How Often Should I Update My Sales Process?
A struggling sales process is like a boat with a leak. It’s slowly impacting you and your team, but unless you’re actively looking for a problem you won’t find one until it’s too late.
So, if you’re looking to keep your company afloat, you should patch up holes every so often, but it can be hard to when you should do so. If you check too often, you’re wasting resources trying to seek out a problem that might not be there. If you don’t check often enough, you’ll miss out on potential wins for your company.
While I wish I could give you a schedule that tells you when to update your sales process, it’s not a consistent process. For some quarters, your sales process will be fine. Others, you won’t be able to take advantage of some great opportunities for your company. So, if you’re wondering how often you should update your sales process, there are a few actions you can take to find that schedule for yourself.
Take a closer look at the data.
Sales stats and market trends are just one big puzzle that you can put together to find any answer to your questions. The only issue is, sometimes you can find solutions within five minutes, and other times you have to crack the Da Vinci Code just for your team to meet their sales goals.
The point is, if something’s wrong, take a look at your team’s sales reports. You might not find the answer right away, but there are a few key details to look out for.
For example, your sales team should be getting better and better over time. So, if your team is flatlining for three quarters in a row, or their sales are plummeting, it might be something you should look into. Try looking at their sales funnel, and see which stages they’re losing the most prospects in, then go from there.
But, for a more direct answer, you should ask them yourself.
Talk to your sales reps.
Your sales reps are the ones on the frontlines, battling it out with your clients (hopefully not literally, that could lead to quite a few lawsuits). So, if you need to update your sales process, they’ll be the first ones to know.
Set up a bi-weekly, or monthly meeting to talk about strategy going forward. What’s working with your sales process? Which areas leave something to be desired? Who keeps microwaving fish in the break-room, and can they please stop?
Try to figure out any way that your sales process is holding your reps back from landing a sale, because they’re the ones that have to use it. Even a small detail could unravel a wide range of problems that lay just under the surface. Maybe you’re rushing prospects into a sale when they’re not ready, or you finally learn who keeps using that dang microwave to re-heat their halibut.
Listen to your prospects.
No one’s better at telling you that your sales process sucks than your prospects. Most of them won’t normally say it to your face (there are a few jerks out there), but you need to hear things from their side of the story.
Set up an interview with them. You can offer a gift card, a company t-shirt, or a free microwave (killing two birds with one stone). Ask them why they weren’t interested in making a purchase, and what your team could have done better. They might not be able to give you specific answers that will immediately solve your problems, but any information you can get from them is valuable.
By listening to your prospects, you can find ways that your sales process could be better in the future, and give your other prospects a more enticing offer.
Stay ahead of your company’s growth plan.
Your sales process could be working just fine. You’re bringing in clients at the same rate you have been for the last year, and everything’s going smoothly. But, if your company has more lofty goals than “doing nothing to improve,” then you might need to step up your game a bit.
I’m not telling you to just “do better,” but if your CEO is looking to scale their business year after year, you need to have a plan for meeting their expectations. So, if your sales process is saved on a company laptop that’s still running Windows Vista, you might want to change up your strategy.
Look for certain checkpoints in your company’s growth goals, and see if your sales process is up to speed. If your team’s performance is lacking, or they’re falling behind, you’re going to want to update your sales process to fix these issues. Unless you want to be the one to tell the higher-ups that “it’s not possible with our current sales plan.”
You have the tools to switch up your team’s sales techniques, so barring some emergency, you should never have to fall behind.
Always look for ways to improve.
You don’t need to stay on top of your sales process at all hours of the day. That’ll just lead to headaches and gray hairs. But, if something’s off in your data, or your team notices something’s not working, give your sales process a quick check-up. If you can pinpoint these problems before they become an issue, you can keep your sales team at peak performance, and save money on Tylenol in the long run.