It’s the weekend and I enjoy cooking up yummy dishes on the weekends. The fun thing about cooking is that it’s always an experiment. I love the idea of trying new things to see how they turn out.
I’ve been thinking about “formula” for getting sales force automation right. I’d love to be able to write a cookbook for automate your sales force, you have to know what they’re doing in an objective and measurable way.
So, the only recipe for success in sales force automation is a general one:
Preparation – identify the primary sources of sales leads. If the sales team is doing their own prospecting and generating these leads themselves, then list the steps they take to prepare these leads…
•10 Cold Calls
•2 Qualified Leads
Cooking the meal – what’s your sales process? What are the steps you take with a good lead to move them toward purchasing?
Serving – are there important steps in your closing process? Are their typically negotiations and modifications of the terms?
Finishing Touches – are there important that your sales team takes with new customers? What about prospects that don’t buy?
Once you’ve identified all the steps in your sales process, now you know what you want your CRM software system to track and measure for you. Sales Force Automation is really about using technology to ensure that these steps are followed through on in a timely way and automating as many of them as possible.
For many sales teams, the process is largely about the sales person doing things so, the opportunity for actually automating things is really in automating the sending of things to the customer, delegating tasks to others at the appropriate time and most importantly, automating the measurement of this entire process so that management has visibility into the process via the CRM software system.
But alas, the specific steps you’re focused on in your sales force automation efforts are probably generally similar to other sales teams but, very different in the specifics.
So, you’ve got to create your own recipe. You have to put on your chef’s hat and experiment a little. The good news is that you’re already cooking (selling) things every day. You can start your sales force automation efforts by just objectively assessing the process you have in place now. My advice is to automate the process you have now first. Measure it and see how the numbers work. Then worry about changing the process based on what the sales force automation system is telling you. Too many companies get stuck because they’re trying to begin automating the sales team and change the process all at the same time.
That’s like going to your favorite restaurant, walking back into the kitchen, handing the cook a bag of groceries and telling him what you want prepared. It’s going to take several tries for him to get it right. Your sales team is no different.