Tweaking how you sell isn’t an option when changes are happening so rapidly. The habits people have and what they are tuned into continues to shift.
I try to keep my pulse on what works and one of the odd perspectives I experience with systems I have set up or clients I have worked with is how approaches feel dated quickly. When I look back on work that may have been done, there’s always something new that has replaced what may have made sense in the past.
The world is a dynamic place and a tool today or approach that worked before can quickly become displaced.
So, take these tweaks as a snapshot to consider for today. It may look completely different in a year. Thus, it’s always better to focus on agility than the holy grail system that will last.
1. Don’t Focus On Closing
That’s right, the old mantra about “Always be closing,” is a turn-off and premature. When people have infinite choice now, they can sidestep aggressive approaches.
Closing will happen, but the tweak should be around engagement rather than closing. Assuming your sales process works pretty well, it would be best to slow it down and focus on filling your pipeline of engagement. This means getting people into a conversation and interested in the first place. That is gold today because we can so easily shift our attention.
Focus on building relationships and allowing conversation to occur. You have to become a resource and advisor and focus more on your customer than your own quota, of course. It’s more of an emphasis on process. But if you do it right, then you end up tuning in and becoming relevant. Aggressive closing gets ignored quickly.
2. Create Frameworks Not Rules
If you are too structured or automated then your well-intentioned messaging and follow up will be ignored. With engagement the focal point should be on allowing two human beings to be, well, human.
If your sales team is constrained by how they should sell rather than how to connect, then you are relying too much on rules rather than people.
This may mean empowering your team with more control on setting their follow up activities. Or making it convenient to use, revise and share resources shedding the corporate speak.
Thus, tweaks to a system may need to occur with a paradigm shift towards individual productivity rather than management control.
Shift the control and allow your talented salespeople to make good human decisions according to each relationship they are intimate with. Remove the rules that inhibit this.
3. Redefine Your Pipeline
Conventional sales processes focus on pipeline management based on who you are talking to and seeing those deals roll up in a CRM system’s management report.
However, buying occurs far before a salesperson necessarily makes contact. Your pipeline likely includes people that are unseen buyers who are interacting with your content and systems. It’s more of a self-service channel that is preferable for decision makers ruminating on options.
Take a broader look at how you manage your pipeline and forecasting. Make it more continuous. You may need to look at your pipeline differently but there is some continuum and measure of engagement that should be captured.
Be sure to keep focused on the size of the front end of your sales process and understand the conversion ratios. It will help in your planning and investment of your resources to drive larger forecasts.
Again, you will likely have to tweak your sales process again over time. That is a good thing. It means you are staying tuned into what works and continuing to build on your successes.
A conventional sales process or coaching is a great place to start, but don’t consider it gospel over the long term. It simply won’t fit and the world can leave you behind as buyer behaviors continue to shift.
What else can you tweak?