Your product is rock solid. There’s a proven market for it. You’re experienced and respected in the business. So why aren’t sales skyrocketing? After decades of leading technology industry sales teams, I’m willing to wager I know the answer. You’re lacking the essential foundation of an effective sales process.
If that answer wasn’t the magic-wand fix you were hoping for, stick with me here. It’s understandable that creating and implementing a new process may seem no-can-do while you’re juggling the daily demands of a business. But taking it one step at a time can make it manageable, and the payoff will be well worth the effort. Here are some proven pointers to get you started.
1. Understand Your Potential Customers
Understanding the process your customers take to research, analyze and purchase your offering is instrumental. There is a need to align with each client’s unique processes and purchasing patterns. Are they savvy about managed services or still more comfortable with the break/fix model? Do they need to be educated, and how much? Will their project budgets allow them to dive into all you can offer, or will they be testing the water one toe at a time? Avoid setting in stone any process that will only grind against what works best for your customers.
2. Know Why You Need a Sales Process
Process provides the security and consistency of structure, while guarding against duplication of efforts and clarifying roles and accountability. While defined processes might not seem important to a small staff that can effectively juggle business on the fly, they are an absolutely essential foundation for expansion. When you’re spending less effort trying to figure out how things are really going or who does what next, more energy can be devoted to the strategy and growth of your business.
3. Specify Roles and Responsibilities
Members of an effective and focused sales team must each understand and commit to their individual roles, as well as how their responsibilities play into an overall shared goal. To help you in the defining these roles, take a look at this breakdown.
4. Qualify Your Leads
Sales start with leads. To avoid spinning wheels and wasting resources, you need to dig into the true potential value of each one. Develop a qualification process that looks realistically at whether a prospect is a good fit for your organization. Are they serious or just window shopping? Do they have the budget? Do your products and services make sense for them? Are you talking to the decision maker? Determine specific parameters and classify your leads to give yourself a big picture of what’s in your pipeline.
5. If It Can Be Automated, It Should Be
Automation puts you on top of your business in a way not even the best mind-like-a-steel-trap can accomplish. A business management platform helps smooth the entire sales experience from first contact to closing, providing you with a clear view of every step. A customer relationship management (CRM) tool keeps track of client data, preferences and history—valuable insight for building customer satisfaction and charting future growth. Automation can help your sales team focus on what they do best--selling.
6. Manage Your Pipeline
Nothing about your sales should be a mystery. Being able to see where each prospective deal is at any given time allows you to gauge what’s flowing and what’s stuck along your sales pipeline. Over time, you may notice a measurable pattern to the flow that needs to be adjusted. Again, make automation your friend in gaining full visibility to every part of your sales machine.
7. Create a Culture of Accountability
A successful sales team requires careful attention at all stages--from hiring to training to, when necessary, firing. Even with a strong-performing team in place, automated tracking of your sales reps’ progress and activities can reveal areas where additional training and support would be beneficial.
Take steps to improve your sales process, and you may soon find the payoff in a solid bottom line that soars to new heights.
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Adam Slutskin is senior vice president of worldwide sales, ConnectWise. Adam’s uncanny ability for uncovering hidden talent, and his dedication to putting the customer first, has enabled him to lead his team to record sales month after month. Adam joined ConnectWise in 2010 as a director of sales. Now as the senior vice president of worldwide sales, Adam leads a global sales team of more than 100 colleagues on the ConnectWise Business Development, Channel, Sales Operations, Account Management and Sales teams. Adam’s efforts over the years have resulted in record customer attainment and revenue growth. Under his leadership, the sales team’s mantra is "customer first."