Thinking Outside the (check) Box

Introduction: How We Got Here

David Brock at Partners In Excellence and I had a nice exchange over sales processes last week. He started with a post titled But We Have a Sales Process. As the comments piled up, he added another post titled A Great Sales Process – Elegant In Its Simplicity, Natural in Execution. As I am more and more committed my sales process agnosticism, I couldn’t resist a response, posting Sales Process Problems: Turn by Turn Guidance Is Unavailable. David’s comments can be found at the bottom of my post.

We enjoyed our exchange, and we agree on one very important principle regarding sales processes. So David and I decided to write a joint post to talk about that idea. I am writing here first, David will post a response on his blog or in the comments here.

Sales Is More Than Checking Boxes

A well-designed sales process has much to recommend its adoption. It provides a roadmap, it keeps salespeople focused on potentially high value activities, and in the best cases it can be a differentiator in and of itself. However, a sales process, no matter how well it is designed, is not enough to ensure success in sales. For any sales process to be effective, it needs to be utilized by a fully engaged sales person.

It isn’t enough to simply check the boxes, change the deal stage in your SFA to update your pipeline, and keep your sales manager happy (and clueless).

Full Engagement

What is full engagement? It means being mindful. It means not simply going through the process or going through the motions. It means being thoughtful about every activity in every stage of the sales process. It means using the three-pound, pinkish-gray computer under your skullcap to discern what is working and what isn’t working. It means making adjustments when what you are doing is not moving you closer to sale.

It means bringing passion to you work (yes, passion!). Full engagement means bringing your A game to every sales call, finding a way to create value for both your prospect and your company. Full engagement is the currency of real professionals. It is one of the reasons they are so effective.

On Not Checking the Box

Sometimes it is very easy to check the box, even when you haven’t really achieved the outcome you needed to achieve to advance the sale. The real “art” of sales has less to do with the ability to build rapport; the real “art” of sales has everything to do with being creative and resourceful enough to recognize when checking the box isn’t going to advance the sale and coming up with something that will. The ability to advance deals that would stall for other salespeople is truly is one of the primary differences between the top 20% of salespeople and the other 80%.

No salesperson is hired to simply check the box. You have to be more than that; you have to be someone who thinks outside the (check)box.

Filed under: Sales 3.0

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