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by David Houston David Houston on April 20, 2016

3 Signs of a Broken Sales Process (and How to Fix It)

It's time to revamp your sales process when you notice these three telltale signs.

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Ever play Guess the Picture as a kid? You know, that game where you look at an image super close up, and try to guess what it is. Some of them were pretty tough, right? You had to zoom out to figure out what it was. And almost every time, you’d slap your forehead and say duh! Because the answer was so obvious. 20/20 hindsight…

That’s kind of what it’s like when you’ve been using the same sales process for too long. You know something isn’t working right because your reps are missing quotas and your numbers are stagnant. But you are too close to the process to see the problems with it.

If only sales leaders could learn to identify some of the telltale signs of a broken sales process, they’d stand a fighting chance at fixing it! 

Here are 3 of the most common signs of a broken sales process, and how you can fix the problem to increase sales:

1. Sales and Marketing Constantly Blame Each Other

If your sales and marketing departments are still pointing fingers at one another and can’t seem to get on the same page — this is a giant, flailing red flag that’s screaming, broken sales process!

As in the analogy above, both teams need a full picture of the buyer’s journey to meet their performance goals. And this isn’t achievable unless they are talking to one another and regularly sharing lead intelligence.

The Fix: A Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Step one to sales and marketing alignment is getting both teams to agree to some terms. A Service Level Agreement is a contract between sales and marketing that uses a mutually understood language to:

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Establish goals

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Create mutual understanding around key definitions (e.g. what is a SQL, or MQL)

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Outline expectations for lead flow and lead management

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Identify and take ownership of specific responsibilities

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Agree on shared KPIs and metrics

Both teams should fully understand and agree with the terms laid out in the SLA, and should sign the document to illustrate their commitment to the contract. Learn more about how to draft a SLA here.

 

2. Your Sales Reps Have Revolted Against Using the CRM

This seems to be one of the most common pain points for organizations today. Sales leaders totally understand the benefits of using a CRM, so much so that they take the time to purchase a solution and work it into their sales process. But reps either use it haphazardly or don’t use it at all.

The Fix: Change Your Perspective

It’s easy to respond to this type of complacency with frustration. But instead, try looking at CRM adoption from your sales reps’ point of view. Maybe they aren’t comfortable with new technology and require some hand holding. Maybe the CRM has created new challenges for them, and this overrides the value they should see in using it. It’s also important to remember that a CRM showcases every success and every “failure” (for lack of a better word). It forces sales reps to be a little vulnerable, and leaders should meet this side effect with a little compassion.

Talk to your reps. Find out what has turned them off about the solution and offer ways to make their experience better. It might be incentivizing the adoption process with contests and prizes. It might be offering additional training. Either way, let them know you hear them.

 

3. Reps Aren't Working Enough Warm Leads

With the amount of data at our fingertips today, there’s really no reason for a sales rep to ever make a cold call/introduction. And yet, many sales reps are still relying on purchased lists to generate leads, or they’re prospecting based on a person’s LinkedIn job title.

The Fix: Focus on What People Do, Not Who They Are

Has the person ever visited your website? What pages are they looking at? Are they on your email contact list and have they ever opened an email campaign? These are all questions that are easily answered when your sales reps use their CRM solution properly. Additionally, they should be using prospecting tools like Sidekick to streamline lead intelligence. Finally, sales leaders would be wise to start training their fleet on the fine art of sales enablement.

Sales enablement is an entire strategy that hinges on sales and marketing alignment to “enable” sales reps to have the right conversation at the right time with the right person. When done correctly, it’s an effective way to settle the score between the two departments and increase sales.

 

There you have it — a few red flags to keep your eye on. Need help getting sales and marketing to work better together so your sales process can improve? Consider working with a sales alignment consultant, who can help fix all three of the above sales process problems. 

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David Houston

Written by David Houston

David’s 30 years of marketing experience bring valuable insight into every aspect of a company’s marketing approach. He naturally sees the bigger picture and has a strategic approach to marketing that is laser-focused on measurably growing his clients’ businesses.

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