What Automotive Technology Can Teach us About Sales Process

seatbeltsAre you old enough to remember driving cars that didn’t have seat belts?  Prior to seat belts you probably felt quite safe in your car; but how do you feel today if you are driving and your seat belt isn’t secure?

Are you old enough to remember driving cars prior to cell phones?  Prior to being constantly connected by mobile phones you felt plenty safe in your car but how do you feel today if you are driving and you don’t have your phone with you its battery dies?

I could continue – anti-lock brakes, all-wheel drive, traction control, power steering, etc.  We don’t feel unsafe until we have experienced the enhanced safety of those features and then suddenly lose them.

Selling works in much the same way…

According to Objective Management Group’s data on more than 8,500 companies that have evaluated their sales forces, 91% do not have an effective sales process – if they have one at all.

On the other side of the coin, the companies possessing an optimized, formal, structured sales process that everyone follows experience tremendous security in having a proven process in place. They know that if they do what they’re supposed to do, the results will be there.  An effective process yields consistent, predictive results, which translate to revenue and profit.  If you took their processes away, they would feel unsafe, out of control, and at risk.  Like the picture above, the chances of an opportunity crashing increase dramatically!

Much like the automobile drivers of decades past, the salespeople in companies lacking a formal, structured sales process don’t know what they don’t know.  They aren’t aware that they aren’t as safe as those with the process.  They don’t know they are out of control and at risk every time they conduct a sales meeting or call.

As with cars, the sales technology is there and it’s been there for a while.  And as with cars, you can have a mechanic look under the hood of your sales force or you can upgrade your sales force.  And as with cars, you probably shouldn’t try doing this yourself!