"Does your sales department really need a sales process?" When I saw that topic come up in a discussion at Focus.com, our favorite expert site for commercial businesses, I couldn't wait to post a reply - well, a few replies - that were strongly in favor of the idea!
In fact, I was surprised that there is even any controversy over the idea. Why? Because it's so clear to me that any sales department that lacks a sales process is almost by definition spending more time, effort and money to produce fewer, less attractive, less profitable results. But it's also clear to me that "sales process" isn't understood very well. Lots of sales professionals think it means "handcuff your people to step-by-step instructions," or "force your people to use a script," or "here's your process, first do this, then that." (And if you mess up the process, go back and start over again.)
Ugh. That's not a sales process. A sales process is kind of like a road map. You use it to figure out how to get from here to there - but depending on traffic conditions, you might need to bob, weave, take a detour.
The discussion on Focus was so interesting that the Focus.com people collected our remarks into a Focus Experts' Briefing: Sales Process - Yea or Nay. You can download the entire report here. You'll find my remarks, along with those of four other major Focus Experts who comment on sales force process and productivity, including Dave Brock, Gary Hart, Dave Stein and Brian Vellmure. Learn more about Focus.com and follow me there!