Write down all the things you are expected to do in your sales position under the appropriate column, being sure to estimate how long each task takes to complete in an average day.
When you think you've captured everything, ask yourself if you are expected to spend more time following a set process or actually out starting, advancing and closing business. The column that contains a majority of your time will tell you where your company's focus is. Process or results!
Examples of Processes in Sales Careers
Every sales company has established processes in place. Many of these are critical, some are important, some may be somewhat beneficial and some are simply a waste of valuable time.
As you look through this list, understand that some that are grouped under processes can also be considered to be Sales Activities. For example, working on your sales skills is critical to your long-term success in sales but your company's approach to sales skills may seem more like a process than a benefit.
While the level of importance varies from company to company, here is a list of typical processes that are common in the sales industry.
- Forecasting-whether the forecast be monthly, quarterly or yearly
- Pipeline Management
- Updating customer records
- Managing closed deals through the billing process
- Credit approvals
- Collections (recovering bad debt)
- Sales Meetings
- Internal Conference calls
- Checking and Responding to eMail
- Product Training
- Sales Skill Training
While this list doesn't include all the different types of processes that your position may include, it lists the most common across the sales industry.
Just making this list, however, does not mean that a process is bad or a waste of time. In fact, nearly all of these items can be beneficial. Even being expected to collect on past due debts from non-paying customers could create additional sales opportunities.
Example of Sales Activities
Not to be too basic or simple, but this list of pure sales activities are things that you as a sales professional need to do to start, advance and close deals.
These are 100% focused to driving revenue, results and income.
- Designing Proposals
- Closing Deals
- Customer Meetings
- Strategic Team Account Meetings
- Account Strategy Design
- Marketing Efforts
- Asking for Referrals and References
- Handling Customer/Prospect Objections
- Handling Customer/Prospect Compaints
What to do if Process is More Important
While every sales position will include some degree of process, companies that have a greater emphasis on their processes rather than on allowing their sales force to spend the majority of their time driving revenue, are companies that are either dealing poorly with significant changes or have simply lost focus on what it most important.
No matter how many process related expectations your position has, if the time demanded to complete these processes still allow for enough actual selling time, then your company is probably learned how to balance the need for process with the demand for results.
If however the processes take too much time away from actual sales, and despite your focus on getting better at managing your way through the processes, your company probably has lost its way.
If the latter is the case, it is decision time. You need to decide if turning in your notice in and joining the job seeking ranks is worth it for you. Remember, you are in sales and you get paid for your results. If your company doesn't allow you enough time to sell, your bank account will suffer.