an adaptive sales process aligned to the buyer. Call to Action To see before and after results from companies who implemented an Agile Sales Process, register to review the Annual Sales Research here. In addition, if you would like to download a copy of our recent research and learn more about the latest release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, please register for the Global Premiere Event, live from Barcelona, November 4th. Register today!