How to Design a Sales Process That Focuses Your Team on Key Sales Activities and Boosts Efficiency
Redesigning the sales process to align more closely with the buyer’s journey will undoubtedly mean introducing a larger number of touch points than would have typically been used when focusing primarily on the sales journey. It’s a much more involved and much more comprehensive approach, which can mean that it’s easier for sales teams to lose sight of the bigger picture; it becomes easier for sales reps to get lost amongst the numerous stages and multiple steps that all lead to success.
The secret to designing a truly successful strategy is ensuring that your team retains a strong focus on key sales activities. According to insights firm McKinsey, one characteristic that the best sales teams all seem to share is that they understand what really matters; they prioritise the key sales activities where the best ROI can be seen.
The research by McKinsey shows that top performing organisations generally have, on average, 30% more sales staff taking on support roles than their lower performing counterparts. This strategy enables customer-facing representatives to focus their efforts exclusively on the needs and expectations of the buyer - key sales activities - while delegating backend administrative tasks - indirect sales activities - to support staff. One case study found that by delegating 50% of administrative tasks to support staff, customer-facing sales reps had 13% more time to dedicate to key sales activities.
Prioritising Key Sales Activities
Designing an effective sales process means that sales leaders will need to do three things. Firstly, they will need to generate the right balance between direct and indirect sales activities by redeveloping the sales team in a way that allows for all tasks to be managed smoothly and efficiently. Further McKinsey research estimates that between 50% and 60% of the average sales team should be focused on sales support functions.
Secondly, it can be advantageous for sales leaders to consider streamlining or even automating some tasks through the implementation of new sales technology systems. And thirdly, leaders must understand what the term ‘key sales activities’ means to them.
While each organisation will place different values in different activities, on the whole key sales activities can be considered to be those sales tasks which:
- Work to directly map the buyer journey and which can be closely associated with the steps that customers take when moving from awareness to consideration to decision. These tasks are key as they unearth greater insight about customer expectations and requirements at each stage of the journey.
- Incorporate outside aspects and resources - such as content created by marketing departments - to generate attractive, engaging, and highly persuasive buyer experiences that are statistically most likely to influence the decision making process and drive a greater number of prospects to conversion.
- Directly impact the organisational structure of the sales department to improve and drive further collaboration between siloed departments, particularly between sales and marketing. Pulling isolated departments together enables teams to share their own insight into customer behaviours and actions.
With a clear plan and strong strategy, there is less deviation from key sales activities; those activities that directly influence conversions, sales, and profits. But what does a cleverly designed sales process have to do with sales efficiency? Why is it important?
Boosting Sales Efficiency
A strategically designed sales process does more than simply enable sales teams to retain a strong focus on key sales activities; it also allows for sales representatives to delve into the buyer journey on a deeper level, and meet customers where they are, when they are, which is understood to be a major driving force of sales efficiency.
Looking again at research undertaken by McKinsey, the firm found that connecting with buyers across the various stages of the customer journey facilitated a 20% reduction in the amount of time between qualifying a lead and making a sale. This approach has also been shown to generate a 20% increase in leads, and a 10% boost in new customer acquisition. The reason for this rise in sales efficiency, according to McKinsey, is that sales teams that implement this way of working are more likely to be incorporating remote sales, and therefore more likely to be utilising new technologies.
Remote sales increases sales team performance and sales efficiency by removing a number of potential obstacles from the traditional sales process. This includes travel time, lengthy face-to-face meetings, associated costs, a reluctance to engage with communication and collaboration tools in favour of real life interactions, and the potential to move through the buying stages faster than the customer is comfortable with.
A remote sales approach that meets the buyer at their purchasing stage streamlines and modernises the standard sales process while boosting efficiency, maintaining pace and making it easier than ever for reps to retain their focus on what really matters: your customers.