BIAS BLOG

Why your b2b business needs a standardised sales process

 

Companies and organisations that sell high-value products or services to other businesses (B2b) need a standardised sales process. Not just to ensure that your sales organisation work harmoniously and efficiently, but also because it’s:

 

Content Table

 

Why your business needs a sales process
Why your sales team needs technology to win
Why you need a qualified prospecting process
How to manage your leads
A sales process your team can adopt
Measuring your conversion rates for success
Sales process tips and advice

 

Why your business needs a sales process

 

Companies and organisations that sell high-value products or services to other businesses (B2b) need a standardised sales process. Not just to ensure that your sales organisation work harmoniously and efficiently, but also because it’s:

 

  • a scalable, predictable and easy way to learn for new hires
  • easier to measure which parts of the process work, or don’t work well
  • easier to quickly filter out bad-fit prospects
  • timesaving and enables you to qualify out
  • a simple, structured and pleasant buying experience for the customer

 

Often these types of sales cycles are lengthy, so a documented sales process keeps everyone on target to manoeuvre your prospect down the funnel. In addition to this, there are often multiple stakeholders (decision-makers) involved, so again a well-structured sales process and the right technology combine to great success.

 

Why your sales team needs technology to win

 

Moving on from why your organisation needs a sales process, we now look at why your sales team needs sales technology to win. You can’t expect a successful sales team to keep client contacts on excel spreadsheets that can be deleted, can corrupt and are just for the realm of well, university students.

 

With so many options from free to paid available in the market, simply saying “too much choice” prevents you from adopting a CRM is unacceptable. So starting with the CRM or Customer Relationship Management system, let’s look at some options and talk about why.

 

Sales teams need a CRM

 

CRM enables a sales team to effectively manage your customer and prospect information. From the moment your salespeople make contact with a prospect that opportunity should be logged in a central system of record. Contact details including name, position and email as well as website and phone number and social media channels.

 

If possible, start an organisational chart, so that other contacts can be added giving those sales teams that focus on account-based marketing (ABM) and sales strategies a clearer picture of the opportunity. By using the right CRM for your business, all communication data like emails will be associated with each contact record within the prospect organisation avoiding unnecessary duplication of effort or sales approaches.

 

Always use a cloud-based system as unforeseen issues like COVID19 and other business interruptions can be circumvented. If your team have to work remote or need to access data whilst travelling to or from a meeting, the ability to do so will be there. This ensures continuity and allows for access settings to data per user to be set and maintained.

 

However, remember that a CRM is no longer the sole domain of sales, both marketing and customer service should be working from the same system ensuring your customers and prospects sit at the heart of the organisation.

 

Some CRM Options

 

Some CRM options including free and paid versions are available, choose from:

 

  • HubSpot free CRM (up to one million contacts)
  • Salesforce CRM, (free trial available)
  • Pipedrive CRM (free trial available)
  • Insightly (free trial available)
  • Britrix24 free CRM
  • Zoho CRM (free trial available)

 

Each platform has its real target business size but has options from SME right through to enterprise organisations with piercing ranging from free to freemium to substantial monthly fees.

 

As a HubSpot agency partner, we prefer the HubSpot CRM with its free cost to entry and as you scale, potentially adding their marketing and sales systems, you only pay for the contracts you are actively marketing to. This keeps costs to a minimum if you have thousands of old contacts that aren’t all active or campaigns that aren’t active for any reason.

 

Unfortunately, we haven’t any experience with the other CRMs except Salesforce, but they do each come highly recommended.

 

The additional bonus of the options suggested is that they are all cloud-based and therefore easily accessed from remote if needed through a browser like Google Chrome.

 

chrome-browser-extensions-for-sales

 

Use Chrome for more than browsing for prospects

 

In the last section, I finished on the subject of browser-based access to your CRM and specifically mentioned Google Chrome. The reason for this is that Chrome has thousands of extensions that you can add to the browser to help with the sales process.

 

A good salesperson knows that the likelihood of professionals on LinkedIn using their professional or corporate email address is remote, typically because people change jobs a lot so it’s easy to use personal email addresses. This is the same for a company website, you rarely find anything more than a support or HR email address listed on the company website, so you need to be smarter than that. That’s where these easy to install chrome sales extensions come in handy.

 

The chrome extensions below are for finding prospects contact information.

