In a process built along the lines we advocate it is critical that salespeople pursue a ‘sale’ at each business-development appointment. Now this sale may not be the achievement of the ultimate objective. In many cases it’s just permission to move to the next step in the (standardised) opportunity-management process. It may be that salespeople are conducting an initial appointment and selling the next step — an executive briefing. Or, in some cases, salespeople might choose to skip a step and convince the potential client to (say) request a proposal. But in either case, salespeople *must* sell. They must ‘ask for the sale’, where the sale may be the ultimate — or an intermediate — objective. Now, in a typical sales process, this tends not to happen. The opportunity-management process is an unstructured, ongoing dialogue. Obviously, this is sub-optimal, even in a typical sales process. But in a process designed around our principles, it’s a disaster! Remember, we’ve applied division of labour. This means that the selling must be performed by salespeople, and only salespeople. If salespeople, in the previous example, have sold an Executive Briefing, sales coordinators will call to schedule it — and only to schedule it (not to sell it). This means that the selling must have been done and done properly so that sales coordinators can focus on their job: which is scheduling. A common concern of management with respect to our method is that sales coordinators will not be capable salespeople. Well, management is right, they won’t. And they shouldn’t need to be. If you find that your sales coordinators need to sell, you need to confirm that (a) your opportunity management process consists of a sequence of discreet (concrete) steps and (b) that your salespeople really are selling.
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