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When the Sales Process is Obsolete…

Posted on  30 June 11  by 

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sales processDo your reps keep telling you they’re on the verge of closing deals, yet nothing ever seems to come in? Are the accounts you’re winning taking longer to close, but there’s no clear indication as to why?  Well, you are not alone.

Over the past year, member organizations have been telling us how they’ve been struggling with both extending sales cycle times and increasingly stalled business, but they’re not really sure what’s to blame. However, one trend has emerged across these conversations: reps and customers do not seem to be on the same page when it comes to gauging deal progress.

Typically, reps and mangers measure deal progress by the completion of sales activities (e.g. sales calls made, presentations given, meetings had with senior stakeholders, etc.). But, there’s one glaring problem with this approach: it doesn’t account for where the customer actually stands in the sale, and as a result, reps can easily engage contacts who are not ready to move forward with the deal.

Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP) recognized this when it determined that its extending cycle times and stalled deals were a consequence of reps pushing customers through the sales process prematurely.

To tackle this issue, ADP created “Buying Made Easy,” a powerful pacing and coaching tool that not only revolutionized how its reps approach sales, but also yielded a fivefold return on investment within six months of rollout.

What sets ADP’s Buying Made Easy tool apart is that it doesn’t allow the sales process to dictate the pace of the sale, per conventional wisdom. Instead, it paces the sale around the customer’s buying process by synching rep actions with “Buyer Signals,” tangible actions that verify the customer’s readiness to move forward in the sale.

Using customer and high performing rep interviews, ADP determined that its customers’ buying process consists of eight distinct stages to which they assigned Buyer Signals/verifiers. In order for reps to move through that process, customers must first demonstrate the Buyer Signal(s) associated with each stage before the rep can act on the next one. This way, reps don’t outpace the customer, vastly improving conversion rates.

SEC Members, to learn more about customer verifiers and ADP’s Buying Made Easy tool, make sure to register for the upcoming webinar on July 27th featuring Ken Powell, VP of Worldwide Sales Enablement, and Amy Annee, Senior Director of World Wide Sales Learning for ADP, who will discuss how they built the tool, how it works, and how you can shift your organization’s focus from the internal selling process to the customer’s buying process.

Also be sure to check out ADP’s best practice and the Council’s Deal Verification Toolkit from this year’s study, Rewriting the Playbook: How High Performers Win the Consensus-Based Sale.

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