By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company

In my experience when implementing CRM software, many companies define a single set of milestones to reflect the steps that need to be taken for large transactions. In the same way you don’t want to kill a mosquito with a cannon, this can make adherence to the process unwieldy or even impossible for smaller transactions where there should be fewer process steps. Sellers often have transactional business where applying the single set of milestones would be far too time consuming.

sales tips for setting milestonesThe good news is the heavy lifting has been done after defining the steps to be done in major opportunities. The most complex would probably be closing prospects that have not done business with a vendor before in that they have to become familiar with the company, may need a written cost vs. benefit, will have to execute new legal documents, etc. In stark contrast, many of these steps should be skipped with customers placing orders for offerings they already have installed. 

Other types of transactions that require custom milestones might be: 

  • Global accounts
  • Large accounts
  • SMB clients
  • Add-on business
  • Professional services
  • Renewals

Another approach is for companies to require milestones based upon transaction sizes rather than leave it up to salespeople to make that determination

It is important that the steps required be proportional to the size of opportunities. If the number of milestones is overkill, companies run the risk of having salespeople (rightfully) not follow the process. This is a slippery slope and can adversely affect adoption of the software that has been implemented.