Selling can be one of the hardest things entrepreneurs have to learn, but taking small steps can have large rewards.

Make Your Sales Process Easy with These Steps

Selling can be one of the hardest things entrepreneurs have to learn, but taking small steps can have large rewards.

Staff Writer

If your sales process is convoluted and needlessly complex, there can be real problems. Your sales team may be frustrated. Morale and infighting can be an issue. Time and other resources may be wasted or misused.

By reengineering the sales process so that it is simplified, and streamlined you can improve ROI, and ultimately your bottom line. The following 4 tips contain action steps that you can take to make this happen.

1. Insist on a Disciplined Approach

Does your organization encourage competitiveness among your sales teams? Are top producers rewarded with cash, time off or other perks? This can be a great source of motivation. Unfortunately, it can also cause sales staff to ‘go rogue’ in the pursuit of closing more deals. They may cut corners, pursue leads outside of standard sources, etc.

While these actions may result in a particular sales person’s success, they can hurt the organization overall. For example, it’s hard to track the effectiveness of lead generation or follow up with potential customers when someone has deviated from established methodologies. Considering that over 50 percent of sales managers view lead generation challenges as a primary source of sales execution issues, this is a real issue.

Make the authorized sales process clear. Then, make any reward dependent upon the sales person’s willingness to work within the system, not outside of it.

2. Get Sales Customer Service And Marketing Together

While they may exist in different business areas, these three departments all have access to information that can help one another. By sharing data and insights on customer complaints, commonly asked questions, issues, and content, sales team members can do their jobs more effectively and efficiently.

This can be accomplished in part by scheduling regular communication between these teams. It may also be necessary to modify policies regarding data access as well. Dave Batt, CEO of FPX says, “More than anything else, customer experience drives sales and loyalty. When members of an organization share information that helps to improve customer experience, everybody benefits.”

3. Prioritize Training

The sales process becomes much simpler when it is second nature. This requires training. New sales staff must undergo effective training, that includes means to verify that they are truly grasping what they are learning. In fact, new hire productivity goes up by 54 percent in organizations that have effective onboarding programs. Training is an important part of this. This must then be followed up with refresher courses, training meetings, and evaluations.

In addition to prioritizing training, action must also be taken to ensure that training is effective and up to date. This means collecting and analyzing relevant data. Sales staff should also be given a way to provide meaningful feedback on the effectiveness of training initiatives.

4. Ensure That The Sales Team is The Right Team

Your sales process is only as effective as the members of your sales team. If you have underperformers, staff that is overworked, or folks who are simply in the wrong roles that’s an issue. How you should handle that depends on the exact situation you are facing.

In some cases, adding staff is the solution. Shifting responsibilities and roles is something that more than one manager has done to ensure that the team is successful. Then, there is the unfortunate action, termination, that may need to be taken when someone consistently underperforms and shows no willingness or ability to improve. In any organization, employee happiness is impacted by the perception (or lack of) that everyone is doing their job and pulling their weight. This is important as happy sales people are 37 pecrent more productive.

By implementing these tips, you can help to assure that your sales processes are easy to understand, that your team is adequately trained, and that you maximize your resources. The combination of these things should result in improved sales as well as increased satisfaction within the ranks of your sales department.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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