Why Sales Process Adherence Is Key to Making Quota

By Spencer Wixom, President and CEO, The Brooks Group
Two people stand in front of a busy whiteboard one is watching while the other writes and holds a laptop.

What makes a winning sales team? Skills, knowledge, tools, the right hires – and sticking with your sales process.

I’m sure your organization has a sales process. Most teams do. But it’s not enough to simply have one. New data from our Best Practices of High-Performing Sales Teams research report shows that 95% of teams who met or exceeded sales goals followed their sales process all or most of the time. Sales teams that don’t follow their sales process consistently have difficulty meeting sales goals.

The message is clear: Mapping out a process, integrating it into your CRM, reinforcing it, and coaching to it is the path to success in 2024. When your organization adheres to a well-defined sales process and delivers continuous training around essential selling skills, you will see higher performance.

Here are three reasons you should ramp sales process adherence – and four ways to do it.

Three Reasons Why Your Team Needs to Follow Your Sales Process

Macroeconomic Uncertainty

Companies selling in the B2B market face both uncertainty and opportunity at every turn: economic headwinds, customer budgets level-set or cut, limited funding, and purchase decisions delayed or even canceled. Teams that have a strong sales process and adhere to it are more resilient in the face of unexpected shifts.

New Buyer Expectations

There have been huge disruptions in how B2B customers make purchasing decisions and how they actually buy. B2B buyer expectations have reached a new level. They want a seamless buying experience similar to that of B2C, according to McKinsey. This means personalizing communications and offering a hybrid mix of traditional, remote, and self-service channels. Teams that have a strong sales process and adhere to it are more able to meet these demands.

Market Pace and Complexity

The pace and complexity of B2B sales grow every year. Your team needs to be agile and ready to leverage new information, customer demands, market shifts, and competitive intelligence at any moment. Teams that have a strong sales process and adhere to it have the agility they need to respond to objections, competitors, or new information.

Six Key Steps of an Effective Sales Process

Successful B2B sales professionals today use a consultative sales approach that’s straightforward, flexible, and buyer-focused. The best sales process to support this approach has clearly defined, repeatable steps that allow your sales team to meet prospects and customers where they are in the buying process.

Six key steps of a sales process that aligns with the sales cycle are:

  1. Prospecting and pre-call planning
  2. Engaging customers and building relationships
  3. Discovery and questioning
  4. Presenting proposals and quoting price
  5. Managing objections and negotiating terms
  6. Closing

This process enables sales professionals to maintain alignment, build credibility, engage in meaningful dialogue that progresses the sale, and improve the predictability of your sales funnel.

Learn more about The Brooks Group’s award-winning IMPACT sales process training.

Four Ways to Improve Sales Process Adherence

Even in an uncertain environment, successful sales teams have found a way to meet or exceed targets and feel confident in their ability to do it again in 2024: sales process adherence.

Here are four steps you can take to encourage your sales professionals to adhere to – and reap the benefits of – your sales process.

1. Adopt, communicate, and enforce a clear sales process.

The first step is to have a well-defined process and communicate to your team the value of following it. Prioritize the sales process in new hire onboarding and reinforce the benefits of adherence for every sales professional, new or experienced.

2. Provide skills training that incorporates the process.

Bake your sales process into your training; the two should go hand-in-hand. This will give your team the skills to succeed at every step of the sales cycle, from researching and connecting with your target buyer persona to managing objections and negotiating in a way that leads to more closed business.

3. Empower sales managers to reinforce and coach.

Reinforcing your sales process through coaching is critical. Successful sales teams are more likely to leverage coaching as part of their training-and-development strategy. But sales managers must be empowered to deliver it. Make sure your managers have the skills to reinforce your sales process and the support they need to provide regular coaching.

4. Integrate the sales process into your CRM.

Research shows that 62% of successful teams integrate the sales process into their CRM; only 40% of underperforming teams do. CRM integration also drives sales process adherence. 89% of teams that have integrated their sales process into their CRM follow their sales process all or most of the time. Integrating your sales process into your CRM aligns your workflow with sales goals and is a convenient way to reinforce the process.

Focus on Sales Process Adherence in 2024

Which way is 2024 going to go? It’s a good question. In the face of uncertainty, the time is right to invest in your sales process. No matter what 2024 throws at you, having a sales process – and sticking with it – will make the biggest impact on quota attainment. This year, focus on enabling agile, capable professionals who can sell regardless of market forces, and take your performance to the next level.

Spencer Wixom is the president and CEO of The Brooks Group, an award-winning sales training and development company known for its IMPACT Selling® sales training program.