Sales performance, process and quality assurance are intricately linked. High performing sales teams follow rigorous processes and assess quality at every step which in turn leads to the highest performance possible.
Sales quality assurance (or Sales QA) helps sales teams uphold the standards and expectations of the company. Sales QA determines where the sales team follows or deviates from company policies and procedures. Following established policies and procedures leads to improved and more predictable sales results. Sales QA should be viewed as continuous feedback and improvement for the sales team. What is measured, improves.
Sales QA should be a multifaceted review of each deal inspected. Sales QA should inspect both deals that went to closed won and those that were closed lost. There are opportunities for improvement in both areas. Sales QA is often only done on those deals that close. This will tell a company what good looks like. When conducting Sales QA on deals that do not close, the company can determine why deals fail which is often a result of improperly qualified opportunities using techniques like BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing).
Sales QA is especially important in highly regulated industries like securities sales, insurance sales, and the like. It is imperative that a Sales QA process is implemented to have ample warning that deals are not in compliance thus enabling the company to redirect the transgressing team member and confirm future compliance with established policies and procedures.
Where possible, call recordings, email correspondence, chat transcripts, field notes, quotes, contracts, and other sales related documents should all be examined as part of the Sales QA process. Documentation standards should be enforced throughout the sales cycle to ensure that client facing communication no matter if the deal closes or not meets the company’s expectations. In highly regulated industries, failing to retain certain records for mandated retention periods could be costly in the event of regulatory inspections or civil or criminal litigation.
It is equally important to review the details of deals that do not close. When Sales QA is applied to deals that do not close this help pinpoint where sales reps are lacking sales skills, value propositions, and delivering on customer expectations. It is also important to apply Sales QA to upper funnel sales activities. When sales team members are inconsistent in progressing leads to opportunities, lax in qualifying those leads using established criteria, and neglect to nurture leads in the pipeline that are not ready to progress, there is a cascading and multiplying effect on the opportunity creation and closed won ratios.
Frequency of inspection is dependent upon having the necessary resources. A dedicated team of Sales QA personnel – which in some companies is called the compliance department – is crucial to the consistent application of the Sales QA function. More leads and more deals and more of everything means more inspections and more inspection points. It is most often that case that only a few deals are inspected and many more go without review. It simply may not be possible to inspect every deal.
When Sales QA resources are scarce and deals are plenty, this is where data inspection plays a heavy role. The data logged in the company’s customer relationship management system (CRM) is the output of sales actions and the processes followed. Every action should be logged in the CRM. There is often a lot of missing activity and data that simply is not updated. It is common to find that sales teams have a less than stellar track record when it comes to keeping the company CRM updated.
While success does leave ample tracks, lack of success leaves gaps. When the sales team deviates from the established process, the data in the CRM will reflect this. There will be missing data and inconsistent data in the CRM. And this can be reported on. Sales reports can be run to find objects in the CRM where there is missing data. To catch all the errors and know which records need updates, it is possible you would need a lot of reports. However, there is a better solution.
It is to score leads, contacts and accounts, or opportunities for completeness. Extract the data from the CRM, drop the results into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, create a mix of if-then-else formulas that reflect your company’s business rules, use conditional formatting to highlight errors, and compute a score for each record. Scores can then be tallied to rank sales team members and their compliance to data hygiene and process. This process can be clunky in that the data must be extracted from the CRM, loaded into Excel, computations and pivot tables need to be updated, and files can be quite large if there are either lots for fields or lots of records.
However, there is an even better way. It is possible to score these CRM objects right in the CRM. Salesforce, for example, has formula fields that can be used to individually compute scores for leads, contacts, and opportunities in real time as these deals progress. Real time scoring would give immediate feedback to the sale team as to their data quality and compliance as deals progress. Sales Managers, Sales QA, and Compliance teams would have on demand access to aggregate reporting that highlighted leads, contacts and opportunities that fell below certain thresholds. This would enable near real time feedback to all interested parties.
The closer Sales QA scores are computed when and where data is entered, the better the feedback to the sales team. The result should be higher compliance and improved scores will reflect this. Building business rules and rules for data consistency and completeness is not easy. If rules change over time and the build-in rules do not reflect the current procedures and process, the results will simply be ignored. And if ignored, the sales team will become lax.
Once you have Sales QA scores, you can start to investigate trends over time for the sale team and by individual team members. You can also compare Sales QA scores cross different lead sources and verticals. If history tracking is turned on in Salesforce for the computed Sales QA score, the progress of the score by record can be examined. History tracking is a distinctive feature in Salesforce that keeps track of changes in values for specific fields by date and the user making the change. This of course, would be more difficult to do with Excel-based scoring.
Everyone wins when there is a rigorous Sales Quality Assurance program: the customers win, the sales reps win, the company wins. Sales QA is not a replacement for the compliance department and its compliance officers. Nor is Sales Quality Assurance a replacement for sales training and coaching. Sales QA and scoring, whether within the CRM in near real time or outside the CRM for subsequent inspection, supports quality, compliance and sales coaching. Scoring is a robust approach to Sales QA and is a win for everyone.
About the Author
Stephen Howell is a multifaceted expert with a wealth of experience in technology, business management, and development. He is the innovative mind behind the cutting-edge Chatbot ChatGPT plugin for WordPress. Utilizing the robust capabilities of OpenAI's API, this conversational chatbot can dramatically enhance your website's user engagement. Visit Chatbot ChatGPT to explore how to elevate your visitors' experience, and stay connected with his latest advancements and offerings in the WordPress community.