Consistent, ongoing success in sales is rarely thanks to luck. Most of the time, it’s thanks to robust sales systems.
When you have formal systems in place to support your sales reps – such as a sales process – you are more likely to achieve predictable, steady revenue growth. When these systems are lacking, the opposite is often true.
Here are five problems caused by weak, ineffective or absent sales systems. If any of these are an issue within your company, it might be a good idea to put some new systems in place.
1. Falling short of targets
Do your sales targets seem like more of a pipedream than a likely reality?
Either your targets are too high – or you lack the systems required to get your team to the top.
“As with everything in sales, sales systems are designed to help you turn prospects into buyers. For example, a sales process – which is arguably the most important system to have – is designed to guide and support your reps throughout each step of the sales journey,” says SalesStar founder and group chief executive Paul O’Donohue.
“Everything about a sales process helps you meet your targets in a consistent, logical manner. Without one, success is likely to be sporadic.”
2. Inconsistency and unpredictability
There’s nothing more frustrating for a sales leader than inconsistent and unpredictable sales performance. Yet, research shows that only 26 per cent of sales managers have a formal system in place to track progress. This makes setting targets and KPIs almost impossible and reporting back to shareholders and board members a constant challenge.
While sales will always involve a little bit of unpredictability, putting robust systems in place is a step in the right direction. The right systems should improve pipeline accuracy and help you forecast with greater confidence.
3. Slow onboarding time for new sales reps
These systems are excellent for bringing new sales reps up to speed. They provide a framework for training and development, not to mention they help your staff meet their targets (see point 1).
Without systems in place, new sales reps may feel like they are walking into an ‘every man for himself’ environment – and this could backfire.
While some healthy competition is welcome, it’s much better for your bottom line if your sales team can work as just that – a team.
It’s also worth noting that 96 per cent of sales people are coachable, but sales managers only have 44 per cent of the skills necessary to effectively coach.
4. High staff turnover
Speaking of every man for himself, if some sales reps are underperforming in an unstructured environment, there’s a high chance they will walk.
Without good systems, it’s hard for sales leaders to provide constructive, actionable feedback and encouragement.
“The right sales systems will actually serve as a reference point for sales leaders when it comes to training and coaching their staff,” says Paul.
“Instead of giving vague advice like “please try harder”, they will be able to use the systems to pinpoint exactly where the sales reps are going wrong and offer specific solutions.”
5. Poor understanding of your customer’s buying process
Do some elements of your customer’s buying process seem like a mystery?
Putting systems in place, such as a sales process, almost always requires a deep understanding of your customer’s buying journey. If there are gaps in your knowledge, chances are there are gaps in your systems.
“Your customer’s buying journey should underpin your sales systems,” says Paul.
“Start by mapping out your ideal target market’s buying process. Then tailor an effective sales process around the key milestones in the buyer journey.”