 

  • Hunter.io - With Hunter for Chrome, you can immediately find whom to contact when you visit a website. Along with the email address
  • LeadIQ - Simply visit any website, click the Scout button in your browser bar, and we’ll instantly search our database of over 100 million contacts to find people working at the company.
  • Lusha - We enrich your content by adding business information, such as contact information, positions and company information enabling you to contact your leads directly from our extension.
  • Clearbit Connect - Find employee email addresses for any company and display useful contextual data for anyone who emails you.
  • Contact Out - Contactout adds a powerful overlay on top of LinkedIn profiles. You'll see phone numbers, email addresses, and links to social media profiles. All emails provided are triple verified and 97% accurate.
  • Snovio Email Finder - Find email addresses from LinkedIn profiles or websites. Validate email addresses with email verifier and message with Email Sender.

These chrome extensions are for establishing what technology prospects are using, brilliant for SaaS, tech and IT support salespeople.

  • Snovio Web Tech Checker - The extension helps find out the technologies used to build a website or an app. It detects CMS, marketing tools, eCommerce solutions, JavaScript libraries, media servers, dev tools and more.
  • Builtwith Tech Profiler - The BuiltWith Chrome Extension lets you find out what a website is built with by a simple click on the Builtwith icon! Upon looking up a page, BuiltWith returns all the technologies it can find.
  • Wappalyzer - Wappalyzer is a technology profiler that shows you what websites are built with. Find out what CMS a website is using, as well as any framework, eCommerce platform, JavaScript libraries and many more.
  • Whatruns - WhatRuns extension is one click away for you to find technologies used on any website you visit. From Developer Tools and Ad Networks to WordPress Plugins and Themes. You can follow websites so that you get notified when they use new technologies or remove existing ones.

These chrome extensions are integral to building a standardised sales process for any B2B team. But that isn’t all you need to consider, a CRM, prospecting tools and undoubtedly sales automation platforms have to be included in the structure.

 

Sales automation platforms, the what and why

 

Research suggests that sales reps only spend one-third of their day making sales calls. On a standard 35 hour week, that's a whopping 23.5 hours on non-revenue generating activity. That means over the course of a 4-week month, your average sales rep spends just under 93.5 hours not trying to generate revenue!

 

You can scale that for yourself for your own team with a simple calculation 23.5 x the number of salespeople in your team per week or 93.33 x the number of reps in your team per month.

 

Does that sound like a wise use of their time? Could this be contributing to the potential unproductive 40-60 hour weeks some of your reps work?

 

By standardising and automating you give your team the best chance of scaling sales, removing dead wood from the operation and hitting monthly targets and surpassing them. Successful sales teams need more automation not less, but they need more personalisation too, automation and email do not replace the telephone and my favourite video. Also, you cannot win solely on inbound leads, especially if you don’t have personas in place or process in place.

 

What sales automation platform should you choose?

 

Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer to this question. There are a number of factors that could prevent or prohibit your adoption of any particular platform. Costs (pricing), services (ability to fully support your requirements), integration into your current tech stack, the ability to future proof against further change and so on.

 

In this section, I am going to share with you some of the technology available to your organisation or sales team:

 

Sales automation tools

 

HubSpot Sales Hub - from £42/mo

 

This is our recommendation for those wishing to automate and personalise outreach (prospecting) as well as follow up and closing deals. You can track your deal engagement, design automated outreach sequences, create email templates for quick access as well as integrate sales assets into emails and track their engagement rates.

 

LinkedIn Sales Navigator - from $79.99/mo

 

LinkedIn claims to be the number one sales prospecting platform, and I am in no doubt it is if you are looking to contact decision makers directly and beat the gatekeeper. However, a lot of users aren’t regularly checking their inboxes and are often using personal email accounts when they sign up for their LinkedIn accounts. But you can see organisational structures on the LinkedIn company pages and therefore you can identify whom you may need to speak to for your sales process to kick in. Several of the links in this paragraph link to other content that will help you navigate sales navigator and LinkedIn better, I suggest you read those too.

 

Seamless.ai - from $125/mo ($65/mo for 15+ users)

 

Seamless is new to the market but we’ve successfully used its AI to extract contact details from both LinkedIn profiles and company websites. As it syncs neatly with both HubSpot and Salesforce CRM tools, it’s perfect for a structured b2b sales process adding immediate value. In addition to the tech, the team at Seamless also provide sales scripts and workflows designed to help your reps smash their sales goals.

