It’s Time to Improve the Sales Process UX
“UX” or User Experience has become a huge point of discussion and differentiation in world of digital product design. Some trace the origins of UX to Steve Jobs, when he unveiled the iPhone at MacWorld in 2007. The reality is that we have all been experiencing products for hundreds of years – some with a better experience than others. What Steve Jobs did was take it mainstream to a whole new level, creating an amazing new benchmark for smartphones. What resulted was nothing less than a revolution that wiped out most of the competition, that simply couldn’t keep up.
If you have a spare 15 minutes, here is a video of Steve introducing his new phone, in a new product launch that few would realize how incredibly disruptive it would actually become.
The Sales Process Experience: It’s Time for a Revolution
The seeds of a new revolution is starting to occur in the field of sales. As is the case in the beginning with disruptions, only a few are aware of the significance of this growing importance of user experience while it is happening. The change I am referring to is how sales performance is managed, the experience of what it is like being a sale professional, and how performance improvement can be coached for improvement in the experience and ultimately, the output or results.
This disruption has its roots in the User Experience (UX) revolution that started with the iPhone. But this time, it has nothing to do with a digital product. Instead, it is with regards to a digital process. Product UX is still a driving force in product design, but increasingly, process UX is being recognized too as a point of differentiation of how we achieve our means to an end, yielding important breakthrough results.
Sales Management Processes Today
Anyone who has had a role in sales – regardless the product – understands that a sequence of steps leads to a successful sale. Speaking from experience gained in the world of enterprise software, sales success is optimized when you solve a business problem, do so at a lower cost (or at least a cost that is at par with the competition), and have references to validate you can do what you said you would do.
Obviously, much, much more is involved in repeating the above described process, to execute flawlessly during every sale and to maintain a consistent experience during the process. This explains why some succeed and others fail. Some of these differences can be attributed to better marketing, happier customers, superior product knowledge or just dumb luck.
Another defining factor is the User Experience that is part of the sales process – from both the perspective of the end user and the sales person tasked with closing the sale. Let me explain.
Time to Improve the Sales Process
Most sales teams operating across a distributed region use some sort of productivity tracking Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application. Salesforce.com is a popular one; many others exist. These systems exist so management has an idea on how the month / quarter / year will pan out. Sales is quota driven. CRM systems can be used to avoid surprises and increase chances for success.
A key challenge is how to collect the data, which is often unstructured so must often be manually entered. This way contact info, next steps or decision maker requirements can be captured, shared and worked through to close the deal. It also provides a great source to list sales activities for sales management to complete weekly reports.
With this approach, the data tracked is more likely to be tied to the sale. Of course, this is important data, but it won’t help to improve the sales process. That data is often hard to see or track, and will often be incorrect, if entered at all in a CRM application. Most importantly, as the quality of the UX declines, so too does the quality of the data. Some of the metrics sales managers seek to better understand might not be deemed important enough to enter. Here the GIGO expression plays out – Garbage In, Garbage Out.
Further, sales professionals don’t typically like taking the time to enter information that isn’t going to help them close a sale. Time might be better spent working on the sale, instead of populating fields for a report.
A Solution to the UX Woes
Fortunately, as new digitization trends take root across new disciplines, new options now exist for sales management – options that can help provide visibility to the sales process, to then be used for performance improvement. Tracking software can add to what is already captured in CRM systems to provide new insights into what a successful sales process looks like, which can then be shared with others.
Software solutions, such as those offered by Prodoscore can shed new light on what sales activities do make a difference. These types of solutions operate in the background, so don’t disrupt the sales process. The cloud offers a unique delivery mechanism such that activity can be tracked regardless of the device, location or application being worked in. This ubiquitous type of coverage can help improve consistency in the process, leading to more consistently achieving quota on a monthly recurring basis. This intelligence can be insightful, revealing and disruptive to the sales process – just the same way that the original iPhone rocked that industry with a new UX design. The only different today is that the UX being innovated is now in the process instead of the product.