How to Fix Your Sales Process: 5 Secrets You Never Knew

5 Ways to Fix Your Sales Process

There’s a good chance that your sales processes are broken, according to a recent study from workflow automation software company Nintex.

Nintex’s Definitive Guide to America’s Most Broken Processes report details just how frustrated employees, including sales professionals, tend to be with regards to their employers’ manual processes. The report includes some insights that could help small businesses looking to improve processes to support their sales staff so they can spend less time on administrative tasks and more time actually selling.

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How to Fix Your Sales Process

Here are some tips for businesses looking to make positive changes to their sales processes.

Have a Set System for Document Management

If the members of your sales staff are constantly sorting through paper documents to find information on a client or attempting to create their own system to stay organized, that can take up a lot of their selling time. In fact, Nintex’s study found that 39 percent of employees have observed broken document management and sales processes in their organization. So this appears to be a major problem for businesses.

Instead, utilize a platform like Google Docs or Dropbox, or even a more robust system like Nintex, and outline how exactly employees should file their documents. Maybe you’ll have folders for specific types of documents or clients and keep items filed by client name alphabetically.

Ryan Duguid, senior Vice President of technology strategy at Nintex told Small Business Trends, “With so many qualified salespeople spending more time than necessary simply finding and sharing documents and data, valuable hours, opportunities and dollars are left on the table.”

Streamline Contract Approval

Getting sales contracts approved is also a major pain point for sales professionals, according to Nintex. The study found that 27 percent of employees believe the process of getting a sales contract signed, negotiated and approved is flawed. So this is a process you should definitely examine in your own business. There are plenty of virtual signature options out there that you can use to get everything signed and filed quickly, rather than relying on your staff to meet with clients and managers or supervisors in person just to get a few signatures.

Automate Where Possible

The theme of all these broken processes is that they’re tedious tasks that could simply be automated, as long as you’re willing to invest in the automation tools that will support your sales staff. Using a CRM can help you automate communication with customers. And tools like Nintex also give companies a way to automate things like document generation and workflows. These tools do represent an investment for your business. But Duguid argues that the benefits far outweigh that cost over the long run.

He says, “Even for small businesses, executives need to realize the impact that effective automation can have on productivity and ROI, as well as employee satisfaction.”

Provide CRM Training

However, simply investing in a CRM or automation system isn’t enough for a business to fix every broken process. Your employees also have to be able to use it effectively. According to a study from Introhive, 60 percent of sales professionals say they use CRM tools daily. But only 23 percent of them said that their CRM is very easy to use when looking for insights.

So to actually make the most of your CRM, you have to first choose the right option for your team — one that will make insight discovery simple. Then you have to actually teach your sales staff how to use it to uncover those insights. Both of these steps can take some time and trial and error. But it’s an important process if you want people to be able to actually use the information you collect.

Brent Leary of CRM Essentials said as part of the study, “Using a system that brings to your attention and surfaces
an insight that is relevant to your customer today can help salespeople build a strong customer relationship. That’s why these systems are so important – you can’t do it on your gut anymore, you need a system to help find a solution to your customer’s problem.”

Evaluate Your Current Systems Constantly

There are already so many automation tools out there. But there are new ones coming out constantly that could make an impact on your business. However, adopting new technology and processes can be difficult for businesses once they get into routines. So you have to set aside time to evaluate processes on a regular basis.

Duguid says, “Broken processes are typically deeply embedded in a workplace’s culture. Therefore, organizations need to do their due diligence when it comes to identifying and addressing inefficiencies and chart a plan to make improvements, automating one process at a time. Ask: what manual processes are our employees completing by hand that could easily be digitized? Next, evaluate which types of intelligent process automation platforms could improve processes quickly and affordably. This could mean implementing a cloud-based intelligent process automation platform like Nintex to automate, orchestrate and optimize business processes.”

Related reading: Creating a Sales Process for Your Business

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

7 Reactions
  1. Automation is important. Since it is now readily available, not using it is like depriving your business of its needed improvement.

  2. You also need to look at conversions and what part of your sales process is failing to deliver. A simple tweak may increase your sales.

  3. You need to always take the time to look at the gaps that you may have missed in your selling process. You can train the people or tweak your salespage.

  4. Monika Gotzmann

    Technology has enabled the automation of so many administrative tasks freeing up time to get on with the jobs that really require human input. Totally agree with your point about the importance of incorporating training not just implementing CRM systems.

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