 

Vidyard - from $0/mo (pro $15/mo)

 

Vidyard is our go-to choice for adding video into your sales process. With so many emails being sent when prospecting you need to stand out from the crowd. Vidyard and its screen recording and off-screen recording let your sales team show how the product or service would improve the targets results.

 

Everstring - POA

 

All of the tools listed here can help with your sales process, but some more enterprise sales organisations require qualified data and Everstring will do that, especially for ABM campaigns. Not only does it provide contact data, but it also has intent data giving more insight into your prospects behaviour can help you to close more sales.

 

This suite of tools is something we suggest, but more research into your own specific needs may be required to finalise a frictionless toolkit for your standardised sales process. However, one more tool to throw into the ring is Leadfeeder.

 

Leadfeeder - €55/mo

 

This is a great platform for tracking who is visiting your website. With easy integration to our HubSpot CRM, we really enjoyed the setup experience and it’s far cheaper than Lead forensics and similar software. It also integrates to Pipedrive, Salesforce and Zoho, so a great option if you want to build a better data picture about your companies performance online.

 

And whilst on the subject of websites, which are a key part of your sales and onboarding strategy, let’s look at the CMS, content management systems the burgeoning sales organisation should consider.

 

Vidyard - $15/mo

 

Video must play a role in your standardised sales process. As more LinkedIn automation platforms appear on the market, the faster prospects inboxes fill up with unsolicited enquiries. Therefore it’s extremely important to differentiate yourself from your competition and not only use video to introduce yourself and your organisation but to show how your product or service can help.

 

choosing-the-right-website-cms

 

Choosing the right website CMS matters

 

So far we have discussed CRMs, Google Chrome extensions and sales automation software. All have their individual parts to play in the standardised sales process. But those systems and platforms are designed to help you find and attract the right prospects and customers. And with this in mind, we logically have to talk about the company website. The heart of the b2b businesses online presence.

 

With a large number of available CMS systems available on the market, it can be difficult for many to decide which is the right for your business. The more common WordPress, Joomla, Drupal choices are well documented and obvious choices, but each has its limitations, each requires developers with specialist skillsets. Some larger organisations may be using Craft CMS or Adobe for their websites and if you sell business products potentially Magento or Shopify. Whilst I will assess each of them I will also add HubSpot’s own CMS and discuss its merits too.

 

The pros and cons of website CMS

 

WordPress CMS

 

WordPress CMS is 100% free. It’s one of the most popular CMS for websites to be developed on, including eCommerce websites with its WooCommerce plugin. There are thousands of free themes and thousands of more premium themes available. Making it easy and accessible for many small businesses. However, this article isn’t really aimed at businesses looking to save money and run with a customised template.

 

Pros of using WordPress

 

  • It’s free and you have total access to edit your website.
  • You have a directory of free plugins enabling you to add additional functionality as you need it.
  • The free SEO plugins teach you how to optimise your website for search engine results.
  • There are a huge number of free themes available, so constant updates and visual changes are easy to manage.
  • Its widespread adoption ensures that a lot of 3rd party marketing and sales software integrate with it as well as payment gateways.
  • As you have to manage your website yourself, you are responsible for the updates, security, and backups.
  • You need optimised hosting, Content Delivery Network (CDN), SSL Certificates and support.
  • There is no drag and drop front end editor as standard and you would need to use a developer to make customised edits or use premium drag and drop editors like Elementor or WP Bakery and learn how to use those.
  • The free plugins are developed by thousands of different coders, so plugin conflicts and security risks are extremely commonplace and can break your website.
  • A lot of plugins have more functionality than you require and therefore you often have bloated code on your website which impacts speed and performance and gets penalised by search engines.
  • If you need to build landing pages for lead generation you need another software platform like Unbounce and you cannot A/B test on standard WordPress themes you need a developer to do that.
  • You cannot build reports in WordPress to look at your traffic and analytics, you need 3rd party software.
  • As WordPress is built on open-source software, it is susceptible to hacking and security breaches and a hacker could hack your website and steal data or users information.

