A good sales process consists of 3 main things: tools, a pipeline and the sales methodology. These are the three critical components that nearly all of your lead generation activities fall into. First, you need tools to support your key processes. Tools are what you use to conduct your sales and marketing activities such as calling leads, sending out email marketing campaigns and more. They automate these activities for you, so you can spend your time doing more important things.
Then, you need a pipeline to guide your sales process through stages your leads go through before they make a buying decision. Establishing standards to this process is easier than trying to figure things out ad hoc. If you try to manually keep track of this process, you run the risk of missing important information and losing out on deals. Finally, you need a sales methodology to guide you and your leads through the sales process. Without this methodology, you won’t be able to explain to your lead why they need your vendor’s product. You also won’t be able to convince the lead to move onto the next stage of the process and sign a deal.
There’s sales and marketing tools for everything you can think of, but you only need three. These tools will support your key processes: sales, marketing and customer relationship management.
1. Sales Engagement Platform
SalesLoft and Outreach are good examples.. A sales engagement platform helps you engage with your prospects across multiple channels. A platform helps you automate your daily tasks like contacting prospects and gives you reporting that lets you see which form of outreach works best. It helps you effectively reach out to people that fit your ideal customer profile.
2. Marketing Automation Platform
Marketo and Hubspot are well known platforms. Marketing automation is used to nurture your leads. It automates repetitive marketing activities such as sending your leads emails so they keep you top of mind. It also provides metrics on how responsive your lead is to your efforts. Those metrics help you decide when your lead is ready for the next step.
3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Platform
Think Salesforce. A CRM stores all the information you need to know about your lead. You’ll use this to keep track of where your lead is in your sales process. You’ll be able to see who talked to your lead, when they talked to them and what they talked about. You’ll store comments and observations about your lead and then later review them to decide how to win over your lead.
The pipeline is a process that guides the different stages of your leads in a sales process. It maps out how you get leads and turn them into deals. These leads can either be inbound leads that come from marketing or outbound leads that you seek out. Managing this pipeline gives you a couple of benefits. It allows you to forecast how many deals you’ll close and generates growth.
The first step in managing your pipeline is to keep track of your leads and deals. Keeping track of this ensures that you know which of your leads are qualified, what stage they’re in and what’s holding them back. This helps you plan your strategy. You can’t keep all of this mentally, so write it down.
The next is to outline the phases that the lead goes through. These phases occur after you’ve determined that your lead is qualified.
1. Discovery Call
You’ve reached out because the lead is qualified. They fit your ideal customer profile. They want to know what your vendor’s product is and what it can do for them.
This is where you show off your vendor’s product and answer any questions the prospect may have. Your prospect may have objections as well. If your vendor gave you sales scripts, this is the time to use them.
If the discovery call and demo have gone well, then your prospect will most likely ask for a proposal. In this stage, you prepare the proposal and send it to your prospect. Your vendor may have some sample proposals that you can use to make your own.
In this phase, the prospect either decides to buy the product or not.
Once your phases are outlined, you will be able to identify how many of your leads proceed from phase to phase. You’ll get a better understanding of how many discovery calls you need to fulfill your quota.
Finally, at the end of every quarter, you will do a pipeline review. This involves sitting down with your sales team and going through your pipeline. Doing this quarterly lets you refine your pipeline, generate growth, and reach your ideal customers.
Questions to Ask
To get the most out of your pipeline review, you should ask several questions.
- What is your forecast?
This question lets you see how many deals you are likely to win in a certain time period. This will be your overall look at the timeline.
- Is there enough coverage?
Do you have enough discovery calls lined up to meet your quota? You need at least 3x to 5x that number to ensure that you have enough coverage.
- Is each deal in the right stage?
For this question, you will go through each deal and take a look to see if you are talking to the right people at the right time. This has the benefit of making sure you know the deal inside out.
- What are the next steps for each deal?
Asking this question lets you see what each deal needs to be able to move forward.
Asking all of these questions will help you spot any issues with your pipeline and better understand your deals.
Registering a deal can happen at any point in the sales process. This is important if you’re a partner as it lets you claim your lead before anyone else can. Typically most partners will register a deal as early as possible to ensure that their vendor knows that they’re the ones working that particular lead. This is a way to reduce channel conflict as the deal registration form contains enough information to determine who brought the lead to the vendor first.
Along with claiming a lead for yourself, most deal registration programs incentivize you to register deals. This incentive may be offered as a discount or in the form of a rebate. Check your vendor’s partner program for details.