SMBs lose £15,000 a month to poor sales processes

Sales is existential. Whatever your business, organisation or personal mission, you will need to persuade people and sell something every day. In truth, all UK business owners, entrepreneurs and general managers are salespeople.

Evolving consumer behaviour and expectations are challenging sales teams more than ever, and a global economy can change a sales environment rapidly. For many, growth feels elusive.

New data from 1,000 UK sales professionals, conducted by YouGov and commissioned by sales customer relationship management (CRM) software provider Pipedrive, reveals that sales as a function has been neglected. In fact,  significant inefficiencies and errors now culminate in the average UK business losing £15,000 of revenue a month.

Overall, nearly three quarters of respondents were disappointed with their sales performance.

The data also reflects how many sales teams feel unsupported or under-invested within their companies. Worryingly, fewer than one in four feel part of a well-motivated sales team.

Pipedrive’s chief revenue officer Laurence Bret-Stern has decades of experience with transformative technology. Pipedrive was founded to create a sales pipeline tool specifically to help small and medium-sized businesses build a scalable sales process.

“Too many companies with innovative products or great service simply perish because of an inability to sell,” warns Ms Bret-Stern. “Some mistakenly think that strong product expertise and a great network will guarantee success. It’s time for those responsible for business growth to develop a structured, scalable process for selling.”

Pipedrive advises that a focus on targets and quotas alone only adds pressure and stress. Instead, businesses should concentrate on the highest priority activities needed for the best chance of closing a deal. An effective sales process helps a salesperson understand exactly what they need to do to maximise results.

“A strong sales process is focused on activities, not outcomes. Just like running a marathon, if you just focus on the finish line and not your pace, you won’t complete the race. Without a structured process, managers become fixated on results rather than optimising what they can control,” she adds.

According to the report, technology used in many businesses is not fully optimising sales activities. A staggering one in four still rely on pen and paper to manage their sales pipeline, and one in three are not using all the software available to them. Overall, nearly two thirds are not satisfied with the technology they use in their sales work.

Growing businesses will benefit from software that is specifically designed to scale their individual sales process. For example, Pipedrive is a cloud-driven software that provides sales teams with a platform for shared success.

“Sales technology, when used correctly, provides structure and reduces constant pressures by removing manual tasks and distractions. Rather than worrying about results, salespeople can be confident that if they complete the right activities at the right time, the business can expect successful outcomes,” advises Ms Bret-Stern.

Performance increases when teams have the right technology and skills to organise activities, and prioritise customer relationships before, during and after individual sales

The right sales CRM will prioritise a sales team’s work based on the activities mandated by an established sales process. Such software allows the salesperson to focus their time on what matters most: selling.

According to Ms Bret-Stern, UK companies must take advantage of automation technology designed to minimise the administrative burden of managing sales. “Our 75,000 customers show us that performance increases when sales teams have the right technology and skills to organise activities, and prioritise customer relationships before, during and after individual sales,” she says.

UK sales teams can reverse past trends. Using a focused, activity-based sales approach and complementary sales technology, UK companies can and will crush growth obstacles and scale faster. To help on the way, Ms Bret-Stern shares her top-five keys to sales success:

01 Stick to your strengths

02 Focus on the right activities

03 Lead customer conversations

04 Use mobile functionalities

05 If you fail, fail quickly and regroup.