Want to boost sales? Don’t DIY the sales process

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The do-it-yourself culture has proliferated in the past decade. I, too, caught the DIY bug, watching shows like “Rehab Addict” or “Property Brothers” before my wife and I bought our first home.

The DIY culture isn’t limited to homeowners; it’s also ingrained in sales culture. However, if you need to boost sales, applying DIY to the sales process is a recipe for disaster.

If you want it to be professional, call a professional

Before discussing DIY risks in sales, back to my homeowner travails. After we bought our move-in ready home, I found opportunities to tear down walls, run new electrical, plumbing, insulation, and more – all with the help of YouTube videos. Every project was completed after some trial and error, and not always on budget or on time.

I know I’m not alone. At a recent corporate meeting, employees were asked to share photos their DIY disasters for a chance to win a $2,500 home improvement store gift card. Entries included:

  • Carpet doesn’t belong in the kitchen
  • One thing leads to another…
  • The sideways toilet

With their penchant for DIY, sales reps run the risk of creating their own disasters. According to the Sales Management Association, CRM adoption has not met expectations for more than 60% of companies. That means thousands of sales reps are DIY’ing their sales process – how they prospect and qualify leads, how they conduct retail execution store visits, or even how much they should discount each deal.

This haphazard approach to the sales process can result in missed opportunities, unmet sales goals, and ultimately, lost revenue.

Three ways to optimize the sales process

Here are three tips to avoid a DIY sales disaster and help your sellers deliver a great customer experience that wins deals and boosts sales:

1. Just-in-time sales training

When I start a planning a project, I review installation guides and YouTube videos. I always have to refer back to those resources on my mobile phone to guide me through each step during the project. Sales reps are no different. They forget much of what they learn the first time around and need ongoing training and enablement to guide them through every step of the process.

When your SDRs are doing a prospecting call blitz, do they know the pitch and the questions to ask? When field sales reps are visiting their customers and store locations, do they know what to look for to ensure promotional compliance? To avoid a disastrous selling and customer experience and to accelerate on-boarding, make sure your team has access to just-in-time sales training anytime, anywhere, on any device.

2. Make CRM more valuable for sales

People DIY the sales process because they believe they know better. No matter how big or complex the project is, they believe they can watch a video and deliver the same quality and outcome as a professional. It’s often only a matter of time before disaster strikes and forces them to pull in a professional to help.

In the case of sales, reps avoid CRM and DIY their sales process because they believe the CRM doesn’t provide value. For sales reps, traditional CRM often simply means a lot of tedious manual data entry.

Sales reps are more likely to use a CRM platform that helps them focus their efforts by automatically scoring and highlighting the healthiest accounts and best leads. They’re also more likely to adopt the system if it provides intelligent training and content recommendations to help them provide a great customer experience and win more deals.

If the CRM is integrated with email applications, sales reps can easily link their calendars with appointments and tasks. That way, they can focus on selling rather than manual inputs. And if the platform is integrated with other sales tools such as Configure, Price, Quote, sales reps can get accurate quotes to customers  quickly to help them close deals faster.

3. Provide intelligent pricing and configuration guidance

For DIYers, it’s easy to underestimate the cost of a project and realize that it may have been cheaper to hire a professional. They also often wind up making countless trips to the hardware store when they forget something or buy the wrong thing.

In their zeal to close a deal, sales reps taking the DIY approach will do whatever it takes, even if it cuts into margins. Over-discounting is a pervasive problem for many companies, a recent survey found.

With an intelligent CPQ, AI-driven recommendations guide the reps to the right products and their configurations for customers so buyers get what they need from start. AI also helps maintain margins with guardrails and price optimization to prevent sales reps from over-discounting.

DIY may be all the rage, but there are significant pitfalls, especially for sales reps who think they know it all and can close every deal their own way. By taking steps to set sellers up for success and improving the sales experience, organizations can keep them on track for better results.

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Shawn Willett
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Shawn Willett

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