Are You Happy With Your Sales Process?

How satisfied are you with your sales process?  Well, extensive data from sales professionals across 32 countries shows that most salespeople are ‘just about satisfied’ and highlights significant scope for sales performance improvement.

Most sellers show a 65% level of satisfaction or confidence in how they sell. That is in how they convert leads (valuable contacts) to orders and ultimately into satisfied customers and repeat sales.  The visual below shows the source of this statistic. You can find more details by clicking here.

The 65% rating is somewhat surprising. But, as we will see, the factors behind the overall level of confidence or satisfaction are no mystery.


Understanding Seller Satisfaction Levels

The graph below shows the level of satisfaction with the key stages of the sale.  It shows that some stages, particularly leads, have the effect of taking down the level of overall confidence among sellers.


Leads has the effect of significantly reducing overall satisfaction with the sales process among sales people – indeed it takes about 10% off the overall rating.

Sales people have long complained about lead generation, but look at the graph and you will find another more surprising stage of the sale that has the effect of pulling down the average.  It is the sales orders stage involving proposals, closing and negotiation – areas where seller confidence is less than complete.


Are Managers More, or Less Satisfied?

Are managers more or less satisfied with the sales process than their teams?  Well, the answer is a surprising ‘no’.  Managers and their teams appear to be on the same page when it comes to sales performance – there is only a 2% difference.

satisfaction with the sales processBoth sides are equally capable of being critical of the sales approach. The responses for both managers and sales staff suggest that there is still a long way to go in terms of sales excellence.


Different Perceptions Within Sales Teams

An average is a useful figure, but of course it does not present the full picture. What the 65% average does not show is that satisfaction with sales process varies greatly from salesperson to salesperson, even in the same sales organization.

The gap between the highest and the lowest rating is typically as much as 30% with most sales people falling within 15% either side of the average rating.  The following page from a SellerNAV® team report is an example of this.

sales team analysis

So, while the average rating is 65% there are some salespeople in most companies that will rate it as low as 50% and others who rate it as high as 80%.  So, who is right? Well, this is what makes the sales performance debate very interesting.

All team members rate the sales process and its various steps in the same way – so what could explain the variation in results? Clearly, the process of assessment reveals as much about the salesperson as it does about the process.


Critical Self-Reflection

The modest 65% rating is somewhat surprising – it seems to fly in the face of the stereo-type of the super confident salesperson.

Scientists tell us that up to 80% of the population have an in-built optimism bias.  As humans, not only are we prone to more positively view events around us, but we tend to take a positive view of our own performance too. The result can be an inflated self image, or what scientists call a self-enhancement bias.   

If asked most salespeople would likely say that they are in the top 25% in terms of their ability to sell. Yet the average score from the SellerNAV® assessment is just 65%.  That is something in which the SellerNAV®’s designers point to as a major achievement  in terms of overcoming response bias.  The results show an unusually high level of introspection and critical reflection.