A Step by Step Plan to Implement Sales Pass

Applying project discipline to a large complex sale seems like a logical step for success, but getting account managers and cross functional sales teams to agree to this can be challenging. In Four Key Strategies to Implement Sales Pass Program Support, I laid out the following strategies to start the process to implement Sales Pass:

  • Do Not Mandate Sales Productivity Top-Down
  • Find a Sale That Will Be Successful
  • Sell the Concept to the Account Manager

If you've accomplished these high level strategies, the next step is to gain the trust of the extended cross functional teams (the sales pursuit team). Then you can implement Sales Productivity. Like all new ideas and approaches, this has to be done carefully using the "camel's nose in the tent" approach -- slowly and carefully.

Gaining the Trust of the Account Team

Assuming the account manager is on board with the concept to implement Sales Pass and is willing to try it, here are the steps to gaining the trust of the entire group.

Remember, your objective at this stage is to sell the concept, not solve the problem.

  1. The account manager should introduce the Sales Pass concept at a team call. At first, the project manager will not even attend meetings. Having an outsider on the call could upset an already overworked team, so the account manager will record the team meetings as part of a phased approach.
  2. Based on the team meeting recording, the project manager will compile minutes and action items.
  3. The account manager will allow the project manager to follow up with one of the cross functional teams responsible for technical services. This group should be chosen carefully. Find the team that has the most issues AND will be the most receptive to a third party following up with them.
  4. Once there is positive feedback from the cross functional team, this should be discussed on the team call. At this point, the account manager will introduce the virtual project manager to the rest of the team.
  5. The account manager gradually will start to hand off follow up items to the entire cross functional team. It is an incremental process until the project manager has interacted with everyone necessary to make the sale a success.
  6. Finally, the account manager will ask the project manager to run the team call. The project manager at this point will so effective on the call that the account manager will have the acceptance of the entire team to hand off all future meetings. This is a critical step because at this point, the entire team is on board.

Implement Sales Pass through a Sales Project Plan

Once the virtual project manager gains the team trust, the first task is to call a series of status update meetings. This allows the project manager to capture the team deliverables in a project plan.

To be successful, the virtual project manager on a new Sales Pass assignment needs to understand who is involved in the sale and what each person needs to do for the sale to be successful. Seems like a simple concept until you consider that many of these people also support other sales initiatives. They are a scarce resource and they allocate their time based on which sales they think are going to close. If you can demonstrate to them that with Sales Pass, the sale has a better chance of success, then you will have more of their attention.

The virtual project manager will ensure the relationships that the sale needs are in place. This means that those scarce technical resources will be there when the account manager needs them.

The virtual project manager will ensure the relationships that the sale needs are in place. This means that those scarce technical resources will be there when the account manager needs them.

Usually, the virtual project manager will suggest interfacing with the customer team to gather additional requirements. Because there's rapid progress in the sales process, the customer typically reports back favorably.

The Account Manager Closes the Deal

After two months, the deal signs. The account manager has also ramped up deals in his other accounts and looks forward to a superstar year.

Freeing highly paid and valuable resources to sell is smart business. By offloading daily activities that drag on productivity, you can spread your most valuable account managers across more customers. This means that account teams can focus on pushing a sale towards completion instead of being bogged down in endless detail. And it also means that you'll see results faster and, better yet, your customers experience a more cohesive process.

Increased customer focus improves customer loyalty and satisfaction and keeps competition at bay. Your account reps will handle more opportunities, increase repeat sales, and get referrals.

Convinced that your sales team could be more effective if they had less administrative overhead? Interested in learning more? Drop us a line or check out our other posts on Sales Pass.