Imagine that a sales rep from the 1980’s magically transports into a sales team operating today. Perhaps that rep would find fellow salespeople still listening to Journey or Whitney Houston, leaving him to suppose that not a lot has changed. Once this time traveler settles down to work, he will confront CRM tools, Slack chats, emails, text messages, and computerized calendaring. Instantly, it will occur to him just how much things have changed.
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Sales has come a long way, and it’s changing faster than ever. If you’re not keeping up, then you’re falling behind. As a director or a manager, you need to conduct a regular sales process audit to make sure that your team is working at its optimal levels. Below are four critical areas that require regular review.
4 KEY AREAS TO REVIEW IN YOUR SALES PROCESS AUDIT
- WORKFLOW AUTOMATION – When you automate many of the behind-the-scenes processes, you free up time for your salespeople to concentrate on what they do best: selling. Pace Productivity reports that sales professionals often spend just 22% of the work week on sales activities. Smart sales organizations implement automated workflows and processes to free salespeople from the administrative burdens of managing data and manual processes. The right solution can help you get better leads into the sales pipeline, ensure that every lead is followed up, generate insightful reports, and nurture prospects. Technology constantly improves and brings new opportunities for workflow and process automation. Review your solution and options regularly.
- SALES & MARKETING ALIGNMENT – When you get sales and marketing to work together, you start to see real results. In fact, Act-On found that, “56% of aligned organizations met their revenue goals, and 19% beat their goals.” Set up opportunities for collaboration when it comes to content creation, and define a set of shared revenue goals everyone can get behind. Sync CRM and marketing automation data so that both teams can keep an eye on the success of shared initiatives.
- LEAD MANAGEMENT – Lead management is critical to your success. Run an audit to make sure you have covered lead management best practices such as scoring, nurturing, and distribution. Also, take time to review what your sales reps are doing. Are they following the prescribed sales methodology or winging it/doing their own thing? Finally, check out your personas and marketing qualified lead (MQL) and sales qualified lead (SQL) criteria. Are they still relevant? Are they correct?
- CALL TECHNOLOGY – The phone is still at the center of the sales process, and there have been significant advances that your sales organization should embrace. Are you aware that technology can now evaluate and route your next best lead and then dial the contact for you? Did you realize that there are solutions that can pop up a preview of the contact’s information before initiating a call? Did you know you can record calls and link those recordings to contacts’ records? Audit your current calling technology to understand if it integrates with your lead management solution to make every call more efficient and productive. When it comes to the phone, use all the tools at your disposal.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
If your sales are going up, you’re doing it right. If your numbers are going south, then things are not fine. Management measures your team’s success based on close rates and attainment of revenue goals. It’s as simple as that.
Arm yourself with all the data you need and ensure your ability to access that data when you need it. Modern sales platforms like VanillaSoft deliver excellent reports and dashboards on everything from lead management to call success, values of deals, team management and much more. How you visualize those reports can be customized to suit your business and the kinds of information that you need to be monitoring.
The bottom line is that the sales process needs to be well defined and that the opportunities in the sales pipeline are understood. You have to review your sales process regularly. Sales tech blog SalesHacker explains why reviews are so vital, “There are several reasons for regularly auditing your sales process: your company, team, and product or service changes over time; insight and understanding of your customers deepens and matures; and most importantly, regularly auditing your sales process transforms results and is key for business growth.”
SALES AUDIT ACTION PLAN
Start by looking at your complete sales funnel. Map out every single step of the way, and how a prospect should move through the buyer’s journey. Next, decide on how you are going to monitor sales activity — what metrics are most important, and how you want to receive that information?
Your next step is to take a look at your sales team and the ways that reps work with each other and with other departments in your organization. Ensure other departments understand their role, even if indirect, in the customer’s sales experience. Encourage dialogue among departments so salespeople get a first-hand account of typical support and customer service-related issues, product updates and release information coming soon, new marketing programs, and more. This communication also allows your sales team to provide valuable insights to customer service, support, marketing, product management, and other mission-critical departments.
Finally, take a step back and look at your sales efforts and achievements in context of the company’s stated goals. Do you meet more than just revenue goals? Your organization likely has targets for customer satisfaction, customer retention, and more. How well is your team supporting these targets, too?
Our time-traveling sales rep from the 80s may be flabbergasted by the technological changes that have occurred over the past three decades, but he won’t be surprised by the need to continually improve and refine the sales process. Change is the only constant. If things are not working for your salespeople, you have a continuing opportunity to fix issues and improve. Audit your sales process routinely to ensure your sales reps are successful in meeting your sales goals.