How and Why You Need Customer Verifiable Outcomes in Your Sales Process
By definition, a process is a systematic series of repeatable actions or steps intended to achieve a result. When followed, these steps lead to predictable and expected outcomes. A sales process allows salespeople and sales managers to identify, qualify, diagnose, and measure opportunities and then determine the next step in the sales process. It also enables sales managers to quickly and easily identify bottlenecks and produce an accurate sales revenue forecast.
In this blog post I'm going to share with you how and why you need customer driven verifiable outcomes in your sales process.
Sales Process Lifecycle Stages Using Verifiable Outcomes
Sales process lifecycle stages are designed to help you organize your opportunities based on where the seller and the buyer reside within the sales process. A verifiable outcome is an observable, verifiable fact that proves that the seller has successfully completed a step in the sales process. Think of verifiable outcomes as stage specific exit criteria; they tell the salesperson they have successfully completed a step in the sales process and are now ready to move to the next stage of the sales process.
There are two two types of verifiable outcomes; Sales Driven Verifiable Outcomes, and Customer Driven Verifiable Outcomes.
Sales driven verifiable outcomes are based on observable and verifiable tasks, activities and/or artifacts that the salesperson completes or produces. This is most common in the staffing industry. Examples include:
- Sent proposal
- Sent MSA
- Candidate submitted
- Left voice mail
- Sent email
Customer driven verifiable outcomes are based on observable and verifiable tasks, activities and artifacts that the customer completes and/or produces. For example, the first step to your sales process may be “Deal Identified.” The customer driven verifiable outcome that proves whether or not the salesperson has successfully completed the Deal Identified stage might be:
- The customer verbally shared their pain points or problem(s) to be solved
- The customer verbally shared their level of commitment and interest in taking action to solve the problem(s)
- The customer verbally indicated to the salesperson that they want the salesperson’s help and that their offering could be the right solution to solving their problem(s)
In this case we refer to these verifiable outcome as a customer driven verifiable outcomes because it is the customer who produces the verifiable outcome by verbally sharing this information with the salesperson. Other staffing industry specific examples include:
- Agreed to interview time slots
- Signed our MSA
- Interview feedback
With a buyer aligned sales process, each stage of the sales process is aligned with how your customers buy. This means you will rely on customer driven verifiable outcomes for telling you, the seller, whether or not you and your buyer have successfully completed each step of the sales process.
One of the biggest benefits of having customer driven verifiable outcomes is that it keeps sellers aligned with their buyers regarding the things they must do in order to buy from them. The application of customer driven verifiable outcomes allows sellers to test whether or not the customer is moving along with the seller in the process because customer driven verifiable outcomes are observable, verifiable facts that proves that customer is moving along and executing the steps in their buying process. An example of this might be signing your NDA, agreeing to a discovery meeting or committing to candidate interview times.
Without applying verifiable outcomes, sales professionals would be stuck with relying on gut instinct which leads to making incorrect assumptions, lost opportunities and an inaccurate sales forecast.
About Dan Fisher
Dan Fisher is founder and owner of Menemsha Group, a provider of sales enablement solutions dedicated to helping IT staffing firms improve win rates, shorten their sales cycle, and increase revenue per sales rep. Since launching Menemsha Group in 2008, Dan has consulted with over 200 IT staffing firms and has invested over 5000 hours coaching IT staffing sales reps. He’s authored is his own proprietary sales methodology and has previously spoken at Staffing World, TechServe Alliance and Bullhorn Live 2012. Prior to launching Menemsha Group, Dan spent 16 years in the IT industry running local, regional and national sales teams. Dan worked for Kelly Services, Oracle Corporation and Alliance Consulting. Dan currently resides in Boston, Ma.