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  • John Pomeroy

Sales, Your Most Important System (episode 1)

Not only is your Sales System one of the most important systems you will create, it is also one the most challenging.

Why is it so challenging? Perhaps it's because sales is

often a significantly undervalued part of early planning processes. All too often it's merely an afterthought.You may feel that you don’t need to worry about sales until later because you don’t have a product to sell yet. Maybe one of your founders is an amazing salesperson so you’ve got it covered, or maybe you’ve got a top notch salesperson on staff and he/she has their own way of doing things "So that’s OK." There is a long list of reasons why you might not be paying as much attention to building and documenting a Sales System as you should be. No doubt writing another document is painful and writing one about sales may not be in your comfort zone, all the more reason to get started today. Don’t worry, if you watch my blog over the next 8 weeks, I will be publishing a series of posts touching on various components of a B2B Sales System including, segments titled Sales IQ, Message, Process, Methodologies, Recruiting, Alignment, Scaling, Tune up, and ROO. This should help make the task easier.

Let’s start by defining what a Sales System is. You may have heard of various sales methodologies; acronyms and names such as SPIN, SNAP, NEAT, Challenger, and MEDDIC abound. You might have also heard of sales processes defined as "a repeatable set of steps taken to move a prospect from introduction to a closed customer." Why in the world do we now have to have a Sales System? Think of the Sales System like the mothership. Inside that mothership you have sales processes and sales methodologies, in fact you should also have a portion of every other process or methodology in your organization sharing a ride on that mothership. That's why your Sales System is so important, it touches everything you do. Sales processes and methodologies are employed primarily by your sales team while your Sales System is bigger than that, quite simply encompassing the roles and relationships of every part of your organization as they relate to maximizing sales results and scalability.

Your Sales System is a blueprint. It defines the stakeholders and the (two way) relationships with each of them from product development to customer service, what fundamental elements will serve as guideposts for Sales System implementation, who are the sponsors and decision makers involved, what are the high-level dependencies and expectations relative to the rest of the company. Most importantly, your Sales System is just that, “Yours.” It must account for the nature of your company, your products, your marketplace, your business plan, etc. If you are just getting started, it may include rough timelines for goal achievement such as “Establishing a documented Sales Process before launching first product.” or “Identifying preferred Sales methodologies aligned with corporate values before engaging your first customer.” It should also identify the cadence of Sales System review: "Review overall Sales System and system components each month during the1st two quarters of active sales and then quarterly thereafter.” (Not the same as the cadence for evaluating your sales process, which is likely a daily thing in the beginning.)

It's never too early to start creating your Sales System. Just going through the process of creating one will inform many other things you are doing. If you are just writing your business plan, consider integrating your Sales System definition as part of the overall plan. If you are already underway, but have not launched a product, starting with a Sales System definition will inform your ongoing product development, product management, marketing, go to market strategy and ultimately time to money. Even if you don’t have a product yet, sales efforts may need to get started well before you go to market so what is the timing for that? If you already have a customer or two and are selling products, congratulations, you already have a Sales System! Documenting it will help you to define all of what your existing Sales System actually is. From there you have a way to measure progress, determine how you can scale it and begin to see ways to optimize for rapid growth.

We use systems in engineering, finance, and operations to ensure repeatability, efficiency, quality, automation, and more in our businesses. We can’t operate without them, sales is no different.


#sales #salessystem #businessplanning #startup #salesprocess #salesmethodology

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