“Best practice” always sounds to me as a mantra of management consultants. It seems that every conscious manager would like to implement best practices inside their own organization. In most cases it also sounds like something external and invented in a laboratory of some best of breed companies. Without any doubt, one of the core competences of a leader is to generate best practices. However I can declare it is a blunder not trying to search for best practices inside your own organization even if you are not #1 yet. Exactly you and your colleagues do have the unique knowledge and “know-hows”.
The most difficult task is to recognize this knowledge, unify it and transfer through to all in the organization making best practice your own standard. Just imagine how you can improve your performance when you capture best practices, distribute them for all of the teams and practice make them in your day to day activity.
Business Process Management (BPM) approach helps to put on the wheel these practices and enable you to drive innovations on a regular basis. So, let’s try to define how your organization can ensure this. Let’s consider sales best practices as one of the highly-valuable processes in CRM cycle.
The first way: Super Heroes in action
Every organization has outstanding employees who are simply the best in their field. And even if you don’t have them right now just look around and you can easily find former sales stars among your executives or in your own chair :). The best sales reps perform better because of different reasons: they are more productive and try harder, they use more creative approach during sales planning and execution, they are more skilled etc. So summarizing and simplifying, we can assume that the best sales reps act differently. What if you can map their typical sales activities and compare them with activities of average player in sales department? You will see the difference. So you will be able to align sales productivity and increase win rates by placing actions of your best sales rep as a standard for the entire team and executing this process in your BPM/CRM solution.
Here are the steps you should follow to implement the mentioned approach:
- Analyze typical actions (the flow and every single step) of the best rep/reps. In case of few models you need to figure out general similarities.
- Simplify and generalize the process and steps (the main point is the ability to enable execution by an average rep without overrun of resources and efforts).
- Add some hints and additional tools as you move on in the process (it can be examples of rebuttals, scripts...).
- Set key process indicators (terms, outcomes, happypaths etc).
- Publish all the process with additional tools into your CRM and execute it.
- Monitor key process indicators in order to refresh or change the practice.
Critics may argue that the actions of the best reps are an art, not a practice. Nevertheless I think that even an art can be dismantled and the features generalized. Of course the devil is in the details but major priority is to increase effectiveness. You don’t need to copycat all actions and create ideal embodiment of success; you need to improve typical practices in your team enriching them with best practices.
The second way: A Process with multiple outcomes
Another option is an empiric-based model where you can discover and collect knowledge using flexibility of choices in business processes. As I mentioned above from day to day your sales teams have been executing typical flows of actions using different approaches, steps etc. Some of these flows are quite effective (in terms of win rates, time and specific KPI’s) and some of them are not. In order to boost the performance and simplify time-consuming actions you ought to create business process in your CRM/BPM system and allow multiple outcomes for every single step (sales rep can decide to proceed not only with recommended next step but also with any other). By implementing this technique you will be able to see the big picture of execution and compare your general process with other steps, even those which you never take into consideration.
So here is the action plan:
- Create a pilot team / teams and give them the responsibility to make decisions during a whole sales cycle even if decisions are not based in your current practices and recommendations. The main criterion is to pick which follow-up activity will be more effective in a particular case based on their feeling.
- Add into your standard sales process the ability to decide and move to every single next step.
- Collect the statistics of process execution and analyze paths, bottlenecks, time consuming actions which do not lead to expected result and which lead conversely.
- Identify happypath (path with minimum resources input/maximum result).
- Add changes to your standard process and compare performance with recent period.
Here is a sample Process Statistics Report which was built in BPMonline CRM to help make right decision in streamlining processes.
Please bear in the mind that BPM approach can be the only “trusted-advisor” for you to ensure smart and comprehensive decisions. All improvements should be based on strategy and experience. However this cutting-edge technology can be a great tool to enrich your practice and allow you to act differently and more effectively than competitors.