Most people are wired to like consistency. Consistency represents a recognizable pattern, and in the way we run our crazy lives, patterns provide relative predictability. As a result, if I’m doing things in a somewhat consistent way, I know that I can naturally increase my percentage of predictability, which gives my brain a tiny shot of dopamine, which makes me “feel good”.
Conversely, if “things”-let’s now substitute the specific of “sales” for the generality of “things”-are not consistent, and they don’t follow a process, then, there’s going to be very little predictability; therefore, no dopamine, and salespeople very quickly move to the state of “not feeling good”. Sales predictability regarding opportunities and prospects cascades from high to low while their forecastability factor plummets from 80 percentiles to zippo at worst or “just confused” at best. Once that happens, average salespeople become distracted, they run from activity to activity and become totally disconnected from any consistent pattern finally launching themselves off the end-of-the-quarter cliff at 100 miles an hour. Lots of activity, little productivity, lousy quarter.
Of course, sales is about having solid relationships with customers, but in today’s increasingly complex world of sales and marketing, much more important is the ability to provide our salespeople with formal processes that they can and want to use, simple tools that click into those processes and interoperable CRM systems that are highly integrated with those tools such that easy-to-use platforms such as Salesforce become the center of their selling universe.
The process of selling then becomes Wash, Rinse, Repeat. The formal process of selling becomes the stabilizing factor, sales professionals have all of their tools in one place, prospects and salespeople are provided with easy to digest content that they can both use in the selling and closing process. Consistency goes up. Predictability goes up. Dopamine goes up. Everyone’s happy.
Wash, Rinse, Repeat. Not so hard in concept. Wicked hard to execute on...just takes consistency of practice, so here's an idea. What if in your sales meeting this Monday morning, you were to agree on nailing down just one difficult sales skill related to your current sales process over the period of the balance of this month? One skill, three weeks of hard practice and consistent drills. Seems that it would work, what do you think?
In the meantime, have a great week selling as we all push toward the end of this quarter!
As most of you know, I'm a marketing professor at Tufts in my spare (?) time, where I have the pleasure of working with juniors and seniors in a unique program. Each semester, I embed five students/team into six companies to execute on complex, semester-long, marketing assignments, and I am now looking for companies for the fall semester. Companies have ranged in size from emerging startups to large corporations such as an international military contractor, a leading bank along with a wide variety of middle market businesses ranging in revenue from $5 to $100 million. The common factor is that they all have interesting and complex marketing projects. If you're interested, just email me, and I will set up a call to discuss this with you. It's a great opportunity to solve the marketing project idea that you've been thinking about, but haven't had the extra resources to put to it.