In March 2019, Cognism exhibited at the B2B Marketing Expo at London’s Excel Centre. Some key members of our team gave presentations at our own branded theatre. One of those was Frank Mee, our Senior Business Development Manager.
Frank’s talk was on how to create a uniform B2B sales process, a topic on which he has some unique insights. Every day, Frank is finding ways to improve results for Cognism’s sales team. He knows the importance of creating a sales process everyone can follow, as well as how to make it happen.
Frank has taken time out of his busy schedule to pick out some highlights from his talk, so even if you couldn’t be at Excel, you can still pick up some vital tips.
Why is a uniform sales process important?
When you lay down a defined sales process that everyone in your team is required to follow, it brings several benefits to your team, the wider organisation and beyond.
For your team, a uniform sales process reduces the likelihood of errors in the work cycle. If everyone is selling to customers in the same way, they get used to following the process and don’t have to improvise, which is where errors often occur. Constant sales processes make working in sales less stressful. It removes many of the unknown factors that can come into play, the events that could put you behind for the month or even the quarter.
For sales managers, a uniform process helps with onboarding, as new starters can take their time to learn the process without so much input from managers. It also makes it easier for managers to identify strengths and weaknesses in their team, then work on them. Managers can see in seconds where their individual contributors and the team are in the sales cycle, when everyone is working to the same procedures.
An undeviating sales process boosts communication, which brings benefits for all. It removes the traditional dog-eat-dog aspect of sales, where individual salespeople are reluctant to share their ideas. It requires salespeople to be honest about what is working and what isn’t, as well as their own strengths and weaknesses. In this way, it strengthens team spirit.
For the organisation as a whole, a uniform sales process enables transparency and makes forecasting easier. Predictable revenue is essential for scaling an organisation, so this aspect of the sales process is essential.
Finally, an unvarying sales process helps the customer. It means their experience buying from you will be smoother and more effective. It helps reinforce their relationship with you. It helps build trust.
How do you create a uniform sales process?
Now we know how a uniform sales process can be effective across the whole organisation, let’s examine ways of how to create one.
Map out your sales process in its current form, then look at each stage. How is it working? How can it be improved? Is it even necessary? Each sales team will have a different system for turning a lead into a customer, but a great place to start improving is at the beginning of your process.
Where is your team getting their B2B data from? How are they deciding who to contact in the first place? If your team is using data that is inaccurate and out of date, they are wasting time and not being as efficient as they could be. Contacting potential customers who have long since left their roles is not a good use of a salesperson’s time.
High-quality data also helps you spot opportunities in your target marketplace that might previously have passed you by. For example, you can look for signals (also known as sales triggers) that a prospect might be ready to purchase, such as moving to a new job or receiving a new round of funding.
How do you improve your sales process?
The key to a great sales process is that it never stays still. Even when your sales team is performing, the best managers will always be looking for ways to improve.
An effective way of improving your sales process is by going back to the map you drew up at the start, and experimenting with changes at specific stages. Do A/B split testing, where half of your salespeople do it one way and the other half another, so you can compare. For example, try out different pitches or demos to see which is the best one. Incorporate the winner into your uniform sales process.
The result should be a ‘sales playbook’ - the official way you sell in your sales team, the uniform sales process made real. Every stage of the process should be mapped out in the playbook. It’s something that your team can refer to at any time. Also, it’s great for onboarding. With a playbook, there is no place for ambiguity.
The playbook should never be finished, however. It needs to be a living, breathing document of the best way to make sales up to now. Always look for ways to refine and advance it. Things change fast in sales. Make sure your process can change, too.
Contact Us Today
Cognism’s rapid revenue growth has been powered by adopting a uniform sales process and our own proprietary technology. To get an overview of our innovative, sales-accelerating data solutions, register now for your free demo. Or, feel free to call us on +44 203 858 0822.