 

Cons of using WordPress

 

 

WordPress does have a place in business websites, for the larger SME, mid-size or enterprise organisation, other options may be better suited. The landscape is changing and companies want more control of their core assets, therefore easy updates and changes become a necessity, not at ongoing costs but in-house management.

 

Drupal CMS

 

As Drupal is an open-source CMS platform like WordPress and Joomla, the way it works is extremely alike WordPress. A mixture of free and premium themes, additional plugins both free and premium too.

 

Pros of using Drupal

 

  • Its a free and open-source code CMS, just like WordPress and Joomla.
  • It has multilingual functionality built into its core
  • It can be easily scaled to suit your businesses needs
  • It has flexible taxonomies, so your content can be grouped together in multiple ways including subsections.
  • It has a dedicated support community
  • It has stronger security than WordPress, so less likely to succumb to hacking

 

Cons of using Drupal

 

  • It’s far more complex as a CMS to develop websites on than its competitors in WordPress and Joomla
  • The user interface for development isn’t intuitive so lots of reading of documents for even the basic functions is required.
  • Unlike WordPress, Drupal's themes and plugins are not often free, meaning there will always be additional costs.
  • You will need a Drupal developer, again unlike WordPress
  • Drupal cannot downgrade its updates, so you cannot go from 8 to 7 as an example, you have to update which takes time and experience.
  • For less proficient developers simply installing plugins and themes will slow your website down, you need to be able to code and customise these to avoid impact on website load speeds.

 

So whilst Drupal has a more safety-focused approach to its CMS, its construction was by developers for developers and so you need to be able to code on Drupal effectively or it becomes a redundant choice over WordPress’ ease of use.

 

Joomla CMS

 

Joomla sits alongside WordPress as a widely adopted CMS for website development. It’s been designed to manage multiple content formats easily within its user dashboard. So let’s dive under the hood and see what is good and bad about Joomla.

 

Pros of using Joomla

 

  • Its power for content management. It manages far more native content types than its closest competitors.
  • It’s great for beginners to manage, many users of Joomla will not need to understand how to code.
  • It’s easy to manage configurations really push Drupal aside, with a few clicks you can edit your Joomla instance to suit your needs.
  • Like WordPress, it’s great for SEO, especially since Joomla 3 and onwards. Natively built SEO features mean less bloat in Joomla unlike adding Yoast to WordPress as a plugin.
  • Its inbuilt caching tools and 100% valid HTML markup make this a valid choice for developing a company website on.
  • It has a great eCommerce capacity in Virtumart with powerful features.
  • It also has great free and premium themes like WordPress and Drupal.

 

Cons of using Joomla

 

  • More complex to set up than WordPress
  • Upgrades are more complex than with WordPress and there is no backwards compatibility.
  • New versions of Joomla mean a lot of work goes into updating current modules and themes.
  • It’s not as powerful as Drupal as a CMS solution.
  • It has fewer free modules or plugins 8,000 than either WordPress’ 54,000 or Drupal at 42,000.
  • More expensive to develop than WordPress.
  • You need a developer to work with its free themes.

 

Like its fellow open-source CMS solutions, Joomla packs a punch, but still requires developers much like Drupal. Whereas WordPress will work with its lite and premium drag and drop editors doesn’t. You need a developer to update modules as Joomla updates its core platform, something again rarely needed in WordPress.

 

HubSpot CMS

 

I want to add HubSpot’s professional CMS here. Mainly because we use it in our business, but also because it has a powerful punch and sits neatly in our tech stack, much of which has been laid bare in this article.

 

This CMS is not free, it is paid for, either on a monthly or yearly basis. But that fee combines a lot of tech costs that other free CMS would accumulate anyway. For example, the CMS comes with inbuilt hosting, SSL certificate, 24/7 security monitoring and a CRM.

