Gene Gander, VP Business Development – Americas, explains that for your sales force to reach their productivity potential, the process has to come before the tools.

Chicago, USA, December 22, 2015.  Recent research has shown that sales people are only using a third of their day to work on bottom-line sales tasks. So what are they doing the rest of the time? Is your sales team running in their own direction, or are they leading your business where you want it to go? Without a formal sales process in place, it can be hard to know for sure.

Sales automation software may be seen as the initial step in a surefire solution, but it’s easier to automate sales-related workflows and repetitive tasks when you first determine exactly how your business needs its sales force to operate. 

Luckily, creating a formal sales process doesn’t necessarily require a complex consulting exercise. However, in some form or another, defining both your sales culture and ideal buyer are critical.

Why? Without a documented, formal sales cycle, your business is exposed to the personal drivers or weaknesses of individuals within your sales team. And then there’s the problem of transitioning to sales automation, a vital component of a totally integrated ERP. You can’t automate something you can’t pinpoint. You’ll continue to miss the productivity gains that make or break profitability until you do. 

What Your Sales People Are Doing

Anyone with their eyes on sales reports can easily see that less than half of a salesperson’s time is spent actually selling. Why? They can’t focus on the tasks that add value when they spend the bulk of their time generating their own leads, completing their own administrative work, and handling their own cradle-to-grave account management. Sharing this workload across other positions in your company is a more cost-effective and efficient use of your resources, and it frees salespeople to get out and sell.

The whole business, not the salesperson, should direct the customer account. If you rely too much on the sales craft of individual sales people, rather than the sales team’s strategic direction, then you’re going to be in all sorts of trouble - particularly if your high flyers leave and take a catalog full of clients along with them.

Identifying the Formal Process

Trying to implement an automated Sales/CRM solution without a deliberate and documented process is the equivalent of asking someone to build you a house without first knowing whether you want a condo or a cabin. 

Making a formal sales process out of your sales requirements can be as simple as analyzing and describing the five steps in the broad structure: lead generation, qualification of prospects, demonstration of value propositions, management of objections, and the closing of deals. 

Importantly, the process should be as much about the buyer journey as it is about the sales journey and the achievement of associated commissions.

The Uncanny Art of Sales

If your team believes that managing sales is a mysterious art and cannot be automated, then you’ve got some convincing to do. If they’ve already been brought into a structured way of working, however, they’ll more easily embrace the automation of accepted workflows that will instantly increase their throughput. 

Because management determines the sales strategies, individual salespeople won’t be taking the business down a path into a mix of market segments or clients that won’t convert into a profitable, trouble-free customer base. 

It’s not a mystery. It’s just a formal, structured sales process that appears from a move to automated workflows and sales tools. Anyone can see that there is a direct correlation. The company with an automated sales process is more likely to meet higher quotas, attain more targets, and reduce sales turnover.

Allocating the Right Skillsets at the Right Service Stages 

Clients sometimes don’t want to let go of their sales rep because they think that person is their only point of contact who can help resolve issues. By assigning time-consuming tasks – such as business development, administration, and quoting – to pre-sales roles and automated workflows, your sales people can focus on adding value to the buyer. And, once they’ve converted the sale, the client passes onto more appropriate account and technical resources. 

When tasks are identified and assigned with a clearly defined process, to different people with appropriate skillsets who can better assist the customer at different stages of the service lifecycle, you can ensure salespeople focus on generating new business and revenue. 

Total Visibility with Integrated Sales Workflows 

Everything the salesperson has done as they onboard a new customer (identifying contacts, pain points, and SOPs) is transparent to Operations through integrated sales workflows. Everything is captured in the same system, and everyone has the same in-depth knowledge and view of the customer. As Operations develops additional services for the customer over time, these are visible to sales to pursue additional opportunities. Plus, the overriding benefit is that process and automation give management crucial visibility into their team’s activities.

Although it starts with a definable process, the end goal is an integrated CRM that amplifies sales results. Every business of any size or niche can benefit from the process of freeing its sales people to sell.

Gene Gander is VP Business Development - Americas for WiseTech Global

Media Contact: Lisa Rollason,