The sales process is the cornerstone to driving the highest levels of sales performance. There’s so much data supporting this, one would think discussing sales process should be a non issue—-every organization should continually be strengthening their process, sales people should be executing them with precision. Yet, this is far from the truth. Too many don’t have or don’t use the sales process. Still others have poorly developed processes that actually hinder results.

Take a look at your process. If it doesn’t achieve the following 4 outcomes, then you need to go back to the drawing board. If you don’t have a process–then you are missing these outcomes, so put a process in place!

1. Does your sales process improve your win rates? Dugghhh–yet so many seem designed to achieve the opposite. It’s simple, your sales process is modeled after the key activities you execute to win. The sales process is a collection of the best experience in your organization–the things you consistently do that cause you to win. Why wouldn’t we want to collect these, learn from them, and execute those things that cause us to win time after time?

2. Does your sales process compress your sales cycle? The sales process focuses on the critical activities you have to execute to win. It eliminates all waste, all unnecessary steps. It enables you to move through the process in the most efficient means possible.

3. Does your sales process maximize deal profitability? This is one of the underestimated, but most powerful aspects of a great sales process. One is it forces you to focus on your sweet spot–that is, those customers where you can create the greatest value. Second, the process forces you to focus on identifying what your customers value–then positioning your solution in the context of what customers value most. Without a process, developing, communicating and delivering compelling/differentiated value is just a shot in the dark–we know how that ends, you either lose or have to discount like crazy to win.

4. Does your sales process align you with your customer’s buying process? The buying and selling processes are distinct. Some would claim the buying process is all we need to work with–but the buying process is owned by the customer. There are things we as sales professionals have to do in our sales process which are independent of the customer buying process. But the sales process has to be closely aligned with the customer buying process–otherwise, we are working at cross purposes and wasting each other’s time.

As sales professionals we focus on outcomes–results. To be successful, we have to help our customers produce results and compelling outcomes. To fulfill our responsibilities within our own organizations, we have to produce results. The sales process is the cornerstone to doing this consistently, effectively, and efficiently.

If your sales process isn’t producing these 4 outcomes, then it’s a bad process–fix it! If your people aren’t using the sales process, then they aren’t maximizing their impact–fix it! If you aren’t reinforcing the use of the sales process in all your reviews and coaching, then you aren’t fulfilling your responsibility as a leader–fix it!