The bigger a sales organization gets, the more need there is for organizational processes to ensure you maximize every sales opportunity as well as profitability. While these policies may seem restrictive and detrimental to sales objectives, they actually allow for more opportunities to close business, a goal everyone in the organization shares. At CorsPro, we’ve identified some common components that contribute heavily to a successful sales process. We’ll discuss what each of those components are, how they help facilitate more closed deals and how they work together to build a sales process geared for success.
Here are three parts to a vital presales structure that leads to better technology solutions sales:
Rules are made to be broken, right? Sales professionals are stereotypically seen as rule breakers. They don’t take “no” for an answer, they work around systems, and they’re always looking for ways to get the deal closed. And some of these attributes are why we love our sales reps! However, if you don’t tell your team you want them to do things a certain way, they’re all going to close deals their own way, whether or not it’s ultimately good for the organization. This is where rules and policies come into play. They provide the guides and structure your account managers, sales engineers and implementation team need to frame their work style and stay within the lines. Here’s where it gets tricky: the rules cannot be so rigidly enforced that they actually start to be detrimental to the deals that close. You may, for example, have a rule about the minimum profit margin required for deals to close. But if an AM comes to you with a deal that is slightly lower than that but offers alternative value, such as being a big name that provides opportunities for many referrals and prestige, it may make sense to override your policy in this instance. So, in addition to having clearly defined rules and policies, it’s necessary to have channels in place to determine whether it’s beneficial to break those rules on a case-by-case basis, like the example above of making an exception for your profit margin rule. Rules for your rules, you might say.
Okay, so you’ve got your rules and your rules’ rules in place. Maybe you’ve created a digital or paper manual and sent it to your team. But you’re leaving a lot of room for error, specifically of the humankind. Maybe it’s a sales manager calculating the profit margin incorrectly. Maybe it’s a sales rep forgetting about the infrastructure that needs to be addressed along with the network they’re proposing. Maybe it’s a sales engineer with incomplete information who is unable to build an educated plan. Ultimately these errors can cost you a lot when it comes to profit margins and the solvency of your business. Enter: automation. With the automation of your rules and policies using the right presales system, you eliminate the need for relying on your human employees to enforce the rules. This is also where you can build in permissions and channels to request exceptions to those rules and assign permissions to activate the workarounds based on your organizational structure. It’s incredibly valuable to put the automation in place once, and then let it automate the parts of the proposal such as prospect information, necessary infrastructures to match technologies and your company info. This will allow your team to focus on the parts of the proposal that can’t (and shouldn’t) be automated and should take the majority of your effort and time.
You have your sales rules developed and automated in your proposal system. The final step in ensuring a smooth process is to build clear and concise workflows to guarantee the rules and automation work with your sales team and not against them. This is necessary because many proposals are completed at the last minute. You need a way to help guide your sales team through the proposal process in a logical manner that works both from an expediency and a compliance standpoint. This safeguards that the solution is configured correctly, provides the checks and balances necessary to build an effective solution, and helps your team prevent costly errors that can increase your scope, decrease your margin or erode your credibility. Doing all the steps in the correct order means that nothing falls through the cracks, and your entire sales team is following the same process, leading to bigger profit margins and less room for error in your organization.
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