 

But before I spell out the pros, let me follow suit and list them below:

 

Pros of using HubSpot Pro CMS

 

  • Full CRM
  • Google AMP included for optimal search results
  • Inbuilt hosting, global CDN and SSL certificates
  • Drag & drop page editor
  • 24/7 Security monitoring and 99.9% uptime
  • Phone, community, chat, email and documentation support
  • Video hosting
  • Personalisation
  • Dynamic content management
  • Inbuilt SEO tools
  • Multilanguage content management
  • Chatbots, forms and popups
  • Free and premium themes
  • No plugins
  • Has available marketing and sales software with native integrations (all in one hub)
  • Emails included, up to 2000 per month
  • A/B page testing

 

Cons of using HubSpot Pro CMS

 

  • The CMS is a paid-for service
  • There is no database functionality like MySQL
  • You need hubDB training
  • You need to rebuild your website if you decide to come off the paid CMS
  • No membership ability on pro-CMS, you need enterprise CMS
  • No native eCommerce ability
  • No plugins for quick fix functionality

 

Whilst the cons are short, they mainly focus on the differences between the HubSpot pro-CMS and the enterprise CMS on things like membership websites and the lack of eCommerce functionality. For eCommerce, you can use a native cart like Shopify, WooCommerce or Magento and handle your personalisation through the CMS and CRM at the pro and enterprise level.

 

We host our own website and this blog on the HubSpot CMS and we really like its integration into the rest of our tech stack, but the choice is always up to you. One thing you can make note of is the internal chatbot and LiveChat capacity the CMS offers as chat tools are well adapted for the online sales process. Below we look at other chat tools to help you with your engagement with online website visitors.

 

Which web chat tools should you consider?

 

Chat has been widely adopted in the b2b and b2c sales process. From WhatsApp to Facebook Messenger and more enterprise solutions like Drift, webchat is something buyers of all generations now come to expect. So noting that HubSpot has it inbuilt, let’s look at the other market players and establish the facts.

 

Drift - from free

 

Drift is one of our favourites, in fact, we have Drift in our own tech stack as well as HubSpot’s chatbot. Drift for us is better as it’s designed solely for the purpose, it’s not part of a wider marketing or CRM solution like HubSpot or Zoho.

 

We love the Drift chatbot pages, where you can upload your assets like video and ebooks but have pre-designed sales chat conversations ready to qualify readers for the viability of the sale. This matches our “beyond the landing page” marketing strategy, which aims to reduce friction in funnels by carefully removing forms and enabling sales.

 

This tool also works extremely well in ABM strategies.

 

Intercom - from $39/mo

 

Intercom is a direct competitor for Drift, although there are differences in the service options like Drift they have an academy and scaling pricing. Where intercom is different, they have several add-on bundles, further increasing subscription prices to get to their ABM offering.

 

Zendesk - from £5/mo

 

Zendesk is a platform that has chat as part of its overall product offering. It has CRM and separate sales and marketing suites for a variety of budgets. Certainly worthwhile considering and a great alternative to any of the chat platforms mentioned above.

 

why-you-need-a-qualified-sales-process

 

Why you need a qualified prospecting process

 

Sales prospecting is still a very controversial topic. With many “experts” claiming it’s all about inbound leads to close, others say you can’t win the sales game without looking for potential customers (prospects).

 

This is why your sales organisation needs a qualified prospecting process that is scalable, replicable and measurable. So here’s one way of approaching it.

 

  • Research - successful sales reps choose their research areas carefully. Be that leading industry reports or newsletters, trigger events on LinkedIn or Google Alerts or even by connecting with others in the industry.
  • Personas - every salesperson needs to have identified their buyer personas and the customers typical buying process. Top sales professionals will know who buys, who influences and therefore whom to target.
  • Prioritisation - by identifying the right opportunities, be that industry, business type or size, revenue, or location, planning to target the companies most likely to buy your product or service keeps your activities lean and fruitful.
  • Preparation - being prepared isn’t simply a list of procedures to follow. You have to have the right mindset so listen to sales podcasts or read inspiring sales books. You need to have a routine so practice list building Monday, outreach Tuesday and follow up phone calls on Thursday. A good routine helps you refine what works best for you as an individual and leaves room for meetings on Wednesdays and Fridays.
  • Vidyard - although I have touched upon this as a suitable sales automation tool, using it in the prospecting process can help set you apart from the crowd. You can also track views, create calls to action and use it as you progress down the sales funnel. In those rare occasions where a lead asks to send a proposal, screen record your proposal and send a video so you can track reading activity and reach out at an opportune time.

How to manage your leads

 

If you’re still with me, good, nothing of note comes easy and sales are hard and competitive so after all that prospecting how you manage your leads is just as important. Let’s look at a process you can adapt easily.

