A while ago I developed this tool for a consulting company. Ascent, as we called it, addressed the issue of sales process optimisation with a data-driven programme that would become embedded in the DNA of any organisation that adopted it.
The process ensured optimal efficiency of the entire sales chain over time by introducing a habit, measurement and set of initiatives to address inefficiencies. It is simple and divides into four basic stages.
Stage one – identify your sales stages.
Every business has a unique route to sale that is represented by steps. Typically the first of these is “awareness”, the next might be arrivals at the web site. The third could be request for more information, and so on until you arrive at something like “sales meeting” and “Sale” as the final two steps.
There can be any number of these and often, when an organisation has multiple distribution routes going – eg. web, dealers, in-house sales team etc the route will diverge. The initial stage is to identify what these steps are. We purposely call them “steps” because the theme of the process was “climbing” towards the sale – ascent.
Stage two - measurement.
These days you can measure anything, and the next step in the process involves measuring the level success achieved at each transition from one stage to a subsequent one.
Once this is done and you have a measurement for each transition, its an easy matter to identify where you are failing – the weak links in your sales chain.
Stage three - the fix
This is where you isolate the weak link, put it under a microscope and address the issues that are creating the weakness. The fix might involve changing the tools that you are using at each stage, improving your execution or both. The effectiveness of every tool is measurable so you’ll have no difficulty determining why things are going wrong at this level.
Stage four – creating the habit
When you have gone through the process for the first time and fixed the first weak link you do it all again. This time a different link will have been relegated to bottom of the efficiency pile and you work the micro analysis and fix on that. Then you do it all again … and again … and again … And so the process is never ending (because there’s always a weakest link). However, by following this process you’ll be continually improving the efficiency of your sales process.
The principle isn’t rocket science, but the tools you use can be as advanced or complex as you like. I was working with cutting edge data analysis, which gave us a great deal of scope at each stage, but you could achieve worthwhile improvements with the clunkiest of tools. The important thing is that you have a process and that it’s continuous use becomes a part of your corporate practice.