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So often, we find organizations whose sales teams are successful despite themselves. They win deals, grow the top line, yet have no sales process or methodology in place. The rest of the organization must “fall in line” and champion the growth. That is until margins start declining and sales opportunities begin to dry up.

Three main issues result from an undisciplined sales process:

1. Inter-Departmental Inefficiency

An organization’s success weighs heavily on all functions—not just sales—to be successful. Manufacturing must meet delivery and resource cost expectation. Accounting must manage cash and overhead effectively. Engineering must meet design and quality guidelines. Left to their own devices, even the best sales teams in the world can wreak havoc. The problem with these organizations is that everyone else (accounting, engineering, manufacturing, etc.) is left picking up the pieces after a deal is made.

Engineering must work overtime to develop specifications to meet what the sales team promised. Manufacturing must juggle production schedules and spend extra on materials and labor to meet unplanned demand. Accounting must allocate additional overhead to invoice and collect from the customer. In many cases, the CEO doesn’t want to hear excuses since the sales team is growing the top line.

2. Lost Revenue

But what happens when economic challenges limit sales growth? The organizations without a robust sales process are left with no choice but to let a portion of their sales team go. This costs the company money in several ways: severance costs are immediate, while trimming the sales organization may even cause deep shortfalls in revenue.

3. Higher Customer Acquisition Costs

Sales teams without a sales process or methodology waste time chasing deals they never had a chance of winning. The right qualification questions aren’t asked since the sales team tends to chase anything that smells like an opportunity. The last thing a sales team wants is to be forced to walk away from a deal. The tendency to shake a stick at anything that moves leads to wasted time in meetings with prospects and internal time discussing and debating the merits of a potential customer. Worse yet, the increased activity gives executives a false sense of security in increasing revenue, ultimately causing the company to fall short of revenue projections.

Bottom line: A robust sales process equips sales teams with the tools necessary to pursue viable opportunities and avoid empty pursuits. A structured sales process is more than just improving sales—it’s about fortifying the entire organization and ensuring long-term profitability. It’s an indispensable part of a successful business.

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