Building A Sales Process That Maximizes Your Time And Opportunities As A Digital Agency
“Ryan Gum, the CEO of Attach (“a company that gives salespeople a view into their buyers’ behavior and interests by telling them what happens to their sales decks after they hit send,”), is highly involved in the sales process because the company is an early-stage startup.
One of the company’s biggest ever deals was their first completely unaffiliated customer, which is a huge deal in Software-as-a-Service.
“To ask someone who doesn’t know you to take a bet on a completely unproven product is a tough sell,” Gum said. “With no sales process in place, we started by sending out 10 personalized emails to target customers.
Out of 10, 2 of them replied. One of them said ‘Sounds interesting, let’s talk in 6 months.’ 6 months? We hadn’t even been around 6 weeks! The other one ended up becoming our first client.”
For Attach, it was a real struggle to close this deal, because the team was literally starting from nothing.
There was no sales process, no track record, and no proof that their product offered real value to the market. All they had was a product that they believed would help salespeople, and they decided to use it strategically during the sales process.
Gum said he believes this tactic helped the sales team make a real impact, stand out, and ultimately get prospects excited enough to take a risk on them and close the deal.
The success in Attach’s story helps us see; if we can get one customer, we can probably get two. If we can get 2 we can get 10, and if we can get 10, we can get 100. Giving them the confidence that we were on the right track, – that’s all you need to keep going.”
Imagine your sales manager were to leave your business tomorrow. Would you know how many sales are about to close? How much revenue to expect next month? Or how much it costs you to acquire a customer?
If you answered no to any of these questions, then it’s probably time to create or update your sales process.
Your sales process is or is clearly defined, repeatable processes will help you forecast sales volume and increase revenue.
It defines steps to be followed and roles for team members, and “putting it down on paper allows you to plan, forecast, evaluate performance and optimize what you do.”
Simply put, it is a potential customer’s journey from realizing they have a need for your product or service to making an actual purchase.
And since the sales process is a journey for a prospect, it is a roadmap for a salesperson.
Most sales teams in companies are aware that they go through a similar process, not many of them decide to outline and standardize the process, leaving it all up to individual sales reps to decide what steps to take and when.
In our everyday language: “They wing it”
The logic is quite clear: as long as salespeople keep on closing sales and bringing revenue, how they do it – is their own business.
But, unless you are a natural-born sales rep, you can and will significantly benefit from a standardized sales process and improve measuring, forecasting and general management of sales.
There are four (4) things you need to master when building a sales process and this helps you to maximize your time and focus on other profitable opportunities in business.
1. Your head game
2. Agency positioning
3. Your marketing
4. Your sales
Your Head Game – “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” ~Oscar Wilde
According to economist Sendhil Mullainathan and behavior scientist Eldar Shafir, in their book Scarcity: The New Science of Having Less and How it Defines Our Lives, scarcity is more than just lack of a needed resource, it is a mindset:
“Scarcity captures the mind…when we experience scarcity of any kind, we become absorbed by it. The mind orients automatically, powerfully, toward unfulfilled needs.
For the hungry, that need is food…For the cash-strapped it might be this month’s rent…Scarcity is more than just the displeasure of having very little. It changes how we think. It imposes itself on our minds.”
Plus the more we become absorbed by scarcity the less chance we have to get rid of it.
That’s right — when you are living in scarcity the single biggest threat to your financial well-being is you!
This leads to doing all sorts of stupid things — selling stocks when the market is crashing, buying things you don’t need when you don’t have the money to pay for them, and caving into scarcity driven sales tactics — and the list goes on!
It’s your HEAD GAME at play here – “ABUNDANCE VS SCARCITY
We live a world where people often feel terrified — terrified of not having enough money, not having enough time, not having enough support, not having enough experience, not having enough intelligence, not having enough friends, fear of missing out — all of these things roll up to the idea that the world doesn’t have enough and we are, personally, not enough.
The abundance approach is to not let scarcity thinking overtake us. We should try to focus on abundance as much as possible, but it’s something you have to be intentional about.
Agency Positioning – What kind of first impression are you making with potential clients?
Have you ever really thought about it?
Your website, what does it say?
What do you say in that first cold call? or at a sales meeting?
How can you stand out?
The Killer Cs that all digital companies face—Competition, Commoditization and Clowns…
Will they wreck your business, or will you stomp on them like shoes on bugs and ants.
Most importantly, how can you grow if you don’t know who you are?
That’s what positioning your agency is all about—going through a process of first introspection, then definition, to get at the core of who you want to be as a business.
You’ll be able to take what you’ve learned about yourself and your company and filter all of your marketing activities through it. Your positioning statement will make it all possible.
A better knowledge of who you actually are, and marketing that—maybe for the first time in the history of your company—reflects your true value.
Your firm exists to create value for clients. Positioning is how you articulate that value to clients.
Brands sell themselves based on the perceived value, not the costs. But the ever-popular refrain, “We’re creative” is not a credible statement for value-creation.
Positioning is the way to approach prospecting sales strategy. That means focusing your firm not on a wide approach but on specific markets where you can create uncontested value.
Your Marketing – “Marketing’s responsibility is to warm up prospects”
Marketing includes “the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.”
Marketing understands that all leads go through a life cycle of sorts. You need to create and promote content that is geared towards warming the prospect up. Your content can be in the form of blog posts, video, ebooks, whitepapers, and more.
Your content should be commonly distributed via the company website, marketing automation and email communication.
At the point your prospect is ready to talk to the sales team, they are primed for a deeper discussion about the product or service.
The goal of most marketing activities is to drive leads, which will convert to new customers and grow the business.
To do this effectively, however, a deep integration between marketing and sales is needed, and it starts with shared information and processes.
Your Sales – “58% of companies don’t have a tailored approach to the different moments in the customer’s journey”.
This is the act and activity of engaging with prospects or customers to sell. The challenge for every business is to equip every salesperson with the ability to consistently and systematically have valuable conversations either online or offline with the right set of customers at each stage of the customer’s journey to optimize the results of the sales process steps.
The guiding principle in any sales process has to be concerned with maximizing selling time, customer acquisition and relationship building.
You need to know that aligning the sales effort with the sales process takes work.
Sales leaders sometimes have to overcome the fear that disrupting the current process will impact revenue.
All stakeholders from sales, marketing, support, and finance will need to work together to prioritize the expected steps in the sales process.
This is about visioning the future, seeing the bigger picture, and focusing on the best sales process steps to boost the time spent selling regardless of past practices.
Take ownership of your sales process as a digital agency. Do not put the people you hire (such as the Business Development Manager) on commission – put them on a bonus package or else they will jumble up price packages for you.
Your sales process is essential to your success. If you’re struggling with your sales process, don’t sweat it, you’ve come to the right post.
By improving your sales process, your sales team will become more efficient, which means higher revenue. So, take a few minutes to read these 4 steps guaranteed to help.