How standardizing your sales process drives overall conversion

How standardizing your sales process drives overall conversion

Let’s face it: there’s no point in creating a funnel and not spending time optimizing for conversion. That’s a no-brainer, right?

But how many of you are working closely with your sales manager to ensure that the opportunities you help generate actually become paying customers? Ultimately, if you want to be seen as a successful marketer, you’ll have to prove that marketing drives sales.

Now, the challenge is that in today’s commoditized world, sales teams often struggle to stand out from the crowd. As a result, closed win rates plummet and organizations find it difficult to demonstrate to potential customers that their total value proposition is the clear winner against all other competitors.

To make matters worse, many organizations rely on “superhero” salespeople or even the founder to close deals. This approach is neither sustainable nor scalable. You can’t build a successful sales team if you constantly rely on a select few people to bring in the entire business.

The solution to this problem is a sales process that follows a standardized approach while creating clear differentiation with potential customers. By implementing a systematic sales process, you can expand your sales efforts beyond founders and “superheroes.” This will lead to higher closed win rates and higher gross profit margins as you will be able to win at higher prices.

The benefits of a systematic sales process are clear. You’ll be able to scale beyond founders and “superheroes,” achieve higher closed win rates, and enjoy higher gross profit margins because you can now win at premium prices.

When I implemented a systematic sales process at my former agency, I was able to consistently have 60-70% closed win rates, even when I had no involvement in the deals. This is the power of a well-designed sales process. In fact, I standardized this process and called it the Systematic Sales Process™.

So what does a Systematic Sales Process™ look like? Here are the five stages:

Stage 1: Evaluation

At this stage, you will have a 30-45 minute call with your prospect. The goal of this call is to point your prospect in the right direction, not to “make a sale.” The reason we want to take this approach is that many prospects are probably not a good fit for your company, so let’s not assume that every first call is an “opportunity.” That’s why we call this so-called “Assessment”: you want to evaluate whether or not you can help your prospect, whether or not you align with their requirements, and whether or not you’re ready to move forward. We call this “two-way grading.”

It’s not uncommon to get halfway or at the end of the call and determine that your prospect does, in fact, need someone or something more than you.

IMPORTANT: You should NOT move anyone past this point unless they have a complete alignment.

Get this stage right and you will ensure that your pipeline is real.

Stage 2: Discovery

Once you’ve aligned yourself with your prospect on the assessment call, you’ll engage them and their team in a 60- to 120-minute discovery meeting.

The key in this meeting is to have a solid, less tactical business conversation related to what you do. You are looking to create paradigm shifts with key stakeholders on your prospect’s side. You want them to leave the meeting thinking about their problem in a completely different way and with a sense of excitement about the potential of moving from where they are now to where they want to be.

IMPORTANT: You want to ensure that critical stakeholders are present at this meeting, as they agreed to in the Assessment call (this is non-negotiable), to whatever degree your process requires.

If you do this stage well, you will unconsciously win the business.

Stage 3: Plan

At this stage, you will collaborate with your main point of contact to develop your plan. That being said, be a leader and show them what needs to be done to achieve the desired outcome, then discuss how you can divide and conquer together. Don’t treat this as a “choose from a menu” exercise.

This collaborative approach to developing your plan helps your main point of contact see your plan as their plan, too. This increases the odds that he will be a champion for you.

IMPORTANT: During these conversations, make sure they help you avoid “landmines”—things that could cause you to lose your business.

Do this stage well and you will eliminate surprises in the next stage (Presentation).

Stage 4: Presentation

You are now ready to officially present and win the business during a 60 to 90 minute meeting. Just don’t call your plan “Proposal”! Instead, give it a specific title that speaks to your goals (for example, “How ACME Corp can generate 17% more revenue through conversion rate optimization”).

Your presentation should tell a “story” that includes:

  • His vision
  • Your goals and objectives
  • Your challenges
  • How to win (strategy)
  • Highlights (tactics)
  • Required commitments (your time, money and resources to make this plan a success)
  • Expected results (ROI!)
  • Why your company

After your presentation, answer any questions they have and when they’re done, ASK ABOUT THE SALE.

IMPORTANT: You want to ensure that critical stakeholders are present at this meeting, as they agreed to in the Assessment call (this is non-negotiable), to whatever degree your process requires.

Do this stage well and you will differentiate your company.

Stage 5: Negotiation

Finally, you are ready to deliver the contract and negotiate, but do not deliver it until you have been given the “verbal” message that you have won the business. The reason you do this is to make sure the business is based on material things before the potential client starts criticizing the scope of your contract. That being said, be clear about what you will and will not do.

Additionally, your standard terms and conditions will accompany the scope. You want to know in advance which terms and conditions you will accept and which you will not. You don’t want to make a decision on an important term and/or condition during the excitement of trying to close a deal. Knowing the negotiating points in advance will help you make logical decisions in the heat of the moment.

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