How To Get Your Sales Process Truly Adopted
by Elay Cohen
There is much written about customizing your sales process to be sticky and adopted by sales leaders, managers and sales teams. Customize your sales process using your sales culture. It’s hard work to get your sales process truly adopted by your teams. The trick is to find the right balance of proven, industry best practices and organic, crowdsourced plays from top performers. A sticky sales process combines the two together to create a workflow and language that is extracted from the culture and cadence of a company rather then inserted.
There are many great sales methodologies out there like Selling Through CuriosityTM. What makes Selling Through CuriosityTM great is it’s highly customizable to adapt to the nuances of a company’s go-to-market. It’s more about applying curiosity to any sales process. The single most important part of making a sales process work is choosing one and sticking with it. It should be a part of the culture and cadence of a sales organization.
For a team of salespeople to be effective, its members have to share a common set of values. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re at a ten-person start-up or a ten-thousand-person corporation—if the group shares a core set of values and is speaking the same language, you will reap great rewards. These shared values are the foundation of everything good in a sales organization, and yet many sales teams have not yet taken the critical steps of establishing them clearly.
The Salesforce SUCCESS Formula
During the early days at Salesforce, we created a sales process that is used and remembered until this day by the thousands of sales professionals who were trained and coached with it.
Each letter has meaning and is explained in the following illustration and discussion:
Seed and Grow: Start small. Build credibility. Build trust. Grow the business.
Users Sell for You: Have customers share their success sto- ries with other customers. Share customer stories early and often in sales cycles.
Compelling Demos: Conduct discovery and uncover buyers’ top challenges to create a customized demonstration reflecting company specific needs.
Connect the Dots: Leverage relationships with key decision customers, and partners.
Experience Events: Use events to generate pipeline and improve win rates. Drive more business by using large and small events to drive momentum.
Sell High and Through: It is really important to walk the halls. Look across the entire corporate suite and make sure you understand the top priorities.
Show Them the Money: Focus on the return on investment a customer. Build a specific business case for a customer.
The Salesforce SUCCESS formula sales values represent a best practice in SaaS subscription selling. The power and impact came to fruition when they were integrated into the culture and cadence of the sales organization. The effectiveness of creating, adopting and measuring your own sales values will be that extra push that shifts results from making your numbers to exceeding targets month after month.
Map Your Sales Values To Your Sales Process
Sales values come from the heart and soul of an organization. The process of building sales values starts by examining what’s working and what’s not. That way, you can construct a set of values that reinforces the good, sidelines the ineffective or unimportant, and gives everyone a clear set of priorities to follow. Having the right executive support ensures the right level of intensity and helps to make the project a success.
The task of creating a set of values for the sales team is not a single-person job. Start by assembling a team to do some data collection. These should be people who have the trust of the sales organization. This team will do the interviews and synthesize the data along with the deal stories. If they do not have credibility with the sales organization, the interviewees will not be as open to sharing the truth. Set up a committee and project team to do the interviews and to conduct the surveying. Top salespeople and sales managers across all segments and roles should be interviewed and listened to very closely. Don’t forget to talk to customers about their buying experience.
After you collate a wealth of feedback, shift into brainstorming mode to prioritize and brand the sales values to fit your culture. Look for words that are at the core of who you are and what you do.
Then turn the words into a sales aid that can be easily distributed. You know you have a winner when your sales value brand or image is pinned up in the desks and cubes of the salespeople because they appreciate it and depend on it.
At company after company, sales values have had a profound impact on sales performance, culture, and revenues. Having an entire sales and customer-facing organization rallied around key selling principles and values results in win-rate improvements, and deal sizes get larger. Deal-review calls and regular sales team meetings become more fun. New hires in sales are onboarded faster and better.
Make It Happen
If you want to transform your team, establishing clear sales values is the place to start. The values will become the foundation of your sales team—its culture and its processes. Push your limits in sales leadership and make it a priority. Take the initiative; no one else will.
About the Author
Elay Cohen is the author of SalesHood: How Winning Sales Managers Inspire Sales Teams to Succeed and the co-founder of SalesHood, a SaaS sales enablement platform and community for sales professionals. Elay is the former Senior Vice President of Sales Productivity at Salesforce. Recognized as the company's "2011 Top Executive", and credited for creating and executing all of Salesforce's sales productivity programs that accelerated its growth from $300M to $3B+ in revenue. The sales training and sales support innovations delivered over these years by Elay and his team to thousands of sales reps resulted in unprecedented hypergrowth. He also created the Partner Relationship Management (PRM) category.