Learning how to optimise your sales funnel is an essential part of the day-to-day sales process; however, it isn’t the sales team’s sole responsibility. Your organisation’s marketing department should carry responsibility for the sales funnel too. But for the sake of this particular article, let’s focus on the stuff that sales reps can manage themselves and not discuss the production of content and SEO. We also assume you have sales automation tools, like HubSpot Sales Pro?
As I have written before, having a standardised sales process in place will give you better results, but prospecting is where the battle is fought and won. Sales fall over because the prospecting activity is sub-par or due to a lack of sales prospecting in the previous months.
So how do you optimise your sales funnel?
So here are my tips for successful prospecting, the foundation of an optimised sales process.
Define who your buyer is
The first task you have is to identify who your buyer is. You’ll often hear this referred to as your buyer persona. However, personas focus on individuals who form part of the buying process at your target organisations. What I would advocate you to do is build organisational charts of your companies so that you can identify who does what.
Think about this. You sell enterprise solutions, potentially a SaaS platform. You would reach out to the head of sales if it is a sales aligned solution, and the director of marketing if a marketing tool. While it may seem logical to do so from a sales point of view, they may not have the ultimate buying power. So your job is to understand the types of company you deal with and know who:
- The decision-maker is
- The influencers are
- The person signing off the money is
- The stakeholders are in the buying process.
- Your internal cheerleader/project sponsor will likely be
By arming yourself with all of this information and mapping out their organisational chart, you will soon develop good habits and recognise when challenges or questions need answering and how to solve them.
If you use HubSpot, search for the OrgChartHub add-on and use this to build out the company structure.
Identify what triggers their buying activity
Just because your product looks like an ideal fit for your target prospecting list, it doesn’t mean they want or need it. There are a few things that the savvy salesperson would do to mitigate the likelihood of interrupting someone who isn’t looking for a product or service like yours.
Firstly, I would sign up for a chrome browser application that enabled me to discover what technology is currently in use via the prospects website. Most sales and marketing software gets connected to the website so look for Snovio Web Tech Checker, Builtwith Tech Profiler, Wappalyzer or Whatruns.
When you use software like this, you can see the technologies involved and whether yours is better, complimentary or not as good as the incumbent. Knowing this will also help with your sales conversation and shows you have at least done some research.
Additionally, you should look at the companies’ LinkedIn page, google the business and its leadership team and check out its social media. Look for news on company growth, recruiting, profits, losses, anything that can benefit your outreach and personalise it.
Map your customers buying cycles
The best sales reps understand their marketplace. They will know the top three or four reasons a prospect buys a product or service like the one they sell. They will know what the standard objections are and how to overcome them. They will also spend numerous hours talking to current customers, quizzing them on what was going on in the organisation to prompt this purchase at his time.
They want to know how long a decision usually takes depending on the number of stakeholders involved. They will know the typical sign-off process and be well prepared to provide what is needed when documents are required.
They know so much about their target market that they get up in the morning and cannot wait to get to work. You see the best sales reps know that they have to know their customers inside out to succeed, which means optimising oneself to a single outcome.
To be an expert on the product, service and customer. Only you can bring that application to the table. Once achieved, you will fill your pipeline with opportunities to convert.
Design your daily prospecting strategy
Upon reading this, you may feel I have covered prospecting in-depth in this article? However, many people know what they should be doing to fill their funnel but rarely achieve it. Because they never build a structure around their day to day activities, it becomes easy to “wing it” or procrastinate.
A good sales rep gets routine into their day, and it could look something like this:
- Grab coffee
- Build a list of prospects based on personas
- Identify the top 30 opportunities.
- Research them on Linkedin, Google
- Find their contact details (Zoominfo, Seamless.ai, Hunter.io, etc.)
- Use your pre-written outreach email template and customise to each individual.
- Add a task in your CRM to make a call in 2 days.
- Attend to email replies
- Make or return any outstanding calls.
- Catch up with any newly onboarded customers.
- Ask for referrals from satisfied customers.
- Plan tomorrows day and do any prep that is needed
- Go home or take out a client.
- Rinse and repeat.
Whatever you choose to do as a sales rep, having structure makes for good habits, good habits bring success, success brings reward. All of that combined means a well-optimised sales funnel.
For a quick eight-step guide to building a sales process check out our infographic below