Last week, I wrote part 1 of this 2-part blog post article about what kind of substance there is between sales managers and salespeople. The conclusion was that there is often nothing of significant substance.

First, there was the typical revenue targets, which are important, but not enough by themselves to improve sales efforts across an organization.

Second, there were “stories”. When the manager asks “how’s it going” in a very general way, then any answer that sounds good will do. The only thing worse than a low benchmark is none at all.

What’s missing here is the substance of selling; the stuff that the salespeople should be doing to get to a sale. As readers of this blog and my books well know, we’re talking about a metrics based sales process that has been customized for each salesperson.

Why is this so important for effective sales management and the growth of a sales organization? When salespeople are clear about what steps they need to take to get a sale, and managers are also clear about those steps, then discussions about those steps can (and should) be the substance of the sales manager / salesperson relationship.

When a sales process is well developed and agreed on, sales managers can discuss lead sources, prospecting methods and efforts, qualification issues, needs analysis, proposals, objections, negotiations and closing with respect to individual opportunities.

They can also discuss the opportunities in aggregate, otherwise known and pipeline. They can work with salespeople on the parts of their pipelines that are disproportionately full or empty – a great indicator for coaching needs:

  • Lots of proposals and not enough deals might be a needs analysis or qualification problem, or maybe the wrong leads are being targeted.
  • Not enough proposals might be a problem related to prospecting efforts, methods or tactics.
  • Excessive discounting might indicate a problem with needs analysis and value creation, or negotiation.

You get the point.

These are substantial sales issues that an experienced manager can help the salesperson with, but only if they have the information from which to do so.

A well developed and customized, metrics based sales process is the source of that information. It is the tool that can get sales management efforts beyond the empty and far too typical “So how’s it going, and did you hit your numbers” weak effort that most managers make, and which keeps most sales organizations from growing to their full potential.

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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