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Achieving Organisational Sales Efficiency through Sales Process Optimisation (SPO)

By Percy Chong, 8th January 2015

The illustration identifies all the integral components within the sales machinery of any organisation necessary for to achieve productive sales results!

Sales Process Optimisation therefore looks beyond a single sale process (ie. Prospecting –Approach – Opening – Fact-finding – Closing – Repeats), but into the entire set up of the Sales Division. It explores all the critical functions within the Sales Division in order to achieve sales efficacy for the entire organisation.

The individual functions within the process are:

1)      Sale Process (for a single sale)
2)      Critical Performance Benchmarking
3)      Sales Activity Management Matrix
4)      Sales Leader Competency

1)      Sale Process

The single sale process outlines the steps that any sales person within the organisation will need to follow in order to secure “one” successful sale closed. Even before the sales training may be developed, the sale stages needs to be identified and developed into a process.

Although the sale process may differ from industry to industry, the selling methodology or principle remains fundamentally the same. ASG has developed a generic sale process (ie. PACER Sales Process) to share an idea about the structure and repeatability necessary in connecting the dots for a successful sale experience.

The PACER Sales Process:
· Plan: It is essentially the planning and prospecting (ie. Leads Generation) phase of the sale process. The Sales Plan is drawn out identifying Target Market, Operational Method, Resources available etc. before making the actual sales approach.

· Approach: It is the actual contact (ie. Telephone, face2face, direct mailers/email etc) with the prospects from leads generated in the Plan Phase; with the objective of securing a sales opportunity to present the business case.

· Connect: It is the crucial stage of establishing mutual trust and fostering genuine collaborative relationship; it could happen over a series of meetings (even golf sessions etc). The prospect needs to be genuinely “open” (ie. Trust & Relationship established), before any formal proposal for business should be made.

· Explore: It is the fact-finding process to identify the prospect’s requirements or needs for sales; the scoping of the proposal is very much dependent on the information gathered at this stage. And information gather is dependent on the willingness and openness of the prospect (from a successful Connection Phase).

· Execute: It is the sales closing stage, where the negotiations are done, the contracts are signed and the payment are collected.

· Review: It is the Accounts Management phase where the client’s are followed up regularly and repeat business are captured (ie. Cross-selling/up-selling); Referrals opportunities (ie. Nurturing Centre of Influence) are also developed in this phase.

2)      Critical Performance Benchmarking

The critical performance benchmarks for the entire sale process is defined and developed into a checklist; it is necessary to facilitate a more objective, consistent and standardise approach to evaluating and guiding the sales person’s development (ie. the core selling skills).

However, there is also a need to introduce balance into the Critical Performance Benchmarks. Being able to conduct prospect presentation does not mean it is effective; being able to secure an appointment with prospect does not mean the prospect is of good quality.

These performance benchmarks need to consider both the Quantitative aspect (ie. actual task or deliverables), as well as the Qualitative (ie. actual quality of delivery) measurements.

ASG has developed a performance checklist using the Pacer Sales Process as the reference. 

3)      Sales Activity Management Matrix

With Sales Process and Critical Performance Benchmarks developed, the next important function to Sales Process Optimisation is to track the sales activity or productivity of the sales person. Sales Activity Management Matrix is essentially the activity tracking platform (ie. CRM application), that has been incorporated with the various activity targets.

Without a meaningful daily or weekly activity targets set and tracked, it would be impossible to identify accurately the area of strength or weakness of the sales person; and it will make the introduction of the right solution to fix any problem area difficult. It even makes the identifying of basic attitudinal qualities (ie. discipline, laziness etc) from skill set problems (ie. presentation skills, questioning techniques etc) within the sales person difficult.

Again, ASG has developed a simple Daily Activity Tracker using the humble Excel spreadsheet, to offer insights to the application of Sales Activity Management Matrix.

4)      Sales Leader Competency

Sales Activity Management Matrix and the Sales Leader Competency functions, form the most important components to achieving Sales Process Optimisation (SPO).

With effective execution at the bedrock of all project’s success, it only make sense that the final 2 components of SPO falls back to having competent Sales Leader, who is capable of applying good follow through principles, to make the SPO project take shape and finally achieved the optimal sales results.

Fundamentally, it focuses on getting the right people for the right job. Having the effective recruitment or selection process therefore is the first big step in ensuring the component of Sales Leader Competency is in order. The selection process also goes beyond the selection of right sales leader, but the right sales person as well.

With the right candidate with the right qualities and temperament identified, the investment in the long term development of the sales leader (and sales person) becomes essential, to pick up core selling, training/coaching (skills transfer ability) and management skills, as well as the science behind the SPO.

In the end, it will always fall back to the human element that will drive progress and results. And although Sales Leader Competency appears to be the final function on the SPO flow, it is actually the first obstacle that needs to be tackled to establish a firm foundation for the organisation’s sales efficiency.

Achieving the organisation’s sales efficiency through SPO is therefore, not rocket science. It is the systematic development of crucial pillars within the sales machinery of any organization. The process of optimisation will only start with putting the right person in place, drawing up the right SPO strategies, and executing the plans to institute all key functions effectively until arriving at an optimised result.

Article contributed by Percy Chong (through Asian Sales Guru)
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