If you want to increase your revenue, focus on honing your sales process before you add headcount. First, let’s agree on what I mean by a sales process versus a sales method. According to a Sales Benchmark Index article by John Kenney, “a sales methodology is the ‘how’ of selling as a skill set.”
A sales process comprises the specific steps inside and field sales reps take to move a new, unqualified lead to a closed customer. These days you might also hear it referred to as the “buying process” since ultimately it’s driven by the goals of the buyer (as opposed to the goals of the rep). It is desirable to have both a sales methodology AND a sales process.
A scalable, repeatable sales process supported by technology for tracking it, is what it takes to amplify your revenue numbers. A sales process will:
- Get to “no” faster – by weeding out the uninterested or unqualified prospects faster reps don’t waste sales’ time or clutter up the pipeline with deals that won’t happen
- Shorten the sales cycle – cutting wasted time or steps in a sales cycle means the team can close more deals in the same amount of time
- Increase the number of returned calls and emails –sending finely tuned messages, at the right time, increases your response-rate significantly
The average voicemail response rate is 4.8%. A well-crafted voicemail can improve response rates by 3% to 22% (Source: Insidesales.com)
- Optimize content – so that sales doesn’t waste time searching for the right content, or worse, spend time creating their own
- Increase confidence in the forecast
In 2015, HBR published the results from a research study that found companies with a formal sales process generate more revenue
Their research showed companies that mastered three specific pipeline practices saw 28% higher revenue growth. These practices included having a defined sales process, spending sufficient time managing it, and training managers on better pipeline management.
Companies tend to fall into three buckets:
- They have no process
- Their process is out of date
- The process isn’t enforced
Develop a Structured Sales Process
Companies without a sales process have great difficulty predicting revenue and knowing how to scale it.
The HBR article explained there was an 18% difference in revenue growth between companies that defined a formal sales process and companies that didn’t.
And this means that it’s not just a generic sales process that’s necessary, but one that’s tailored to your solution and your buyer. Is it a low cost, high transaction model? A lengthy, high value transaction? How many stakeholders and decision makers must be involved. The sales process needs to be customized to fit your deals.
Your Process Might be Outdated
Even if you have a sales process, it might not be right for your buyer. Does your sales process embrace all of the ways your buyers want to engage with you? Does it have a structured cadence? Does sales include Social Media as a touch in their sales outreach? Are your sales team being taught how to personalize each touch and provide value content throughout the process?
In many industries, LinkedIn is the new email. The new Active Status feature just released, makes it even easier to start a casual conversation using Messaging.
If your sales people aren’t using LinkedIn, they are missing out. Jill Konrath points out in her popular blog that the average sales rep has a social selling score of 22.8 points out of 100.
Just in case you wonder, that’s terrible! Looking at the index categories, sales should be an area that scores highest in both finding the right people and building strong relationships. Those areas should be 18 – 25.
Tamara Schenk of CSO Insights, has said, “Social selling is on its way to becoming the new normal.”
Do your reps all have a profile that represents a trusted digital presence? Did you know that most buyers look up a rep online before they call them back? Are they making connections that make it easier for them to build a network for outreach and get return calls?
Invest in your Front Line Sales Managers
If your sales process isn’t being followed, this is where pipeline management comes in. For this, you want to hire qualified sales managers and train them in pipeline management so that they can effectively manage their team day to day.
CSO Insights quantified how much investing in your front line sales managers pays off. This isn’t adding costs, it’s improving your top line. CSO Insights reveals significant increases in win rates, revenue plan attainment, and quota attainment:
Win rates: We found that win rates for forecast deals could be improved by 9% up to 50.5%
Revenue plan attainment could be improved by 18.4% up to 106.7%
Sales management programs should go beyond the normal one or two week onboarding bootcamp when they join the company. CSO Insights has described the real core in, Why Sales Manager Enablement Is More Than Coaching:
[It is]… a program to cover all areas of the sales manager role: customers, business, and people. Furthermore, such a program has to be derived from the organization’s business and sales strategy, as well as from the current level of sales manager maturity.
Canned webinars and books aren’t enough. As CSO Insights points out, the program needs to dovetail with your company’s particular sales process and be adapted to the experience level that manage brings. Particularly if you have promoted internal candidates to front line management, or hired a first time sales manager, invest in a program that helps them gain the maturity to successful lead the team and drive revenue.
Combine these elements together and you’ll have a solid sales process that will increase your revenue.
Find out where you are on the Sales Enablement Journey. Download our Sales Enablement Maturity Model Guide.
Oinkodomeo is a Sales and Marketing Agency. We focus on building a foundation for successful, customer-centric sales and marketing. We help B2B companies achieve business goals and grow revenue by mapping to the Buyer’s Journey and addressing each persona’s needs. We help with end-to-end marketing and sales processes; sales operations; sales enablement; playbook development; inside sales team development and coaching; social selling training using LinkedIn and Twitter, and appointment setting and cold calling techniques; lead generation; channel marketing; inbound marketing; content development; website development; RFP response planning; analyst relations; and branding.