Over the years I’ve come to the conclusion that many companies have either a business capture or a sales process mindset. If they have long sales cycles, up to a year or more, they tend to think they only need capture processes to pull in those complex deals. If they have short sales cycles, they think they only need sales skills processes to reach their goals. I believe both processes are essential to success.
- Business Capture Processes
Let’s review. The term business capture came about many years ago as companies competed for large government and highly regulated industry contracts. These were too big for one person to sell and too important for the companies to lose. Over time, capture processes were created and carried out by capture teams led by capture managers.
In business capture, critical actions are determined, specific team members are given responsibilities and deadlines are set. Sometimes capture processes are proprietary to individual companies and sometimes they can be outsourced. And many business capture templates are publicly available.
Business capture processes vary, but they’re all designed to get the team focused on important stuff that needs to be done. And they work well at that. But the problem comes when capture teams complete all 357 PowerPoint charts for management showing how many focused actions have been completed and they still lose the new order. In my opinion, many capture teams focus more on checklists than content. Capture processes tell you what needs to be done, not how to do it … such as how to sell.
- Sales Skills Processes
There may be more suggestions on how to sell than hits of “Baby Shark” on YouTube. Sales gurus have made a lot of money helping salespeople develop skills turning prospects into clients. And for good reason. Like business capture processes, there’s a linear flow to what salespeople do in their processes, all the way from getting a lead to closing a deal. And like business capture processes, if the fundamental sales process actions are followed, there’s a much higher chance of success.
The problem with companies who think they only need sales skills processes to grow their business is that they run the danger having their salespeople do a lot of activity with too little focus. Like “everyone out for a pass” in flag football, you can expend all your resources and get tackled by the competition before you even have a chance to throw the ball.
A linear sales skills process is not the answer for all companies in all markets. Neither is a full-blown business capture process. But a tailored capture process that helps identify markets, needs, buyers, competitors, budgets, prices, offerings and contact plans, combined with skilled salespeople methodically executing on winnable opportunities, is a hard-to-beat combination.
For every company, it’s not EITHER business capture processes OR sales skills processes. It’s BOTH/AND.