“Always be closing.”
Well, no. Not only is that line grammatically awkward, it also sends across a radically incorrect message.
Sales is not about selling your product to those who don’t need it. It isn’t about using the sales process as a means to an end. In fact, sales, along with a solid sales process, are about finding potential customers who would love your products or services, capturing them in your sales funnel, and ensuring that they turn into closed deals.
This is often a slow process and requires taking prospects through different stages and multiple follow-ups, which becomes even more difficult in the absence of proper, well-defined metrics and standards. After all, making new sales is not just about cold calling prospects and hoping for it to ‘click’. The need is to be strategic, and a sales pipeline helps you achieve just that, allowing for better outcomes, and helping you make better decisions.
Don’t stress out! It isn’t that difficult, just systematic. We’ve broken down the process into four steps which will give you an understanding of creating and working with repeatable sales processes. But before that – before you even begin the first step – some prerequisites should be in place. Let’s talk about that first.
Prerequisites to building a sales cycle - The three Ps
The three Ps are your product, the people, and the pitch. We’ll talk about this in brief, but keep in mind that you should have utmost clarity on these three Ps before you venture into building sales processes.
Your product may be great at what it does, and you may know the ins and outs of your product better than anyone. But, if that story is not conveyed to your prospects, it is as good as nothing. You must be answerable to your prospects and audience and should be able to clear any doubts that they have regarding your offering - of course, in a way that sells!
‘People’ includes both the new leads that you will be onboarding, as well as current customers. We are lucky to live in a world where we have abundant marketing and customer data available, so creating buyer persona is easy. However, you should still be meticulous. Here are some tools, tips, and techniques for that:
- Your company’s CRM can give you data-driven insights about your current customers.
- Google Analytics will let you know about your website traffic, referrals, new customers, visitors, conversion rates, and other related information.
- The customer service team will be able to help you understand the pain points and struggles of your customers and what can be done to solve them. It can also provide insights into the buyer’s journey of different prospects.
- Surveys and questionnaires can help you get a glimpse of your customers’ and prospects’ needs and mindset, helping you know them better and turning them into qualified leads.
- Social media platforms hold all the insights you need regarding your prospective buyers’ intent, mood, and emotions.
- Sales managers and sales reps can give quantitative information on how sales has been across different domains/years/products.
Having this information in your arsenal will come in extremely handy when you’re pitching your product and making your prospects realize its value.
Once you have a proper understanding of your product and the people (both current customers and prospects), the idea is to create pitches that appeal to your people while conveying all the important information about your product.
A pitch will never be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution, and you will need to revisit and revise your pitches based on whom you’re pitching to - but the core of it will remain the same! So, you should have an understanding of precisely what it is that you want to pitch, and should be able to explain it to your prospects with ease.
Steps to building a repeatable sales process
With all of the prerequisites in place, you are in a position to develop repeatable sales processes. Let’s see how that’s done!
Step 1 - Know who you’re targeting.
Not everyone is your customer! This is the first thing to take in before building a repeatable sales process. Be clear with your targets.
In the early stages of building a sales pipeline, you should first look at your current customers and find the common denominator between them. This is a good approach to narrowing down your audience and arriving at near-accurate customer profiles. You can use the previously discussed tools and techniques to explore deeper into your current demographic and make informed inferences about your target audience. Start by looking for patterns related to any of these data points:
- Geographic location
- Company size
- Headquarters location, and so on.
It won’t take a lot of analytics prowess to find out the people, domain, or company that you have been working the most with. All you need to do is take a look at all of your business tools, and get a starting point to explore further from thereon and get more people to be a part of your sales funnel. This will nudge you in the direction of where your audience lies, and give you more visibility. The next steps are on you to take!
Step 2 - Find out your MVPs!
Now that you have a broad understanding of the area that you should be looking at, the next stage is about identifying your most valuable prospects - the most probable and profitable potential customers. In simple terms, this means identifying the prospects that are likely to provide you with the most value. This is the group of people for whom you will be optimizing your outreach and sales activities. To successfully do this, you can use three main types of data - fit data, intent data, and opportunity data.
