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How can ISO 9001:2015 help boost your sales activities?

While ISO 9001:2015 is strictly a quality management standard, it is considered a business tool by many people in today’s business environment. The benefits of implementing ISO 9001:2015 go far beyond the management of quality; it can also help your organization to improve performance, reduce supply chain costs, retain existing customers, and attract new ones. In a previous article: Six key benefits of ISO 9001 implementation, we examined the potential benefits in detail, but the sales industry has been one of the slowest to recognize the benefits that ISO 9001:2015 can bring. So, what benefits can your sales team perceive from ISO 9001:2015 implementation, and how can those benefits be used to help your organization’s profit margin?

How is ISO 9001:2015 relevant to your sales team?

If you analyze the last year of your sales team’s performance, and you have a working knowledge of the ISO 9001:2015 standard, then it’s not especially difficult to envisage how the adoption of standard processes and certification according to the standard might help your team. Has your team lost a customer in the last year? Does your organization have standard methods of winning, retaining, and gaining feedback to allow that relationship to flourish? When a mistake is made – which can be very costly in the sales world – do you have a prescribed method for fixing it and being confident that it will not be repeated? Are you good at the process of planning improvements to your team and process and reviewing the results effectively? I’m sure that if you answer these questions honestly, you will find that there is almost always room for improvement. So, let’s see how ISO 9001:2015 can help you to unlock that improvement:

  • Standardizing of processes: ISO 9001:2015 can help you standardize your processes, which in turn can provide the opportunity to examine how you work and drive improvement. The use of the “process approach” can also help integrate your processes and eliminate waste, as well as allowing your sales team to share common methodologies.
  • Use customer feedback to improve the system: ISO 9001:2015 can help you to build a closer relationship with your customers. In the article: How the ISO 9001:2015 standard can help you improve relationships with your customers, we examined how almost every clause has some effect on your performance and, therefore, your customers. Soliciting regular customer feedback can prove especially helpful here, obviously from using the feedback to drive improvement and improve customer satisfaction, and secondly, to help you encourage the habit of constant communication and close relationships with your clients.
  • Develop robust corrective action processes: In the event a mistake is made, ISO 9001:2015 helps you equip yourself with the correct processes to investigate root causes, eliminate them, and ensure there is no reoccurrence. In the event of dealing with a lost sale, an incorrect shipment, or a dissatisfied customer, effective corrective action can be critical to sales performance and the business overall.
  • Develop strong review and measurement processes: Similar to a sales environment, accurate measurement and review is a key element of the ISO 9001:2015 standard. Using key performance indicators established by the relevant stakeholders – and with the all-important top management input – can allow a sales team to be measured accurately and provide a factual foundation for improvement initiatives.
  • Risk management: This is a vital part of the ISO 9001:2015 standard, and an effective risk management process can provide an excellent foundation for your sales team to make decisions based on risks affecting the market at that time.
  • Encourage a culture of continual improvement: Nothing encourages success like success, especially in a sales environment. Continual improvement underpins the whole of ISO 9001:2015, and whether it is sharing new sales techniques as part of a “knowledge management” initiative, developing customer relationships, improving existing processes, or developing new ones, continual improvement can improve sales performance.
  • Qualify your organization for tenders: ISO 9001:2015 certification brings the added bonus of allowing your organization entry to markets and tender opportunities that may have been denied in the past. This will present whole new markets and opportunities for your sales team.

What else can ISO 9001:2015 bring to your sales team?

ISO 9001:2015 can bring a host of benefits, both direct and indirect, to your sales organization. A shared sense of purpose and focus can help inspire your sales team to new heights, and the credibility that certification gives your organization can often provide your sales team with a new edge, or “unique selling point.” In a previous article: Six greatest myths about ISO 9001, we examined the myths that surround the ISO 9001 process, and we learned that it can – and has been – adapted to every type of business. Why not consider implementing it in your sales business now, and get that vital edge that could take your sales performance to new heights?

To learn more about the business benefits of ISO 9001, read this free white paper: How ISO can 9001 help your business grow.

Advisera John Nolan
John Nolan
John Nolan is a Fellow of the Institute of Leaders and Managers in the United Kingdom, and Prince 2 accredited with a background in Engineering and Electronics and Data Storage and Transfer. Having studied and qualified as both a Mechanical and Electronic Engineer, he has spent the last 15 years designing and delivering Quality Systems and projects across many sectors in the UK, including both national and local government.