Why Fixing Your Sales Process Is The Wrong Business Initiative.

When something doesn't feel right in our business we usually start to think first about sales.

And if sales doesn't work right we begin to think about the sales process.

It's our first reaction.

What are the sales guys doing? And why is it not working? Frankly, why aren't they working?

That's our natural reaction when we aren't getting the results in our businesses that we expect.

And while the sales process is key to generating large, reproducible amounts of revenue that grow your business, fixing the sales process doesn't deserve as much attention as we give it. Especially when the results aren't what we would expect.

Unlike some other productivity tweaks and workflow improvements, the results of improving what sales people actually do aren't all that impressive.

  1. At the very best, the existing process is so inexcusably poor that your improvements will yield short term dramatic results but likely fail to deliver long term growth.
  2. Most likely, the existing process is only marginally less effective than the improvements you make -- meaning you tweaking the sales process will yield few positive results and might cause sales people to stumble in acquiring new customers.

It isn't really improvement.

Trying to fix what you already have isn't a solution that produces lasting change.

So what is?

If looking at the sales process isn't the key to long-term sustainable business growth, what changes things?

  1. Bold leadership.  -- No amount of sales process change can equal the inspirational nitrous of a leader who has a mission.  You can't replace motivation with a better sales process. Eventually, the sales people take their orders from the guy at the top.  Without leadership they just go to the motions. And the motions never really get you more than half-ass business growth in the first place.
  2. Being different.  -- Looking at your competitors for what they're doing and then applying a similar process that you can systematize and automates as much as possible, is a flawed strategy.  You just standing out from the crowd can present a significant marketing advantage to you. Heck, you'll be a lot more creative
  3. Better culture.  -- Things happen for reason. Business people act because of how they see other people act. Sales people do what gets rewarded.  A better sales process doesn't fix a bad culture. And that starts at the top. It's not just the leadership of the Chief Executive Officer.  It's the mindset of the entire management team.
  4. Encouraging screw ups. -- Having sales executives that make mistakes and learn from them isn't an accident. Frankly, we ned more screw-ups on our team. Encouraging mistakes -- encouraging sales people to try new things -- is key to sales people staying motivated and attracting the type of customers that we want to do business with. Instead of counting the number of times sales people get it right, maybe you should start looking at the number of lessons your sales people gain by getting it wrong.
  5. The right attitude.  -- No amount of right actions can rival the right attitudes. It's not even a fair comparison.  And yet we rarely take the time to cultivate the right mindsets in our sales people.  And so we lose out on the brilliance that a creative attitude delivers.  Instead of making sure your team follows the right seven steps, it's a better plan to make sure they have the right motivation.  Everything else you want comes behind that.

You can spend your time tweaking what people do or invest in the ideology that propels your organization forward.

It's easy to think that actions matter.

And they do.

But they don't matter most.