This is an excerpt from my second book, Managing the Sales Process, available on Amazon.com. You can find a series of these excerpts in a dedicated blog category to get a broad overview, post-by-post, of the book (they are listed in reverse order in the category, so start with the oldest).

From Chapter 2 – The Right Skills: Relationship Management

If existing customers are considered the best source of leads, then relationship management brings us full circle back to lead management. How a salesperson stays on top of past customers can be a huge driver of future business. Too many salespeople simply wait for their past customers to order again and to order the same thing they always did. What they forget is that competitors may be calling with lots of enthusiasm, new solutions, thorough needs analysis, and solution proposals. One of these competitors eventually is going to seem like a better option than the guy who just waits for the next order to come in.

Talk to your prospective salespeople about how they manage relationships with past customers. Listen for specifics. Ask your existing salespeople the same thing, and look for patterns in the pipeline across many different salespeople to see who is not getting as much repeat business as their peers. A salesperson is foolish to ignore this source of new business, but that doesn’t stop it from happening. Ask about it, and make sure that the answers are detailed and enthusiastic.

As with most of the other steps discussed in this chapter, you will know if your prospective salespeople are really engaged with relationship management by the level of detail in which they discuss how they went about this required sales success skill in the past. Your existing salespeople will demonstrate these skills in the way that they operate in their daily work. In both cases, the sales process is the framework within which these skills should be discussed by prospective salespeople, executed by existing salespeople, and monitored, evaluated, and managed by sales managers.

CHAPTER 2 CONCLUSION
The focus in the rest of the book will move away from the individual salesperson to the sales organization as a whole. Having looked at sales skills through the lens of the sales process, let’s now consider the sales process through the lens of organizational structure, accountability, and management to see how a well- developed and managed sales process can and should be the heart of a well-run, effective sales organization.

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Authors note (AKA shameless plugs)

So, this 7-step sales process and associated topics…. Yup, I write about that a lot. I’ve been working with it since I developed it about 25 years ago – in my own diverse work experiences, with my teams when I had them, and with clients ever since.

If you would like to develop you own personalized and customized, highly effective and efficient B2B selling system, here are some further steps you can take:

The Salesman’s Guide to Dating is a free or very cheap (depending on Amazon) Kindle book that walks you through the sales process using the familiar analogy of dating. It’s a good, fun and quick way to get your mind around the whole process and how the pieces fit together.

Building Your Sales Process (BYSP) is a free and very thorough exploration of the same 7-step process that will walk you through the development of your own customized, personal B2B selling system. When you are done, you will know exactly what to do to get new business.

The Momentum Selling System® is an inexpensive but very robust online sales training course that is similar to BYSP, but goes deeper into the concepts behind each of the steps, and also helps you develop a plan not only for the 7-step process but also addresses mindset, repeat business and client base management.

If none of that sounds right, I do personal coaching and offer a free 30-minute intake session so that we can both learn if it makes sense to work together 1-on-1. If this sounds interesting, click over to the coaching page on this site and sign up for the free session.

Here’s to your success!

-David