For many B2B companies, the ability to grow correlates directly with the ability to effectively expand the sales team.
If each member of your team has his own approach to selling your company's products and services, replicating success and scaling your company can be difficult. In contrast, if all members of the sales team follow a proven, predictable sales process -- with appropriate allowances for individual selling styles -- it's much easier to scale your sales team more quickly, efficiently and successfully.
Teach new sales reps a proven methodology with a predictable success rate and you'll reduce the ramp to profitability and improve sales rep retention. You'll allow strong reps to find success more quickly; and with sales talent, success begets more success. It also allows you to determine more quickly whether a rep has the ability and desire to be successful. Imagine the cost benefits of knowing whether a new sales rep will succeed within 30-60 days versus the average six months.
Before you can establish a repeatable sales process, complete these four fundamentals.
Identify your ideal clients. Run a report of your most profitable clients over the past two years. What do they have in common? Consider the size of their companies, the most common role/title of your buyers, the predominant industries represented, the combination of products and services purchased, and buyer demographics such as age, gender and educational level.
Determine how to find more of those ideal clients. You must find an ongoing source of "look-a-like leads," which may be purchased lists, leads generated through inbound marketing, or leads generated through trade shows or networking activities. Define the most efficient solution for gathering the volume of leads your growing sales team will need each month to exceed targets.
Identify easily provable benefits for these ideal clients. Have testimonials, client results and case studies ready to prove your benefits deliver.
Document the sales process in place today. How many calls does your sales team need to complete to make contact? How many of those contacts result in a meeting? How many of those meetings result in a proposal? And what is your close rate?
Test one strategy against another to continuously improve performance. Test the performance of one script against another. Test one follow-up approach against another (e.g., email versus handwritten note card). Test the use of one "provable benefit" you mention on your initial call versus another. And by all means, document everything.
With these fundamentals and comparative test results in hand, you're now ready to create your sales playbook -- a proven, step-by-step process your sales team will use to most efficiently locate, qualify and ultimately sell the value of what you provide in a systematic way with a predictable outcome.
Lori Turner-Wilson is an award-winning columnist and CEO/Founder of RedRover, a sales training and marketing firm based in Memphis, Tennessee -- www.redrovercompany.com. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovecompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).