CSO Insights Sales Management Optimization Key Trends Analysis surveyed representatives from over 1,700 companies. Respondents identified the type of sales process their company adopted. The survey revealed that the largest percentage of companies, 39.7%, fell into the Level 2, Informal Process category. These numbers speak volumes. Here’s why.
Level 2 – Informal Sales Process
Your company exposes your salespeople to an informal sales process. This is often based on tribal wisdom from past selling efforts. Many companies recommend its use. Actual adoption is neither monitored nor measured by sales management. This is a huge problem.
The report goes on to say the following. “In Level 2 firms, the salespeople have been exposed to a loosely defined sales process so there is the potential for some common ground and language for how reps sell. In this type of sales culture, reps may make adjustments to the process unbeknownst to the managers. When this occurs, management’s ability to be effective coaches and mentors is reduced.”
That last sentence says a lot. It identifies at least part of the reason that just a little over 50% of salespeople in Level 2, Informal Process companies meet their sales quota. Why? Because an informal process makes it nearly impossible to hold salespeople accountable. Remember, in Level 2 companies, “Actual adoption is neither monitored nor measured by sales management.”
What is Accountability?
Check the dictionary. You’ll find the definition of accountable is ‘responsible or answerable for some action.’
If management isn’t holding someone accountable for a sales process, what are they holding him or her accountable for? Typically it’s a sales number, quota. And here we go again. A sales number can’t be managed. Sales are output. Output can’t be managed. The process can.
So go back to the definition of accountable. Notice the definition doesn’t say, “responsibility for some number.” Instead, it says, “ACTION.” Actions and processes produce the number.
Sales Process: The Challenge
When there is no commitment to an action or a process, there is no accountability. Simply put, with no accountability, there is nothing left but blame. Management blames salespeople for under-achieving. Furthermore, salespeople blame the company for high quotas, lack of support, or the burden of admin duties. It happens over and over again.
Hey, don’t get me wrong. I applaud those organizations that identified some processes. That beats the chaos found in organizations with no process whatsoever. In fact, in those companies responding to the CSO Insights survey, less than 45% of salespeople meet the quota.
Sales Process: The Reality
The bottom line is this. Firstly, take the time to formalize your process. Secondly, hold people accountable for actions, not numbers. If you don’t, your sales organization will continue to underperform. Do you need help rethinking your organization’s sales methodology? Contact AXIOM today. Our team is here to help.