 

SLA - Service level agreement

 

If your sales team are receiving high numbers of inbound leads, then you need to set a standard SLA - service level agreement to respond within 5 or 10 minutes. Note whilst 10 minutes doesn’t seem like a long time, recent studies show those who responded in under 5 have the highest chance of securing a deal.

 

CRM Views

 

Ensure that your CRM is connected to the company website and any landing pages so that you can track your prospects’ activity across your digital channels. If your CRM also tracks the documents you share with your customers and prospects, you can always gauge buying signals. Look for an activity like recent page visits, especially your pricing or service/product description pages.

 

Using tasks and workflows

 

A good CRM, when combined with either its native or 3rd party sales automation software, should enable your sales team to set tasks and reminders in their calendars to follow up. It should be standard to attach call oom data to contact records for continuity of progression for the sales reps and if they go out sick or leave.

 

Workflows can fo the heavy admin around the outreach and nurturing of qualified leads.

 

Using video in the prospecting process

 

82% of all consumer internet traffic will come by video by the end of the year (2020). It reduces the cold prospecting barrier and is an easy way to prospect, stand out and immediately add value to potential end clients.

 

Define your prospecting sequence

 

For your highly rated leads, you should attempt at least 10 times to connect. A mix of calls (telephone), voicemails, Vidyards and email sequences. It is now suggested it takes 12 touchpoints to convert an opportunity.

 

Lower rated opportunities should have less focus. Try halving your process for the highly-rated leads; 2 calls, voicemails or Vidyards and 3 email sequences.

 

Newly qualified leads from website or landing page conversions must be connected within 5 minutes by phone, voicemail or Vidyard and enrolled into an automated email sequence.

 

Finally, if you are checking recent behaviour in your CRM as a trigger point, review the time spent on pages, when you last contacted them and if it’s a reasonable amount of time, reach out and connect.

 

sales prospecting stats

 

A sales process your team can adopt

 

I’m heading into the home straight, not much further to go, but this is my most definitive sales enablement framework for b2b sales reps. Whether you are a BDR, business development rep or an SDR, sales development rep, this is an executable plan you can action.

 

Predefined sales stages

 

  • Stage 1: Sourcing and prospecting
  • Stage 2: Connect call
  • Stage 3: Discovery call
  • Stage 4: Solution presentation
  • Stage 5: Signed contract and kick-off

 

Stage 1: Sourcing and prospecting

 

Standardise your prospecting goals. Identify good-fit companies and ensure you speak to the right people.

 

Define your actions. Decide whom you do and don’t want to work with and build up a continuously strong pipeline.

 

Mange your needs. Weekly time dedicated to sourcing and prospecting.

 

Actionable tip. Book calling slots in your calendar for following up on outreach activity.

 

 

Stage 2: The connect call

 

Your goal is to establish an initial relationship, assess mutual fit, and create credibility and trust.

 

Structure your research into your prospect so you can benign the qualifying process and move to the next steps.

 

Quantify the need and challenges of the prospect and get a sense of the timeline and uncover the urgency to solve the problem.

 

Ask your prospect to complete some homework. It’s a good way to see if they are committed to solving the problem. If they don’t complete it before your call, push back and ask that it’s completed before you move on to the next stage.

 

Tips to consider. Automate your follow up, make your process unique to differentiate from other sales plays, and create a useful questionnaire for homework. The outcome should always be either a scheduled discovery call or you are parting ways. Don’t waste time on bad fit prospects.

 

Stage 3: Discovery meeting

 

The goal of the discovery phase is to get a deep understanding of your prospects current process, systems, options and qualify for BANT (budget, authority, need and timeline) and GPCT (goals, priority, consequences and alternatives).

 

Set the structure. Prepare well and set a clear agenda with objectives. Ensure you lead and steer the conversation and introduce pricing.

 

Tip to consider. Run the meeting face to face or on a video call, NOT over the phone. Ensure you can see each other so you can see the focus or attention you are or aren’t getting. The outcome of the call is to move to a scheduled presentation or you are parting ways.

 

What is BANT?

 

BANT is a methodology commonly used in the sales qualification process to help determine the budget, authority, need and timeline of the businesses resolve to solve the problem. It helps you prioritise which leads should get the most attention in your sales pipeline.

 

What is GPCT?

