Here’s an uncomfortable truth: most CEOs are in the dark about how sales happen. They might believe that if their company offers a great product or service, and if they have good salespeople, sales will just take care of themselves.
I believe that this mindset is incorrect — and it will eventually get any business into trouble, no matter how superior their product or service might be.
Compelling offerings and skilled people are essential, but they are not sufficient. You need a great sales process that is understood across the company.
Do you know your sales process?
Steady success in business comes down to a documented and optimized sales process that serves your customers and keeps them engaged with your brand.
As a digital sales and marketing coach at IMPACT, I work with all kinds of business and organizations to solve their revenue issues. I focus on building a sales process that is intentional, dependable, repeatable, and scalable.
In many cases, no such process has existed before. Rather, the company has allowed for cottage industry to take root in its sales team:
Different sales reps follow different processes
Some record call notes, some don’t
Sales and marketing aren’t aligned on priorities
Handoffs between team members are sloppy
Does this sound familiar? If so, then a digital sales and marketing coach could help you be better. Here’s how.
Why focusing on the sales process is critical
IMPACT’s comprehensive Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery program helps you take ownership of your content marketing in-house. Clients work with a variety of IMPACT team members to build their skills and plan their strategy. At the center of all of that work will be me (or one of my colleagues): your coach.
In the world of sports, a coach is there to help the best athletes get better. Serena Williams has a coach; LeBron James has a coach; Rory McIlroy has a coach. For each of these world-class top performers, the coach is there to help them see what they cannot see themselves, and to help organize their training and practice to maximize results.
Your digital sales and marketing coach from IMPACT will function in the same way. Your coach will help you fine-tune your processes to get the most out of the talent you have — and this always starts with the sales process.
When most companies come to us, they say that they don’t have enough leads coming in
Sure, every company wants more leads, but thinking that your revenue problem is just about leads is misguided. It’s not about leads; it’s about perfecting your process.
When I first sit down with the leaders of a client company, I ask them about their sales numbers. 90% of them can’t speak to any numbers connected to sales, so they have to start digging.
I’m looking for information about SQLs, MQLs, and the number of prospects in the top, middle, and bottom of the sales funnel. I want to make sure there aren’t any strange bulges in the funnel. (It should look like the standard cone shaped funnel, not like a boa constrictor who just swallowed a gazelle.)
Then, I want to see data about close rates, deal size, and other performance metrics.
Pretty quickly I find a few things: Some companies actually have no real way of reporting this data, which means it isn’t being tracked. Other companies might have different numbers depending on whom you ask (sales and marketing might disagree on what a SQL is, for example).
Businesses should always be making decisions based on data, and if that data doesn’t exist — or is disputed — you can’t be making the best decisions.
Finding common ground with data is an important first step.
Once we start agreeing on accurate data, we can start looking at the real problems. Again, I’ve found that many companies don’t actually know what the real problems are. They believe it’s about leads. It’s actually about process.
Optimizing your sales process
I begin by looking at the sales process from a high level. This involves asking questions that might prompt uncertainty or disagreement. For instance, I will ask “If you were to look at your sales flow, where would you say the bottleneck is?” I ask this sort of question because it is contentious. These questions prompt the self-scrutiny necessary for alignment and growth.
For the sales process, I am looking for clear, logical movement. I want to understand every touchpoint a buyer would see between first contact and closed deal.
Particular areas of focus for me are:
Communication between the company and the prospect
Communication within the company, starting with sales and marketing teams
Only when we identify the problems can we start working on the solutions. For everything we do, every change we make, I am looking for data to support it. We need proof to know what the best solutions will be.
Therefore, the first step isn't just diving into the sales process. Rather, it's being open to the process of exploration and reflection.
This is the part that takes guts. Digging into your sales process is akin to opening up Pandora's box.
It’s not about blame; it’s about finding solutions
According to a study published by the American Medical Association, as many as 80% of people lie to their doctors. That means that, chances are you do too. Patients might exaggerate the amount of exercise they’ve been doing, or downplay how much red meat they eat — all to avoid that disapproving look or to face the realities of their unhealthy choices.
We do this because we feel guilty and we fear being judged.
Your digital sales and marketing coach will be something of a doctor to your company. We will start by looking at all of your vitals — the numbers that show the financial health of your company. To best suggest solutions, we need to truly know what the problems are.
With some clients in the past, we have encountered resistance, and even some dishonesty. But you are not served by either. If you can be open with us, we can help you revolutionize your business.
When everyone is aligned, and moving in the same direction, you can truly reach your full potential.
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