When it comes to Mergers and Acquisitions, one major contributor to the valuation process often gets overlooked: company culture.
7 essential ingredients to create a remarkable selling system
When I start working with a client, I look for the shortest path to the biggest impact. One of the first areas I review is their sales process and lead conversion.
A systematic approach to selling
A common area of weakness with many companies is the absence of a systematic approach to selling. Most businesses lack a pre-defined, step-by-step set of interactions that their salespeople take prospects through in order to qualify and convert them. Instead, each salesperson operates by intuition, which means there is no consistency or scalability.
By taking the time to get crystal clear on your ideal client, you not only dramatically decrease your expense by filtering out the unqualified leads your sales team is chasing – you’ll also increase your sales revenue by significantly increasing the number of leads you are converting to customers.
Sounds good so far, right?
Next, develop a selling system that warms up your leads over time by showcasing your company’s unique differentiation and the value you can provide to them. The strategy here is to nurture your leads throughout their decision-making process, so that by the time they are serious about making a purchase, they’ve have basically sold themselves.
How do you build a consistent lead generation system?
Below are the essential components you need in order to create your lead conversion selling system:
Selling Tip #1: Document the process
Start by developing a system to document and share your sales flow process with your team. I’ve seen clients attack this using a variety of services such as Evernote, a company server/Wiki, written documents, Excel, or a sales flowchart. Pick something that works for your business.
Your sales system should have established milestones that mark the key events in the sales cycle. Create a map that shows the blow-by-blow process that it takes to convert your inquiries into customers. This can include what it takes to build trust, understand your buyers’ goals, how to create certainty that your offering meets their needs, and so on.
This should be a dynamic document that you tweak with improvements over time.
Selling Tip #2: Track your leads
Determine how your company will track sales leads and opportunities. Will you use a robust CRM system like Salesforce or Dynamics? If so, be sure to plan for the upfront effort to get the architecture of your software set up - then take comfort in the advanced dashboard and reporting.
Or, if you have salespeople who simply will NOT enter data (I know the type), then consider something simple like an Excel spreadsheet, Outlook notes, or even a Whiteboard. As my business partner, Shawn Busse always says, “Simple gets done.”
Selling Tip #3: Respond to inquiries
What is your standard way of responding to an inquiry for your services? For example, you may decide to establish a rule that all web-based inquiries must receive a call back within one business day. Once you do talk to a lead and qualify them as one of your best-fit Dream Customers, what do you send as a follow-up? In order to move people further into your pipeline, you must have an education plan and call to action to give your leads a next step and clear direction.
Selling Tip #4: Demonstrate your value
Once a lead expresses that they want to know more about your specific offerings, it’s important that your company has a set way to present your organization. This may be an in-person meeting, an online sales demo, a white paper you send out, or a presentation you give to them. This is your opportunity to showcase your company’s difference and start adding value in the relationship. This step is partially planned and partially the “art of selling,” but it should be a standard throughout your organization.
Selling Tip #5: Nurture your leads
If your leads aren’t quite ready to make a purchase after you present to them, you need a systematic approach for nurturing the relationship. This is an area where technology is your best friend! One of our favorite methods is an electronic newsletter that sends out valuable content to your leads. You can also send out invitations to education events such as online seminars and in-person presentations. Your goal with lead nurturing is to give them your best information (yes, for free) so that when they are ready to buy, you are the obvious choice.
Selling Tip #6: Onboard with enthusiasm
It doesn’t end when your prospect says “yes, I’ll buy.” Create your sales system in a way that delivers an incredible welcome and adds value to your new customer. Leaving them cold may cause them to have buyer’s regret.
A fantastic approach is a planned orientation process where you warmly welcome your newest customer and teach them how to get the most from what they’ve agreed to buy. A smooth transition from prospect to customer (and sales person to account manager) sets the tone for additional purchases and referrals.
Selling Tip #7: Listen to your sales team
Your selling system won’t be truly remarkable unless you create a standard process that allows you to routinely hear about the results you are getting from your sales system. One way to do this is to set up a weekly sales huddle with your sales team. Go over wins and stucks with them, and continuously discuss best practices in qualifying, nurturing, and closing your leads. This is a great way to get continuous feedback on how to improve your system.
Scalable sales systems get results
Developing a standardized sales system – one that everyone involved in selling in the organization can follow (even your new hires) – is the fastest way to improve overall marketing results and new revenue. Once your marketing generates qualified leads, with your selling system in place your sales team can methodically close them.
Put these steps into place in your company and you’ll be thrilled with your strikingly high conversion rates.