The old adage, "nothing happens until a sale is made," couldn't be truer. And for many a start-up, identifying a predictable, repeatable sales process that ensures needed sales targets are always met, can seem like the Holy Grail -- enticing but ever illusive.
So what exactly is a repeatable sales process? It's a formula for how you sell, starting from the very first conversation until the deal is closed and all the steps along the way.
What are your most predictable and effective forms of lead generation -- advertising, networking, cold calling, or referrals? Do you use the same qualification process each time? What questions work best in that very first conversation with a prospect? Do you foreshadow the same buying process for each new prospect?
What type of follow up do you send after that conversation (e.g., an email, a hand-written note, a white paper or piece of collateral) that garners results, and do you have a proven template for it?
To create a repeatable sales process, start by taking an educated guess at the most effective formula and fully documenting it. Create a flow chart of each step in the process, with a variation for inbound vs. outbound leads, as they often look quite different.
Next, create scripts, templates and tools to automate the process for your team so they easily can replicate it and measure its efficacy. This shouldn't stop them from personalizing their communication for each particular prospect. The idea is that you can't measure what works -- apples to apples, across your team -- absent any consistency. Try it for at least 30 days, as outlined, and document your conversion rate.
Then tear it apart, one tiny piece at a time, to improve your conversion. You might, for example, take something as small as the follow-up email sent after a first prospect meeting. Work to enhance it and add value for your prospect to ultimately increase their receptivity to your proposal in meeting two and improve your close ratio.
Work to only revamp a single step at a time, and then test the refined sales process for roughly 30 days -- give or take depending upon the length of your sales cycle -- with the change in place. By isolating a single change at a time, you will be able to accurately measure the impact of that change on your overall sales process.
If you identify a significant bottleneck in your process (e.g., only 20 percent of prospects you deliver a proposal to agree to buy), apply as many resources to the problem as possible to improve it. Consider an incentive to the member of your team that develops the adjusted strategy for greatly reducing the bottleneck.
With a truly repeatable sales process in hand, you are on your way toward creating a scalable sales model.
Find more advice at www.redrovercompany.com. You can follow RedRover on Twitter (@redrovercompany and @loriturner) and Facebook (facebook.com/redrovercompany).