Process vs. Methodology: Do your Sales Managers know the difference and how they work together?

As we discussed in our last post, a sales process is different to a sales methodology, but do you and your managers know how they work together and complement each other?

A sales process outlines the stages of your customer buying process, giving you full control of an opportunity and track its progress through to the closing stage. A methodology (or a combination of several) informs your process depending on the opportunity and sales stage to effectively engage with prospective customers and close a negotiation. Examples include Miller Heiman or Neil Rackham’s Spin Selling. The reality is that both a sales process and methodology are interdependent and should be part of your sales platform or embedded in your CRM.

At Convercio we believe it’s necessary to both manage and coach your sales teams with these two core elements. Few companies have incorporated them into building their sales engine—those who have end up hiring consulting firms to build these two components and then need to hire a separate company to train the sales reps and managers, resulting in a major investment of time and money for any company
on a growth trajectory.

With other companies, Convercio has found that they follow a (usually inherited) sales process according to the usage of their CRM sales stages field. But the sales process isn’t optimally aligned to the customer buying process and is in fact sometimes more aligned to an internal administrative one. Consequently, these companies aren’t equipped with clear exit criteria to determine if an opportunity is under the sales rep’s control. They then must devote time to iterating their sales process and adopting a methodology in order to be effective in every customer engagement. The challenge, however, is that they’re focusing on implementing a forecast management process that is handicapped by a vague sales process and no pipeline management effort put in place.

How can you inspect and coach sales reps without an integrated process and methodology? How can you develop a forecast without visibility into the sales process at all? You ultimately must set up an internal initiative to integrate these two core elements of B2B sales into your CRM and your strategy, all without trying to boil the ocean at the beginning of the transition phase. If you have or you are trying to build out your sales process, it’s important to implement an inspection and coaching initiative in tandem to control every opportunity and to refine your sales process with best practices.

Once you have adopted this three-pronged approach, you want to incorporate these elements into your opportunity and skill coaching. Sure, you can train your sales managers in how to use the sales process map (with exit criteria and suggested actions) to inspect the conditions of the opportunity and determine next steps. But the reality is that they will try for a few weeks after the training and then go back to their original approach because the learning curve wasn’t feasible to overcome with their ongoing managerial workload. The internal initiative must cover sales process, methodology and coaching together in one place. Leverage tools that can simplify sales managers’ work flow, helping them better identify what to inspect and how to coach their reps in take strategic next steps.

I invite you to reflect on the importance of building and integrating both process and methodology, and consider incorporating them into your managers’ coaching practice. Sales managers need to be role models for their department, and by training them with effective coaching strategies, they will be equipped to better train sales reps. It will empower sales managers to run effective coaching 1:1 sessions, and I bet you that after its implementation, your managers will have a ready explanation when asked about the exit criteria in any stage of the sales process.

Learn how Convercio can empower your sales managers to implement process and methodology in a simple and fast way. Request a demo today or connect with me to start a conversation.

Michele Lanzara is CoFounder of Convercio

Michele Lanzara is CoFounder of Convercio