Did you know that 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up? The average sales person only makes two attempts to reach a prospect. Eighty percent of sales require five follow-up phone calls after the meeting. Research shows that 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.
Are you making some of these mistakes? Are your clients making some or all of these mistakes? What do you do about it and what’s the impact to revenue if you can fix all of or at least most of these basic blocking and tackling mistakes inherent in your sales process? The answer is significant!
Even the simplest sales process improvements, when properly designed, deployed, managed and tracked produces major improvements in all of the key metrics.
Here’s how to create an inbound sales process for your agency and for your clients too, if you’re so moved to do so.
Start With The Current State
If you don’t know where you are today, you can’t possibly know how to get where you want to go. Your first step in this journey is to document your current sales process, no matter how good, bad or ugly. Taking the time to get this down on paper is an excellent way to start the conversation about effectiveness and gives you a visual map to see exactly what your prospects are experiencing once they get into your sales process.
Yes, the map needs to be visual, not an outline in Word, but a series of images in PowerPoint. This type of process is better suited to a picture as opposed to words. Plus, the upgrades we’re going to recommend are better suited to slipping in visually than adding lines on an outline.
Consider Every (and I mean every) Touchpoint
When you’re creating this current state sales process visual map, don’t leave out any touchpoint. This includes emails, meetings, texts, CRM updates, phone calls and lead nurturing. I want EVERYTHING on this map. Every hand written note, every visit, every person’s interaction with a prospect. The receptionist, the sales support person, the sales manager, whatever your current process is, if you touch the prospect in anyway, it needs to be on this map.
This is going to be a lot less interesting when you look at the current state but extremely interesting as you start to create a much more inbound sales centric sales process. As an example, the current process might say, send references. But when we redesign the process and recommend a Reference Reel instead, the email, the link, the video, the follow up and the steps post Reference Reel will all need to be scripted and thought out.
Keep A Prospect's Feelings In Mind
if you get the idea behind mapping the current process, let’s move on and start talking about the new process. While you’re working on this, keep this in mind, know, like and trust! This is your goal all through your process redesign. How do I get the prospect to know me (us), like us and trust us?
People make purchase decisions emotionally and they have to feel (yes feel, inside their bodies) that their decision is a safe one. Your process has to be designed to deliver that emotional connection AND get them to feel safe with your product or service options.
Your new process has to include any and all steps required to get your prospects and your clients’ prospects to feel safe and be emotionally connected. This isn’t always easy, but it’s much more effective when you have a recipe as opposed to trying to do it from scratch every time you have a new prospect.
Here’s a great example. If you start sending prospects educational articles they’ll feel (there’s that word again) like you’re actually trying to help them, as opposed to trying to sell them. Make sure the information is in context to the issues and challenges they’re facing. Do this well and you’re on our way to more new clients and a shorter sales cycle.
Make It About Them, Not About You
So many people ask me, “when do you do a capabilities presentation?” The answer is never! That’s all about me. I want this process and you want this process to be all about them. To be blunt, your prospects don’t care how long you’ve been in business and they don’t care how many people work for your agency nor do they care who you currently work with. They just want to know how you're going to help them with their marketing challenges.
With that in mind, make sure your process is ALL ABOUT THEM. Get them talking about their business, their metrics, their marketing, their goals, their team, their hopes, their dreams and their expectations. The more you get them talking about themselves the safer they’ll feel and the better your chances.
Eventually you’ll have to talk a little bit about you, but keep that in context of what you can do for them. No matter what you say about your shop, always bring it back around to them. Here’s an example, we have all our interactive team members in house, which means we’ll be able to respond quickly to any changes you need, like the changes that need to get done by tomorrow, we’ll have a team to handle that, in just a few hours after you request it.
Use All The Right Sales Tools
Don’t leave anything on the bench. This is your chance to shine. Rollout your best website design examples, case studies, success stories, metrics reports, content examples, or whatever you need to tell your story. Integrate these tools into your new sales process. You’re not creating robots who simply do the same thing every time they get a prospect but sales people who use the new sales process and all the new tools that come along with it.
If your prospect is interested in content, you don’t send them website examples. So anyone involved in business development or sales is going to need to be able to understand what a prospect wants and needs to feel safe. This is where some training and adjustments might come into play. You have to teach them how to use the new process and any new tools you’re integrating into the new sales process.
Build In Conversion Metrics
Once the new process map is completed you're going to want to track metrics around the performance of the new process vs. the old process. Yes, number of new customers, revenue and sales cycle are going to be easier to track but you also want to track all the conversion rates up and down the sales funnel. You’re also going to want to benchmark the current state of these conversion rates before you rollout your new inbound sales process.
Conversion rates for all leads into sales qualified leads. Sales qualified leads into actual sales opportunities. Sales opportunities into proposals/agreements and then agreements into new customers. Knowing these numbers are going to help you prioritize adjustments and optimization opportunities for the new process. Without these numbers you won’t know what modifications the new process needs and it will need them. Think ongoing optimization out of the gate and you’ll be in a better spot 30 days out when you’re ready to adjust.
Once you have your new sales process map created you’re not done. Actually, the fun is just beginning because you have to use it. Take it out for a test drive. Use it for a good 30 days, as designed, before you make any changes to it. If you’re the only one using, that’s going to be easier. But if you have sales people or if your clients have sales people then it’s going to require a rollout, communication and training program to get everyone on the same page.
Since you’re changing behavior that has been ingrained with years of use, don’t kid yourself, it’s going to be uncomfortable for everyone. Make sure you’re aware that this is a major change management effort which will come with positive and negative experiences. Be responsive and adaptive, but don’t give in too early either. Once people start seeing results and positive reactions to the new process, you’ll gain buy-in and the effort should pick up speed. Try to be patient and try to keep your clients patient too. The results will be well worth it, once everyone is using the same process.
Start Today Tip – As Nike says, Just Do It. You have to sit down and map out your existing sales process to see where the holes are in it. It’s going to be easier to add upgrades once you see your current process in a visual format. From there, you might not get it right immediately, but you’ll have a template for a process that you can make subtle changes to over time. The end result for every sales process should be the rallying cry which your prospects sing, “we have to hire this company.” If your prospects and your clients’ prospects are not saying this at the end of the process—you have more work to do.
P.S. Want more sales and biz dev advice? Want more new clients for your agency? How about an easier way to get clients to say yes? If you do then consider joining the Inbound Sales Cohort. Click here to get more info on the group. If you're ready to join, cilck here or click the button to the right and In just two hours a month, you'll be closing more new clients left and right.
Agencies 2 Inbound – Helping You Go ALL IN ON Inbound!