How to Know When to Tweak the Sales Process

By: Teresa Weirich

June 26, 2018

Determining whether or not to make adjustments to the sales process can be tricky. Before actually making a change or introducing new messaging or tools, there are a variety of factors to consider:

  • What is the goal of the change?
  • Will the sales team actually adopt it?
  • Is there a compelling event that makes the change necessary?
  • How will I measure whether the change it is a success or not?
  • How do I decide between option A, B, or C—or a combination of all 3?
  • Which team(s) will I roll out the change or new process to first?

In addition to these considerations, there are countless others. Afterall, making a change to the sales process—regardless of how small—can have a waterfall effect on the entire sales process: forecasting, strategic account planning, coaching, and even whether or not sales targets will be achieved. That’s why sales leaders must have confidence that the decision they’re making is the right one. Unfortunately, though, data that is traditionally available from CRMs is retroactive and doesn’t provide a true picture of the current or future state of a sales organization—which is important data to consider when introducing a change of any size. In this article, we’ll take a look at a few activities that sales leaders and their teams can do to confidently introduce change.

Shadow Sales Professionals On Calls

Between juggling meetings, holding 1:1 coaching sessions, meeting with reps to conduct strategic account reviews, and prepping for Board meetings or QBRs, sales leaders don’t have much extra time. And if they do have extra time on their hands, their first thought probably isn’t to shadow prospective customer calls. While listening in on calls may not be the most glamorous thing and can seem like a waste of time, it is the truest temperature gauge to see and hear firsthand how reps are positioning your company, your solution, and your value prop—and hear how they’re responding to objections and questions. No matter how many tools or scripts sales management or marketing has created, none of it matters if the sales professional doesn’t deliver the content smoothly and at the right time on every single call.

By making it a habit to listen to sales calls on a regular basis, sales leaders can get a heads up on when a change to the sales process may be necessary.

Hold Weekly “Open” Sales Huddles

Even if a sales organization has an “open door policy” that allows sales professionals to share concerns or opportunities with sales leaders at any time, reps often get bogged down in their roles and can’t afford to take time out of their day to share what they’re learning in real-time. The concept of a weekly open huddle helps to combat this by giving sales professionals a floor to candidly share what they’re struggling with, what opportunities they see for improvement, and to ask the difficult questions of sales leadership. While the open sales huddle concept may seem like a burden to hold each week, it opens up discussions across entire teams that otherwise may have been forgotten, and it also allows for teamwork and collaboration to get to the heart of the topic at hand.

Through these weekly meetings, sales leaders will see very quickly where sales professionals are winning, losing, and getting frustrated during the sales process.

Collaborate With Other Departments

Sales and marketing teams tend to collaborate often, but sales teams can learn a great deal from other cross-departmental teams, too, including product, services, finance, and even legal. So often, sales teams work with their heads down to set up prospective customer meetings, run calls, and close deals and they tend to forget that others in the organization may have a very different viewpoint of what’s working—and what’s broken. Each department across an organization brings a unique vantage point that can be especially helpful to the sales team. For instance, legal may see opportunities to expedite the contract and SOW review process whereas services may notice that sales professionals aren’t selling a certain high-value package.

By encouraging collaboration with other departments, sales leaders can gain insight from teams with varying viewpoints that—whether implemented into the sales process or not—can be helpful to examine.

Keep Close Tabs on Sales Performance

There’s no such thing as a perfect sales process. Once one piece of the puzzle has been solved, there are always many other areas to address, new suggestions to consider, and new hires to onboard. Once a change has been adopted, it becomes important to monitor its success over time and continue to iterate on what’s working and what’s not. Sales leaders often rely on CRMs to provide them a view of the pipeline, but the data that they receive is retroactive and useless when it comes to coaching team members in real-time.

By keeping an ear to the ground and monitoring sales performance as it happens in real-time, sales leaders can coach in the moment and make changes before it’s too late. Previously, it’s been difficult for sales leaders to confidently roll out new messaging or changes to the sales process. But thanks to Costello’s real-time sales playbook software, sales leaders can monitor results and business cases in real-time, and make adjustments proactively to always stay up-to-date with the many influences that affect the sales process.

  • Teresa Weirich's Headshot
    Teresa Weirich

Ready to Learn More?

For more information on best practices of great sales leaders, check out the Costello resources below. If you’d like to see Costello in action, request a personalized demo of our real-time sales playbook software.

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