5 steps to improving your sales process

Do you thrive on speaking to clients and prospects? Are you passionate about your team and company’s sales process? Do you regularly work on it between pitches?

Because if you want better results for your company, this is where you need to channel your energy and emotions – not just on your outcomes.

Your sales process is not only your professional craft but also the key to more deals, more revenue and a more stress-free working life! So, you need less emotional attachment to the outcome and more to the process.

And here’s why…

In sales, you can’t control the outcome. Once you’ve put your best pitch forward, you’re no longer in control of the outcome. You may crave certainty, but this isn’t the reality of commercial deals.

Clients are irrational decision makers. They are human beings who are swayed by everything, from the last thing they read, to their CEO’s opinion or their partner’s mood – factors that are simply out of your control.

And this is tough for us to deal with. We all want certainty. We’re all control freaks at heart (I’m still waiting to meet an out of control freak – someone who would love their Tuesday afternoon to be interrupted by a horse jumping in through the office window).

If you’re focused only on your outcomes, when you get a ‘no’ or lose out to a competitor, this is disheartening. For your team it’s demotivating, and they risk becoming disengaged.

What you can control, is your sales process.

If you have a good process in place and your team’s praised when they execute it well, this will not only encourage good habits, but it will also build resilience for the setbacks.

If you tell someone they’ve done a good job before a negative outcome, then that’s going to maintain their confidence and encourage good performance in the future.

In contrast, someone you manage may not have a good process in place, but they get lucky. They get the deal. But if you haven’t instilled a good process in them, when their luck changes, they won’t be well equipped to handle it.

The key is to measure, improve and praise your sales process, not just your outcomes. This is the bit you can control. So, you need to really put your heart and soul into it. In fact, I’d say you need to fall in love with it.

Here’s how to focus on your process:

Step 1: When you set targets for outcomes, you also need to set targets around the process. Identify the process steps you need to take to reach the desired outcome. For example, if you want more new business, set a target for the number of approaches that need to be made and measure the quality of those approaches.

Step 2: Make sure you have the buy-in from anyone involved so everyone understands that if you crack the process, you’ll get the result. It’s critical they understand the ‘why’ of this and contribute to improving how things are done.

Step 3: Make it a habit to praise people’s execution and effort, regardless of the outcome. If someone has made a high-quality outbound call to a potential prospect, for example, that’s worthy of praise, whether or not they get a sale.

Step 4: Become process focused in your feedback, rather than outcome focused. Routinely ask ‘What went well?’, ‘What went badly?’, ‘What do you want to do differently next time?’, alongside other questions that focus on execution. This will lessen the focus and emotional attachment to the outcome.

Step 5: Have milestones along the way that can be rewarded, especially early on if you’re changing behaviour. This will keep encourage your team to create winning habits.

Need some help?

Sometimes an outside perspective can be beneficial. If you’d like some help improving your sales process, contact us here for an initial discussion.