Continuous improvement in sales is a practice adopted by several companies to continuously obtain better results. It does not depend on the segment, size or product or service sold. To achieve the so desired excellence, some strategies and methodologies are necessary.
What company doesn’t want to improve its commercial process every day and delight its customers?
Differentiate yourself from the competition and show why your solution is really different: that’s what you want.
However, in order to reach the desired level, it is essential to apply continuous improvement processes in sales.
For this, a set of strategies and methodologies need to be applied. And, the purpose of this article is precise to help you and your company in this mission.
After all, it’s not because you’ve had a few good months of sales that should stagnate, right?
Literally overnight, some technology and/or innovation can change the scenario of certainties and convictions you had. And then, to make up for lost time, it will take more time.
So why not get ahead of yourself and be the innovation? Applying continuous improvement in sales leads you in this direction.
Want to know how?
What is continuous sales improvement?
Continuous improvement is the practice that several companies adopt to continuously achieve better results.
So, applying this logic to the sales process, it is about having practices, actions and strategies aimed at – obviously – increasing sales.
But, more than selling more: it is necessary to sell better. Selling to the right customer in the right way.
If you simply “push the sale”, you can achieve your goals and objectives. But will you have customers really satisfied and delighted with your brand?
However, there is no way to apply any kind of improvement if there is no standard within the sales routine.
Having indicators, that is, sales metrics help (a lot) to identify defects within the process.
They are fundamental in managing sales and the entire structure: people, budget, goals, tools, etc.
If each salesperson does what they want, on time and on terms they want, how do you know your process works?
In fact, there is no process there: each one sells and works as he pleases. And that’s bad.
So, obviously, the biggest tip of all to start a continuous improvement process is: define your process well.
The steps in the funnel, the activities at each step, scripts, attempts… whatever it takes.
Having a standard and having a record of everything that is done, you will be able to (then, yes) start to apply the necessary changes.
And if you’re a software-as-a-service company, we have a comprehensive guide to structuring your Saabs sales for you.
Benefits of the continuous improvement process in sales
What are the benefits of always improving your process? Well, that’s a pretty easy question to answer.
This, of course, for those companies that have already gone through the so-called digital transformation in the sales sector.
It is truly impossible to get the numbers and accurate information to improve processes.
Therefore, the use of a sales CRM is essential and fundamental for you to be able to increasingly improve your commercial routine.
That said, as you improve more and more, the reflection will be immediate and direct on the success of the customer consuming your brand.
Making them evangelizers of your company, who advocate and refer you to new customers is also another clear consequence.
But there are more points to highlight when you successfully apply continuous improvement processes in sales.
And we can highlight items like:
- improvement in customer service (both in a matter of time and assertiveness in the approach);
- increased productivity of the entire sales force, optimizing all activities to be done on a daily basis;
- this also reduces CAC, after all no one will waste time (thus money) with little useful or mechanical tasks that take up too much time;
- higher conversion rate at all stages of the pipeline, which inevitably improves your sales results;
- greater assertiveness in lead capture strategies, after all you will know your best customers and acquisition channels;
- increased professional engagement and motivation of the sales team: after all, with fluid processes, everyone feels better to work;
How to apply the continuous improvement process in sales with 3 different strategies
Concepts: ok. Benefit: ok. But how to actually implement a process of continuous improvement in sales in companies?
As we said, some methodologies are needed for this. And we’ve separated 3 of the most efficient and that meet the correction of existing problems:
- 5W2H ;
- SCRUM ;
- PDCA cycle.
Let’s see how each of them can improve your sales process:
1 – 5W2H
The use of this method serves to help organize ideas about what to apply for improvements and also doubts that constantly arise.
Especially because the application of new methods always brings uncertainties, impasses and is a huge challenge for everyone involved.
The use of this management tool helps to eliminate doubts and makes strategic planning more efficient.
This method basically consists of a checklist of specific questions and activities to be carried out with maximum clarity, efficiency and effectiveness by all participants.
Even so, 7 are the existing guidelines so that no doubt remains.
- What – what actions must be taken?
- Who – who are responsible for carrying out each action?
- When – what is the deadline for carrying out each action?
- Where – where will each action be performed?
- Why – what is the purpose of performing each action?
- How – how will each action take place?
- How much – the cost of each action to be taken for the company?
This methodology is efficient because it provides a map of activities, it is a guide document to make all improvement actions clearer.
And it also saves time and resources, after all, you will have every consequence clear. If any doesn’t make sense, it should be changed immediately.
2 – SCRUM
This is an agile methodology that helps different sectors of a company – not just sales.
But, of course, it applies well to the commercial area. That’s because it allows each salesperson to effectively control the action plan.
It’s also about prioritizing what’s really needed and making the routine less cumbersome: you’ll only do what you really can.
For this, of course, as with any methodology, planning is needed. And this happens through:
- Backlog – the activities selected for the sprint;
- Sprint – the time to carry out the chosen activities.
Within the sprint (which is the delivery time of the activities extracted from the backlog), there is a division:
- To do – the activities to be done;
- In progress – the activities started;
- Testing – activities completed but that still need to be validated (by a superior, colleague, client, etc.);
- Done – activities 100% completed.
At the end of each sprint, an evaluation meeting should be held and the positives and negatives discussed.
So, in the next one, each one will be able, more and more, to work in the ideal form and quantity, eliminating the impediments experienced in the previous sprint.
This management method is based on 4 steps to be able to control and apply continuous improvement in sales in processes and products:
- Plan (plan);
- Do (do);
- Check (check);
- Action (to act).
Like all methodologies, its application demands: focus, patience and discipline.
In practice, it works like this:
The initial step is always planning. Here, it is everyone’s role, not just the sales manager.
It’s time to:
- identify the main difficulties in daily life, seeking the whys and possibilities to overcome them;
- set goals and be clear where you want to go;
- Define an action plan to carry out the planning made.
Time to act. It is important for the sales team to be disciplined and stick to the plan.
Sales training is most welcome at this time. So, it is up to the managers to organize a daily period to train and review the best practices that were planned.
It is important to emphasize, once again, the importance of having a sales system to record all actions carried out – which will be decisive for the next step of the methodology.
Here again we see the need to have very clear, defined and verifiable metrics.
That’s why we talk about the importance of using a CRM. It is to him, at this moment that you will turn to.
- note conversion rates at each step of the funnel;
- the amount of opportunities won and lost and at what stages they occurred;
- Which products and services sold the most (and cross-reference with which customers they bought).
Basically you are going to measure everything you set out to do. Earlier, we mentioned some common issues that are often subject to continuous improvement.
From the check: what went completely right and what didn’t?
In the found faults, you restart the application of the methodology. So it’s a cycle.
You run and run as many times as necessary until you have no more failures.
This means continually seeking to improve the process in order to increasingly focus on the customer and their needs – which will thus lead to more and better sales.
So, how can we help you?
Enjoy and read two articles that will help you to have better results day after day in the commercial area.
The first talks about sales methodologies to be used at different times within your company.
The second talks about tips, strategies and practices to understand how to scale sales in your company.