Before I start any new sale, there a few basic items that I always have:
1) a repeatable sales process
2) have a playbook
3) contingency plans
Every top sales organization leverages a sales process (but that is roughly only 10% of sales organizations out there). There are many training organizations out there that help organizations to implement their sales process. Even sales force automation tools enable default or customer sales processes to be implemented to enable consistent use of sales processes. Personally I do find these very valuable as a sales rep and as a sales manager. In simple terms, a sales process is a systematic approach involving a series of steps that enables a sales force to close more deals, increase margins and make more sales through referrals”. Put differently: it provides your sales people with a map and a GPS for winning each deal. A sales process consistently guides salespeople toward the right activity throughout each and every opportunity. Studies have shown that sales executives who follow a sales process have a 48% higher win rate that those who do not. However, a sales process is not the same as a sales playbook.
Playbooks are not terribly different for a sales executive than that for a head football coach. A sales book combines content and tools to a sales process. The sales process dictates when we should engage in a workshop, which is a tool in the playbook. Together, these greatly improve a sales executives odds of winning.Playbooks provide this critical information. They also provide relevant content (for example, white papers or case studies) and tools (such as email templates, important questions or other software tools). Simply put, playbooks give sales people everything they need to follow your best practice sales process at every step of every opportunity.
Contingency planning allows the sales executive to be prepared for most scenarios, at each step of the sales process. Lets say your client has agreed to go to contracts after you demonstrate the solution. During the demo, the client gets cold feet and decides to deviate from this agreed upon path and asks for one more reference. Are you prepared for this scenario? Do you have a response ready or a reference prepared?
One theme you will notice to successful selling here in this blog is preparedness. Successful sales executives over prepare. This is one consistent trait I have found in the top sales people I have interacted with in my time.