Geonexus helps companies use sales process engineering to improve their sales productivity.
Many companies today are disappointed with their sales results. These companies have invested in production capacity, but they cannot sell all that they produce. They have tried the usual fixes—sales training, compensation adjustments, hiring a new sales manager—but none of them deliver significant improvements.
Why Is Sales Such a Struggle?
Unlike the other organizations in a company, the work of sales is still based on a craft model. Each sales person is responsible not only for selling, but also for prospecting, solution design, administration, and customer service.
In fact, research has shown that sales people only spend about 10% of their time selling. Because they have so many other responsibilities, they are only able to make two sales visits per week! Salespeople are seriously underutilized in most companies.
How Does This Underutilization of Salespeople Affect the Rest of the Company?
Companies invest in their production capacity. Their investors expect that the production capacity will be fully utilized. But that is not possible when the sales team is unable to sell all of the company’s capacity. Consequently the investors experience a disappointing return on their investment.
Why Hasn’t the Sales Organization Fixed This Problem?
The craft model for sales made sense in the past. Salespeople were given a territory. They acted as agents for the company. They ran their territory like a small business and did everything—prospecting, selling, administration and service. However, times have changed. Markets are more competitive. Salespeople can no longer simply sell from the company’s inventory; customers order customized products and so the salespeople must work closely with production and engineering to design and deliver the right solution.
But the sales culture is strongly wedded to its traditional craft model. Salespeople take pride in their independent ways. Sales managers who succeeded using the current model tend to reject alternative ways to organize the sales department.
What Is the Alternative to the Craft-Based Model?
What if field salespeople could make four customer visits a day, twenty visits in a week? Or what if inside salespeople could make thirty calls a day? Salespeople could improve their productivity ten-fold.
Of course, other people would need to take over their other responsibilities.
Our solution helps sales to shift from a craft model to a team-based model. In a team-based model, different groups specialize in each sales task. One group in the sales organization employs relationship-marketing to produce a steady flow of sales opportunities. Another person schedules visits or calls for the salespeople to make. Customer service staff cover all the routine sales transactions—quotes, orders, and routine service questions. A technical engineer works closely with product development to customize a solution.
What Are the Origins of This Approach to Sales?
Although the division of labor among specialists and the scheduling of work is new to the sales organization, it’s been tried and refined in production for over a century. When manufacturing shifted from a craft-based model of work and divided the labor among specialists, it saw dramatic productivity improvements.
Fortunately for us, we don’t have to start from scratch to apply process engineering methods to the work of sales. We can simply adopt the principles and methods that operations has refined over the years.
In fact, sales is the last organization in the firm to apply these principles. Process engineering started in manufacturing, but it has since been adopted in other parts of the company—product development, finance, and human resources.
What Results Do Companies Experience When They Implement Sales Process Engineering?
First, you’ll see an increase in sales activity. Even though you need fewer salespeople, each salesperson will be doing ten times the work. Since they are able to specialize in selling, the salespeople will be doing what they do best. As they focus solely on conducting meaningful sales conversations, they will improve their performance more quickly.
More sales activity leads to more customers and more revenue.
Meanwhile, since you have customer service staff who are dedicated to all the routine work of the sales process—quotes, orders, and service issues, this routine work is done more quickly and customer satisfaction increases.
And perhaps most importantly for the company, you gain more control over the sales process and its outcomes. Since you have engineered your process, you can measure each step in the sequence. These measurements give you the information to make improvements in throughput and quality.