In this post, I take the discussion a step further by talking about validation of the sales process. After all, if your sale process isn’t valid, if it doesn’t reflect the way your sales team should be pursuing opportunities, or if it doesn’t engender confidence about opportunities in the pipeline, then it really doesn’t matter if the salesforce uses it or not.
There are several ways to validate a sales process, and the one I can speak to most effectively is the methodology we use here at Richardson when creating a customized and dynamic process for clients. Over four to six weeks, we collaboratively work through a multiphase methodology:
- Phase 1: Data Collection – We begin by meeting with the company’s top performers, sales leaders, and other stakeholders who can provide insights into the sales or account management cycle.
- Phase 2: Development of the Branded Sales Process – We develop a customized sales process that aligns with the company’s sales cycle and buying patterns, and we map it out in a matrix that identifies specific accountabilities.
- Phase 3: Validation and KPI Phase – We validate the sales process itself with line stakeholders in a workshop setting, honing and finalizing the methodology and then transferring accountability to internal champions.
- Phase 4: Executive Review – We conduct a session with company leaders to gain full buy-in and commitment, raising their support in modeling the common language and process for sales and reinforcing accountability.
- Phase 5: Operationalizing the Sales Process – We identify the elements of the company’s talent lifecycle that the sales process touches, including sales performance management, selection and hiring, skills training, onboarding, integration with CRM, branding, and marketing of the process, among other interventions, in order to successfully operationalize the sales process and accelerate adoption.
What this entire process does is validate the assumptions, methodology, culture fit, and commitment around the sales process. Going through each phase allows Richardson to tap the expertise of senior leaders and top-performing sales professionals, introduce best practices, and construct a process that can be embedded into daily practice, providing the right guidance to both sales professionals and sales leaders.
With such a process, companies learn to focus on the few tangible things that really matter in order to gain insight into the accuracy and quality of sales forecasts. Verifiable outcomes at each stage provide leading indicators of customer engagement, allowing sales professionals and their managers to make significant changes in results while also building greater confidence in the pipeline and, ultimately, business results.