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Twilight recap on Pimp Your Sales Process and Profits

Last week guest presenter Paul O’Donohue, Managing Director of sales consultancy Sales STAR, gave a presentation on how sales and marketing professionals can grow sales and how customer relationship management (CRM) solutions can support this objective.

Paul O'Donohue presenting Pimp Your Sales Process and Profits


With the current Global Financial Crisis still lingering, maximising all opportunites is just as important as it was yesterday. What’s more, our customers are becoming increasingly knowledgable as they quickly adopt and embrace the world wide web. As Paul says the internet is ‘evening the playing field’ amongst competitors.

Paul gave us an insight into his experiences behind sales processes and how CRM plays a major role in ensuring you get the best out of your selling. He highlighted that a CRM system alone is not the silver bullet if you don’t have a robust sales process configured into your system. Without configuration, staff become frustrated because the system’s not intuitive, it doesn’t work with their sales process and they end up not using it.

What if you don’t have a sales process? If you don’t, you’re not alone: 90% of businesses do not have a clearly articulated sales process. Paul discussed the importance of having a sales process: “Activity correlates with sales and you need to see the effectiveness of each step, especially if you want to get the most out of sales and your CRM system.”

Sales Process and CRM

Paul took us through his selling process/strategy and how to integrate these steps into CRM, through his sport analogy of a baseball field. “Having everyone singing from the same script will help you manage the selling process. Many salespeople are still fixated on one outcome,” as he puts it “counting the dead and wounded, instead of measuring whats happening on the battle front.”

Selling has taken on a new light moving from a ‘features and benefits’ focus to more of a customer-centric strategy. Paul emphasised the importance of sales professionals’ ability to ‘ask’ questions. Rather than focussing on the features and benefits of a solution – customers do not always see the difference between yours and a competitor’s. Aquiring a ‘suspect’ and quoting is where many salespeople go wrong.

“Sales usually goes straight to the solution and dollar amount, without asking questions about their current needs and issues – known as ‘showing up and throwing up’ – which ends up leaving the customer disengaged. By building rapport, finding out compelling needs and commiting to finding a solution helps you better understand your customer and what they need, along with allowing them to do the same.”

Visual sales process - baseball field

Another problem encountered in many selling processes are the touchpoints that it takes to aquire a suspect. On average it has been suggested that it take 7-12 attempts to acquire one customer and most sales professionals give up after three attempts. Recording this in CRM not only keeps track of your leads but how many you go through before aquiring one suspect. This is especially helpful for Sales Managers.

Once acquiring a suspect, a CRM system can use workflows to trigger activities to remind you about where you are witihin a sales process. According to Paul, “you can’t remember everything and CRM can help you better manage these relationships. Building relationships with your suspects is number one, especially when it comes to follow-ups.

“When you have numerous customers it’s sometimes hard to keep track of what’s going on. To avoid becoming a ‘serial stalker’ or forgetting to followup, CRM can ensure this happens in a timely manner.”

No more quoting and hoping

All steps in the sales process can be configured into CRM and to avoid the ‘quote and hope’ scenario, which can waste a lot of time. Sales managers can put in place a criteria for quotes. For example, ensuring all decision makers have been liased with, the customer is committed to finding a solution and the question ‘whats your budget?’ has been asked are important before quoting and can be a big time saver in the long run.

Paul also discussed the responsibility of the sales manager and how CRM can help them ensure their team are on top of things. 80% of a sales managers job should be training and support. If a sales manager has more than 12 in a team it’s difficult for them to coach them all and encouraging ‘self made’ salespeople is not considered best practice. Having a sales process that all your sales professionals adhere to will help sales managers see where sales are going right and where they are going wrong, saving yourself and your team time.

Sales effectiveness


A CRM solution such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM can help to systemise your sales process and let you see what activity results in sales being achieved, how effective salespeople are, and who needs coaching and mentoring. Having your KPI’s in CRM will also help push through the sales process and drive sales behaviour.

Summing up, everyone would love a crystal ball to predict the future when it comes to sales. Unfortunately we don’t and by keeping track of your sales process is the closest you’ll get to ensuring you’re working in the most successful way. Configuring the sales process into a CRM solution will help you better manage your sales and make the most of your opportunities.

You can see Paul's presentation slides below.

Posted by: Rose Harris, Marketing Assistant | 11 November 2011

Tags: CRM, Twilight recap

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