 

GPCT is the process of helping a business understand where it currently stands and where it needs to go. By clarifying the goals, plans, challenges and timing, an organisation can effectively plan for change and improvement.

 

The exploratory call structure

 

The first stage of the exploratory call is to establish as much detail about the prospects company or department as possible. Ask who are the customers, competitors, what differentiates them, how are they placed in their industry and so on.

 

From the company to the department establishing departmental goals, prospects role and decision making power and how it affects the company's bottom line.

 

Then you need to establish the BANT. Ask questions about their problems, how they are approaching solving this, what’s worked and failed, what budget has been allocated to it, what budget can be further allocated to it. Question them on the immediacy to solve the issue and in which timeframe do they want to solve it.

 

From BANT to GPCA. Find out what the prospects personal, departmental and organisational goals are. What is the priority for each problem to be resolved, the consequences of inaction and what the alternatives to you are?

 

By digging deep and listening for the pain the status quo is causing, you can learn enough to consult and provide a diagnosis and solution on your presentation call.

 

Stage 4: Solutions presentation

 

Keep your goal in mind at this stage. You haven’t sealed the deal because you are presenting and keep that in the forefront of your thoughts. On this call, you have to explain your blueprint and roadmap, articulate added value and present estimated ROI whilst handling objections.

 

Your structure must have a clear agenda with mapped out deliverables to a timeline, presenting expected results. Request feedback at this stage and be prepared to handle objections.

 

Understand your clients’ needs. Make sure that you know their numbers and educate and challenge them on your discovered pain points. Drive home where they need to pivot and improve. Again, be prepared to answer common or specific questions or objections.

 

Tips to consider. Do the presentation onsite or online, but with ALL stakeholders and or decision-makers available. Have 2 or three pricing options available based on how aggressive they can be towards achieving their goals. Keep need, ambition and growth central at this stage. The outcome should be a verbal agreement to commit to a scheduled decision call or you’re parting ways. Difficult but even at this stage the prospect may not be fully committed.

 

Stage 5: Present your official quotation

 

The goal at this stage is to deliver the quote in person, not to send it over by email and wait for an opportunity to follow up. Start by clearly outlining services or products, deliverables and expected results vs pricing.

 

Set the expectations, structure the call so that you accurately position the next steps including post-purchase onboarding and handle any objections.

 

State the need. Have all stakeholders involved, make it interactive and ask for input to get buy-in.

 

Our tip. Do not write the full quotation unless you’re 99% sure it will be accepted. Create a presentation template per product or service in Powerpoint or Qwilr, something visual and engaging but easily edited. The desired outcome is that the quotation is either accepted or you are parting ways.

 

 

Beyond the standardised sales process

 

We’ve covered a lot in this article. I’ve given you insight into every tool, platform and process your sales team can adapt for ongoing growth and success. But what else do you need to know beyond the process?

 

Measuring your sales conversion rates for success

 

The best salespeople will measure their activity. Not just for reporting the numbers, but for benchmarking their success in order to improve. Sales isn’t a career where you can get by, especially as a lot of the jobs are tied to performance-based commissions.

 

Therefore knowing your numbers is key to improving your skills and your bank balance. Below is an example of a conversion funnel for a sales rep.

 

They get:

 

sales prospecting attrition rates

 

It's a lot of activity for relatively little reward, but if you are great at generating leads, you can optimise a standardised sales process to improve your conversion rate through the funnel. With this in mind, it’s all up to you from here. How can you take this plan and make it your own?

 

Sales process tips and advice

 

120-day prospecting cycle

 

Think of your personal sales process in quarterly sprints. With each quarter you should expect to improve your results in sales and increased sales opportunities. If you aren’t using a standardised sales process, treat today as day one and focus on creating a 120-day prospecting cycle, which should look like this:

 

120 day prospecting cycle

 

Document your sales process

 

In order to build a standardised sales process, you need to define it and then document it so that you scale it. Remember it's an iterative approach to be adopted by the whole sales team and as you discover new ways of closing or prospecting, having documents that historically show your iterations will help you understand how far you’ve come as a sales organisation. The graphic below shows how you can approach this.

 

document your sales process

 

BIAS Digital work with product and service organisations to improve customer experience, lead generation and customer acquisition, please feel free to contact us via our website, on the phone 0203 637 4426 or book a meeting.

 

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BY Paul Sullivan

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