Best Practices

What is your definition of Best Practices? Does your company employ them? Would you be surprised if the majority of your sales team didn’t have a clear understanding of what best practices are all about?

Here’s my definition. Best practices assumes that there is a technique, process or methodology that is more effective at delivering a particular outcome than any other process, methodology or technique.

While it is true that with a proper methodology, process or technique in place (and being used) your deliverables can be received by your customers with fewer problems & unforeseen complications.

Best practices can aso defined as the most efficient & effective way of accomplishing a task, based on REPEATABLE procedures that have proven themselves over a long period of time for large numbers of people.

As the term has become more popular, some organizations have begun using the term to refer to what are in fact company policies & procedures.

It’s not a surprise that most employees have no clue what best practices are, after all how many new employees actually read the company’s policies and procedures? If you’re like most, you simply check it off without giving it another thought.

I have been in many product presentations with a consultant or sales person when out of their mouths comes the best practices phrase. Afterwards I asked one salesperson what that meant. His reply was, “I’m not sure. I know that it sounds good, customers seem to like it.”

My second point is that best practices makes the assumption that there are processes in place. That is an assumption that is dangerous to make. The truth is that most sales staffs don’t have written sales process, Needs Analysis, Summary of Findings, etc. as part of their sales arsenal. To couple the problem, most companys  just want to get the deal closed, forget all that paperwork. What they’re missing is the long term value that having these procedures in place will bring. They’re too locked into the deal that might get away if they don’t get in front of the prospect right away. Is that best practices? Does it provide the prospect with any value? Is the sales person differentiating himself from the competition? I answer with an emphatic “No.”

Remember that the most successful best practices are repeatable events that have proven themselves.

While each sales situation is unique the goal is the same. It’s time to put back some bite into  the phrase Best Practices by actually practicing what is best for our customers and prospects.

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