Top 12 Questions to Ask Yourself About Sales Process

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jun 14, 2011 @ 11:06 AM

Today I worked with a group of salespeople from different companies and when I asked how many of them followed a formal sales process only 2 people raised their hands.  That's even worse than Objective Management Group's statistics about sales process.  The statistics show that 91% of the salespeople assessed to date did not have/follow a structured sales process.  And the two who did raise their hand?  They claimed that their process was 20 steps!  Who can remember that?

A bigger issue is that most people don't understand the difference between sales process and sales methodology.

A customized, optimized, formal sales process includes the sequence of steps, to-do's, milestones and goals that must be achieved during a sales cycle.

A sales methodology is the approach one takes to execute those steps.

For instance, using a few well-known companies and brands:

  • Huthwaithe's SPIN Selling is a methodology.  
  • Miller-Heiman's Strategic Selling is a methodology.  
  • Kurlan's Baseline Selling has both a process and a methodology.  
  • Sandler Training is a methodology.

Another way of looking at this is to use construction or engineering where the blueprint represents the strategy.  The particular steps that each engineer or contractor follows to execute their part of that blueprint is their process.  And I promise, the process is not a seat of the pants, wing it, trial and error approach.  "Hey, let's skip the forms on this foundation and pour the concrete without them - it might be faster that way!"  Or, "Let's skip the moldings because these people are in a hurry and they might not notice.  Let's just plaster to the edge of the windows and doors!"

Then each of those contractors has a methodology or approach, the way electricians run and install wiring and connect them to the power source, outlets and switches; the way plumbers cut, solder and install piping; the way back-hoe operators excavate and finish the property, the way the plasterers prepare and plaster the walls and ceilings. In each of those cases, they have a proven method to get the job completed correctly each time.

So here are some questions for you to answer about your sales force as it relates to process:

  • Is there a sales process?
  • Has it been customized?
  • Has it been formalized and structured?
  • Has it been optimized?
  • Is it legacy?
  • Does everyone follow it?
  • Does everyone speak the language of your process?
  • Is it referenced as a context for coaching sessions?
  • Can your salespeople identify where they are by simply naming a step?
  • Is it integrated into your CRM software?
  • Is it integrated with your pipeline?
  • Is the pipeline routinely reviewed and restaged according to the criteria for each step of the process?

If you can't answer yes to all of those questions, you aren't yet in a position to shorten your sales cycle, improve the effectiveness of your coaching and accelerate your revenue growth.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Baseline Selling, sales process, sales methodology, sales training, sales management, SPIN Selling, Strategic Selling, Sandler Training

SPIN Selling and Miller Heiman Compared to Baseline Selling

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Apr 28, 2006 @ 03:04 AM

 
Baseline SellingA reader asked me about my book, Baseline Selling - How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball, and how it compares with SPIN Selling and Miller Heiman's Strategic Selling. Both books - SPIN Selling AND Strategic Selling are good; but neither of them are selling systems or processes.

Baseline Selling covers four points in the evolution of an opportunity within the selling process: first base (suspect), second base (prospect), third base (qualified) and home (closable). SPIN is a questioning process that can be mapped onto Baseline Selling and the entire process takes place between first and second base. Most of the concepts in Strategic Selling take place in the on-deck circle and between second base and third base. So, while neither of them are complete processes, both qualify as methodologies or approaches.

The 2nd topic we can explore is how applicable they are to your business. As good as SPIN is, most salespeople simply can't replicate it. It's just too difficult. So Baseline Selling has a simple questioning process that anyone can do - right out of the book! As good as Strategic Selling is, it isn't tactical. In other words, it's a book on strategy but it doesn't explain with detailed examples of dialog how to execute the strategy. Baseline Selling takes only a few pages to explain the four steps and the remaining 213 pages are devoted to tactics - how to get around the bases. Is Baseline Selling for you? Most sales development experts think so!

[Updated - This short video shows a much better comparison of SPIN, Solution Selling and the Challenger to Baseline Selling]

 

(c) Copyright 2006 Objective Management Group, Inc

Topics: Dave Kurlan, top sales books, Baseline_Selling, SPIN Selling, Strategic Selling

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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