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Optimizing Existing Sales Processes

FROM BULLETPROOF SELLING:

Ensuring that existing processes are relevant and effective means not being afraid tofirst establish them, hold ourselves and our teams accountable to using them, but it also means being willing to update them on a regular basis. Our prospects’ worlds change all the time, and that means our processes have to change in order to keep up. 
 
The specific changes we make come from our Lessons Learned program, a topic we cover in depth in Bulletproof Selling. However, actually implementing those changes into our sales process and knowing what parts of our sales process a change could apply to is the topic of this system. From Chapter 19:

 

Systemizing Bulletproof Change
Trigger: When a Lesson Learned is captured, a single point of accountability is assigned, and a deadline is issued for the system creation or update.
Bulletproof Impact: Capturing a lesson ensures a challenge or innovation is outside the heads of salespeople, and updating or standing up a new system ensures the time spent capturing the challenge or innovation was well spent. This is the process of creating and updating systems to ensure they remain Bulletproof.
This guiding question can be used to determine what change needs to be made from any lesson you or your salespeople uncover:
“If I wanted to ensure the challenge we encountered in this Lesson Learned was permanently solved – or if what we learned that aided success happened on every sale – what system do we need to update or create?”
Bulletproof selling begins with creating and refining systems for your team through establishing not only a pipeline, but also each vertical’s campaign systems, the cadence of outreach within those campaigns, templates for those outreach messages, and sales scripts for both discovery calls and sales conversations. We’ve spent much of this book in those areas because without basic systems in place, it’s impossible to create systematic updates.  Once established, the Lessons Learned system serves as a sculptor’s chisel, carving away rough edges. This is what makes a Bulletproof system adaptable to changes in the economy, technology, market, and customer buying behavior.
If a lesson uncovers a gap in your systems, then it’s an invitation to stand up a new one. It’s helpful for sales leaders managing their Lessons Learned program to have a map of their Bulletproof sales system in front of them as they determine where a lesson or new tactic should generate a change or update. If you’re at a loss for what system a new lesson should create or where an existing system should be updated, examine where in your Bulletproof selling system it might affect:
Bulletproof Strategy
·       Pipeline flow
·       Campaigns within the pipeline (below are examples, add or remove for your sales cycle and industry):
o   Not a Fit or Hold for Recycle
o   Could Not Reach or Unresponsive Account
o   Initial Outreach
o   Decision Maker Identified
o   Pre-select or Buying Window and Budget Identified
o   Active Opportunity
o   Won Business
·       Outreach cadence of the campaigns across communication methods
·       Templates of particular outreach tasks (phone scripts, voicemail scripts, email templates, LinkedIn message templates, and card and letter templates)
Bulletproof Tactics
·       Calling strategies and scripts
·       Handling objections on the phone
·       Scheduling sales meetings
·       Handling objections in sales meetings
·       Using your Bulletproof Offer
·       Generating referrals
Administration and Continuous Improvement
·       Weekly sales huddle agenda
·       Lessons Learned program
·       Sales meeting briefing system
·       Post-meeting debrief system
·       Commission and compensation of salespeople
·       Working with other departments in our company to generate leads, sales, and referrals
·       Proposal issuance and accounts receivable handoff
Of course, some of those items may not apply to your sales model, and things unique to your industry should be added. Regardless, if a lesson is generated and no one can point to part of your Bulletproof sales system that’s already in place where it may apply, it means there’s a gap in your armor. In that case, a new system should be created that will bolt onto or follow another existing Bulletproof system in your sales cycle.
Putting Out Fires by Removing the Matchbook
There’s a saying that many leaders spend most of their time running around putting out fires until they realize they have the ability to take the matchbooks away from the folks lighting the blazes. Your Lessons Learned program is a way of permanently solving the large and small problems that take up so much time in a leader’s life.
If you or your salespeople bring an account forward during your sales huddle and ask what to do about a problem – whether it occurred in a conversation with the prospect, while executing outreach steps, within the CRM’s campaign systems, in how a prospect’s information was entered into the CRM, or basically anywhere in the lifecycle of a prospect – it can generate a change that prevents that question from ever crossing your desk again. How? Create a Lesson Learned from it.
Just as you would do during the Lessons Learned portion of your weekly sales huddle, ask yourself, “If I wanted to ensure the problem that generated that question never happened again, what systems change or training would I need to create, when would that change need to happen, who would be involved in developing or receiving the training, and how would I roll it out?”
What most sales leaders – and leaders in general – tend to do when one of their teammates brings a problem to them is solve it on the spot or formulate a new solution and send the person out to test it. While that method solves the problem in the moment, it does nothing for the next salesperson who runs into a similar situation.
For that reason, ensure that you are also capturing the recurring problems that cross your desk and build Lessons Learned from them. The benefit is that permanently solving problems frees you up to help your team innovate solutions to the endless supply of new challenges coming your way.
While your competition will be struggling to deal with dozens of repeating issues within their own organization, you can be the sales team rapidly adapting to your prospect’s needs because you solved those repeating issues long ago.
How does a sales leader ensure their Lessons Learned program[SR1]  doesn’t become another flavor-of-the-month that eventually goes unused, but instead becomes a tool that regularly elevates the performance of the entire team?
A weekly review of the last week’s Lessons Learned ensures this happens, and it’s why we include it as an agenda item on weekly sales huddles for both ourselves and our clients. Because the world of sales is one of the most rapidly shifting spaces in business, it’s critical that any changes to your systems go into effect as quickly as possible. Spending months standing up a single new system or updating an existing system leaves too much room for a competitor to implement it first, especially competitors also using Bulletproof systems. That is why we advise our clients to never make a change so complicated that it takes more than a week to implement, even if the change is overhauling an entire pipeline flow.
The ideas and changes that come from your Lesson Learned program don’t have to be perfect and don’t have to be pretty. Those refinements will actually come from your salespeople as they use new systems and find ways to make them better, stronger, and more applicable to their prospects’ buying cycle. We’ll never be able to refine a system if it’s never put into place and tested.
It’s that never-ending pursuit of progress that makes teams Bulletproof, no matter what odds they stand against or what changes occur on their battlefield. Ensuring your team leverages those changes to remain Bulletproof is the topic of our final chapter.
 

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We are a leader in systemizing sales processes and solutions for salespeople, teams and organizations. We systemize selling processes so salespeople can replace hope with certainty, close more deals and provide more value to their clients.

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