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Sticking to a Process: In Life, Business & Sales

Why sticking to a process is important especially when you start to see momentum.

We see it everywhere… Want to lose weight? You will have to sustain a caloric deficit through a combination of diet and exercise over long periods of time.

How about if you want to run a marathon? Improve sleep? Improve your relationships? Get a promotion?

Sticking to a process is how long term, sustainable change and growth happens in all aspects of our personal and professional lives. It’s no different when it comes to growing your business or sales program.

And it’s not only to achieve your short term goals but, more importantly, to be able to assess what is working or not working and measure the past to inform the future.

Contrary to popular belief, sticking to a process is also lean and efficient strategy. It costs you less time, energy, effort, financial output (and headaches) in the long run. Why? When everyone knows what they are doing and in what direction they are rowing, they don’t waste time trying to figure things out. If you employ a continuous improvement methodology and growth mindset in leadership, the positive outcomes for your business are significant.

What are the key aspects of following a process?

  1. Standardization - identifying the most common circumstances and scenarios and outlining repeatable actions for everyone involved

  2. Documentation - write it down somewhere that everyone can find it

  3. Equality - everyone has a part to play and there needs to be resources and time available for all the work that needs to be done (not just some of it!)

  4. Visibility - problems are identified as they arise in a transparent manner

  5. Clarity - problems can be solved due to the process outline and documentation provided, accountabilities are clear

Processes are an integral part of any sales and revenue generating organization. Case in point. Take the example of a Canadian medium sized business with about 70 employees in the adult education and training space. They put in the time and effort to complete the first stages of the sales planning process. Conducted some market research, tested pricing models, conducted competitor analysis and began trying to actively sell their products to past customers and close friends and business contacts.

Good news! They started to see some results. They sold a few seats of their training (although sadly for well under market rate, but that's another story) yet fell prey to confirmation bias fairly quickly. They were gathering prospect and customer feedback, but only paid attention to the positive elements, not the requests for improvement. In the short term they saw a small bump in revenue, but then all of a sudden things began to fizzle and the CEO panicked.

What went wrong? They abandoned the process. As more sales based activities began to occur in the organization, employees increasingly became confused as to what to do. The company didn’t hire the additional resources needed including sales and marketing professionals, customer service and support staff, etc. Records and documentation were not being appropriately tracked, customer feedback was being ignored and tasks that should have taken half the time were piling up on everyone’s desks.

Bad news. They had no standardization, documentation, equality, visibility, clarity to count on before things started to go wrong. So when they did, the jenga tower came crashing down.

"Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” - Aristotle

Take the time to outline a process, educate everyone in your organization on what it is and then, most importantly, stick to it no matter what and commit to continuous improvement as you go.

Need help outlining our sales strategy or sales processes? Let's chat:

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