Is your CRM Opportunity Sales Process Driving the Right Behaviors?


When setting up your sales process in CRM, there are several key issues that should be addressed to ensure the process drives the right sales behaviors. We have seen many examples where an unintended consequence was the sales team operating in a very transactional manner, rather than a planned strategic one.

When you map out your sales process it is critical to keep the customer in mind. When your sales people are following the process what will your customers experience. Have a think about what steps drive subsequent steps, how do these steps fit together in a logical way. For example, at what stage in the process should your sales people be focused on identifying your competitors and developing strategy to knock them off? What are the must have's that should be in place before you present proposals?

Once you have mapped out the steps, it is critical that the sales managers and their teams have clear definitions of what is expected at each stage. It is important to have identifying needs as an early stage of the process, but what does this really mean? Is it merely asking the customer what they want? Or, is it about developing a deep understanding of the customers business and what is driving their decisions? Be clear about the definitions and the requirements to complete each stage, before moving onto the next stage.

Have a think about the unintended consequences you might create if you get this wrong; such as proposing solutions too early or creating opportunities in the CRM that aren't validated, or not putting opportunities in until they are nearly closed. All these consequences have a big impact on behaviors and other key issues such as forecasting.

One key factor that negatively impacts on forecasting is the probabilities set for each stage of the process. E.g. 20% at Needs Identification, 40% at Value Proposition, 80% at Proposal/Negotiation. This approach will forecast all opportunities at Proposal/Negotiation stage at 80%, this would be fine if you won 8 out of every 10 deals that get to this stage and they are all similar values. The reality is that the close rates are less than 8 out of 10 and the values can range from thousands to hundreds of thousands to millions. Therefore, an opportunity valued at $1 Million at the 80% stage will be forecast at $800k, this could be the total value for the remining opportunities in the pipeline.

If you would like to explore new ways to manage opportunities and your pipeline, we would be happy to have a chat, please drop me a line:

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