When scope creep sneaks into your projects, it can totally derail your sales team and lead to unsatisfied clients. Scope creep happens when a project keeps changing and work extends or “creeps” beyond what was initially agreed upon.

It may start small, but then start to pile up. Before you know it, the project has grown substantially without any changes to the budget. This might look like a client requesting repeated changes after approving something. Or, it may involve deadlines continually getting pushed back due to key stakeholders not being involved.

Sarah Ribeiro, a content marketer who contributes to the Trello blog, says that scope creep often happens due to undefined expectations, too many people involved in a project or a lack of communication. Multiple people are usually involved in projects, making it more likely for complications to arise.

So, how can you help prevent scope creep on your sales team? Read on. We share Ribeiro’s top tips in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

Create a detailed statement of work. The first step to avoiding scope creep is to provide a clear scope of work document that everyone understands and commits to. Ribeiro recommends laying it out in a digestible format so it’s easy to see the project, goals, resources and stakeholders. Be as precise as possible, aiming to really drill down on the details.

Develop a schedule. After creating a statement of work, it’s important to establish deadlines for each specific task. By using a tool like Trello, everyone on your sales team can see tasks and how much time they should be budgeting for each one. Sales leaders can also quickly see any work bottlenecks and address them to keep the project moving ahead.

Stay flexible. Scope creep doesn’t necessarily have to happen when project scope changes. The key is to remain flexible and track and communicate all changes. This way everyone stays informed and no one is caught off guard. Also, remember that not all scope creep is bad. Sometimes, scope creep can benefit both your sales team and your clients. For example, you might be able to upsell a product or service, thus benefitting your client and bringing in more revenue for your organization. Change can sometimes lead to opportunity, so remain flexible in how you react to it.

Communicate often. Communication is critical when it comes to avoiding scope creep. Ribeiro recommends over-communicating since there are often many team members and decision-makers involved. And if you are working with a client who isn’t quite sure what they want, work with them to narrow down their vision. Scope creep can easily take over creative projects unless you clearly communicate the deliverables, deadlines and process.

While scope creep can sometimes be a good thing, it’s usually a drain on everyone’s resources. That’s why it’s important to get ahead of scope creep before it happens. You can do this by being as detailed as possible upfront, creating a schedule and overly communicating to prevent any misunderstanding or confusion.
Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Sarah Ribeiro is a content marketer and social media specialist who contributes posts to the Trello blog.