How Long Should We Cling to Our Sales Process?

It’s a loaded question, but the answer is deceptively simple.

Whenever a salesperson or sales leader asks this question, it sends up a red flag that something might be wrong. Unmet sales reveal a number of potential contributing factors such as: 

  • Quality of the sales team 
  • Effectiveness of the sales leaders 
  • Market conditions 
  • Product quality and delivery 
  • Brand reputation
  • Sales process

So the question indicates the need for follow-up. Some good questions are: 

  • Do the salespeople know the sales process? 
  • Are the salespeople using the sales process? 
  • Are the sales leaders coaching to it? 
  • Do the steps and principles make sense in today’s environment? 
  • Does the sales process yield consistent sales goal achievement? 

Many organizations adapt their process incrementally as market demands change. Eventually, it becomes something very different than when it was installed. The sales process becomes more like a patchwork quilt. Each patch is sewn to fix holes and accommodate changes over time.

Unfortunately, without regular evaluation, the sales process can be more of a burden than an effective way to generate sales for the company. A good sales process simply defines the step-by-step path of least resistance to the highest level of sales for your organization within your industry. If you modified your sales process to the point it’s unrecognizable or irrelevant, then yes, update it to a more productive system.

The issue here isn’t really where you end up, because finding the “right” sales process will always be an ongoing journey of evaluation and course correction. The issue is where you begin. And as always, you begin with an objective evaluation of your team—and yourself.