Fit data is simply the demographic and firmographic information of your prospects. If we are talking on a company level, this could mean company location, headquarters, size, and so on. On the individual level, this will be more about job titles, contact information, salary bracket, and so on. This type of data, albeit basic, is extremely critical and can come in handy for the entire sales methodology.
To understand this better, take a situation where a prospect works in a role where they don’t have decision-making ability. No matter how hard you try, this deal will never end in a sale - even if everything else falls. However, if the prospect were to be recruited as a CTO elsewhere, or if the company were to hire a new CTO, it would open doors for better sales outreach. Opportunity data is helpful on both companies as well as individual levels.
Apart from opportunity and fit data, there is also intent data that mainly focuses on the intent of your prospects. This includes their moods and sentiments towards the products. This also includes their emotions about your competitors and how likely they are to choose them over you. Clearly, this information is important, too, and can be utilized to create more refined outreach programs that nudge the user further into the sales pipeline.
Step 3 - Create a relevant content strategy.
With all the data by your side, now is your turn to leverage those insights and create content strategies and messaging ideas that will appeal to your MVPs. This is all about going all in and being as creative as possible.
This step marries storytelling with digital art, copywriting with brand awareness, and so much more. The idea is to convey a story to your MVPs. A story that resonates with them and makes them stop and think!
Without being too dramatic, this could be achieved by using resources such as case studies, testimonials, reviews, and so on. However, it is important to keep in mind that you don’t want to bombard your MVPs with your story, and you want to know exactly which parts of the story need to be told and how. There are numerous roads to take; some of them include:
- Publish regular case studies.
- Create in-depth PDFs.
- Request your customers for short video testimonials.
- Create research reports, whitepapers, etc. to solidify your worth.
- Write engaging blogs on topics that are truly relevant to your prospects.
Step 4 - Experiment with different tactics.
With all the basics in place, now is the time to go all-in and work towards growing your sales pipeline. This would include exploring outbound, inbound, and a mix of these and finding out the lead generation tactics that work the best for you. Remember that this is a continuous process - with repeatable being in the name itself. So, you will need to identify different strategies and mix and match a little to find out the perfect fit for you. Here are some ideas that you can explore to begin with:
- Develop a simple, optimized website compatible with different screen sizes and conveys your business information.
- Have website forms, social media pages, and other communication channels for users to reach out to you. This will not give you an influx of inbound traffic, but it will open the gates and make things flow slowly.
- Perform keyword research and focus on those while creating content.
- Work towards building an outbound strategy of emails, calls, and other engagements.
- Pick the types of content that you want to publish frequently, build content clusters, create a content calendar, and stick to the routine. Consistency is ranked high by Google!
- Host events with business partners or important industry influencers to grow your reach. Keep the event educational and fun, and don’t make it about your business.
Only after trying these different tactics will you figure out the ones that are best suited for you. And even once you have an idea of the approach to take, you will still need to revisit it in a year. After all, the entire idea behind a repeatable sales pipeline is to keep things streamlined while keeping room for improvements and iterations.
Keep it real; keep it repeatable!
The bottom line is that in the age of automation, there is no room for manual processes where they aren’t needed. The rule of the game is - if you can automate something, you should. In terms of sales and processes, we can extend that sentiment to mean if a sales process can be made repeatable, it should be made repeatable. The idea is to ensure that as you grow, so does your sales team, and your salespeople always have a good chance of performing well and closing deals.
Wingman’s abilities + your data = Higher conversion rates
It isn’t easy to build sales processes that win. You have all the data, but deriving intelligence from it is challenging to make better decisions. Wingman is built to solve this challenge for you. We don’t use a template or a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, our AI and automation-powered sales intelligence platform sifts through your business data - ranging from CRM to call recordings and more - to give you the most detailed insights into the entire sales data. Such an overview and understanding of your data puts you in a better position to make decisions. Book a demo with us and experience this and empower your sales processes.