Diagnose: Are you ready to scale with a common sales methodology

The situation

You've got good people. They are working as hard and smart as they can. But the reality is that you're permanently 'herding cats'. Your team aren't really a team, they're a bunch of salespeople all doing their own thing. In our surveys, between 18 and 25% of salespeople admit to not following a sales process (even just in their head). Those that do, typically have their own approach. It maybe something that they picked up in a previous job or from a previous manager, often it's just a set of habits they've got into. Obviously, for your top performers, their approaches work but you might be surprised to know that they often don't actually align to your standard sales forecasting stages or to each other.

That means that you struggle with:

  • Forecasting accuracy. What one individual considers to be at 50% another will rate higher or lower. You constantly have to massage forecasts according to what you know about each individual.
  • Consistency in approach and language. Does everyone have the same definition of a qualified lead, a 'decision maker', what 'making a decision this month' actually means? You may think they do, but the reality is often different.
  • How to allocate resources. Some sales people use a lot of internal resources, others fly solo. There's no real consistency about when to bring in different resources or subject experts. Resources tend to go to those who shout loudest or are considered the most successful.
  • 'It doesn't work that way here'. Those based away from head office, particularly internationally, will tell you their territory is different. The same with those teams working in markets or product lines that are diverged from your core. They may have a point, but without a common playbook the differences are not always clear. As a result, it's hard for sales leaders to really have a handle on what's going on.


The cause

In our experience, companies typically grow organically over time and didn't identify the need, or have the skill, to pin down a structure early. They hired good people and let them get on with it. Training focus has been on products and services, rather than on skills or structure. There were probably other priorities.

Sometimes a lack of common methodology is compounded by a lack of clarity around direction or expectations of sales behaviour. On top of this, execs are sometimes resistant to investing in salespeople, believing that because of the high salaries, they should be expert and hit the ground running on arrival. Thankfully, that view is changing in line with the changing customer world and a greater appreciation for the need to keep honing and developing skills.

Do you need a sales framework or playbook?

If you don't currently experience but would like the following, the answer is probably yes:

  • More consistent and accurate sales forecasting
  • A clear view of the stages in each customer's buying journey and how to develop and influence each stage
  • A structure and framework that everyone works to - though you don't want to cramp individual style or personality with bureaucracy
  • A common language across your team
  • Consistent, objective and continuous qualification of opportunities
  • An objective way of uncovering over-optimism and over-pessimism in qualifying and developing opportunities
  • More efficient and effective ways of allocating resources
  • More productive ways of sharing and learning about sales win and losses across the team
Sales framework

Are you ready for a sales framework?

Are you feeling the pain with your current sales organisation? Feeling stuck?

If so, it's probably time to get started.

Your pace of progress and how quickly you can reach a state of maturity, will depend on a number of factors including:

  • Do you have a (relatively) stable salesforce? If you have, or are planning, a lot of churn or restructuring of roles, it's probably a good time to introduce a framework but it needs to be designed for your new sales organisation and you should consider who you're investing in.
  • Does your exec team recognise a need to change the sales model (versus just tweaking the commission plan and expecting people to work harder / smarter)? In our experience, you can move faster and see benefits quicker if you have strong exec sponsorship but you can get started and then use your successes to gain support later.
  • Are your sales ops, pre-sales, marketing, implementation and post-sales teams open to change? Often these teams are fairly ambivalent or peripheral at first as they perceive you're doing a 'sales thing' but quickly get on board when they see the impact and how it improves their lives. Being joined up from the start helps but you can get going without their support and bring them on board thorugh clear communication about 'what's in it for you'.
  • Are you able to support culture and process change? This won't happen in a vacuum. Again, you can take some first steps but to make real, lasting change, a wider organisational shift in sales culture will help you scale and embed.
  • Are you personally willing and able to role model and embed the changes you want to see? You'll probably be stepping out of your own comfort zone - or at least having to change some habits. If you don't follow the 'new way' nobody else will!

If you can answer yes (even tenatively) to the above, you should be able to move fast towards change. Answering no doesn't mean you shouldn't start, it just means progress may be slower to start with. The blocks will need addressing, either before you start or as you evolve.

Ready for a sales framework


If you recognise these symptoms in your business, the next step is to figure out what a sales framework and associated methodology should look like for your business.

Take a look at this guide for some proven tips and best practices. If you'd like to fast track your approach with a proven framework then please get in touch. We've helped lots of companies scale global and national growth through implementing a tailored sales framework that fits their specific business. You might be surprised how quick and easy we can make the process!