The Missing Puzzle Piece
There is nothing more frustrating to marketers than successfully running campaigns that seem to drive leads to your business, but do not result in moving the needle on the bottom line. So what is happening?
This is a question that we often get from clients: how do I make sure that we are converting the leads we are investing so heavily to generate?
There are a lot of potential answers to that question, but before you spend a lot of time and money making changes, it's important to make sure that you are pinpointing and measuring how leads are being handled through the different steps of your sales process. From booking appointments to selling more concrete products and services, the challenge remains the same: without data, it is next to impossible to make sure that you are moving these opportunities along to close new business.
The goal should be to collect more data. What does that actually mean? For most of our clients, that means starting out with the identification of what Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are going to be indicative of your team converting the steps that they are tasked with in regards to closing the opportunity. No two organizations have the exact same sales process as it is going to be driven by the nature of your business, your operational realities, and how you are generating the opportunities in the first place. The key piece to remember here is that you are going to want to look at each step of the process separately, while simultaneously making sure that they fit together seamlessly, almost like if you were putting together a puzzle. For each piece of the puzzle, there should be unique elements, that when measured, indicate that the piece is performing (and fitting together) the way that it should be. These are the data points that you need to be measuring and then taking action on depending on what the results show.
So where should you get started?
We have several steps that we recommend to our clients when we start working with them on mapping out and optimizing their sales process:
Step 1: Define what you would consider as a success
Before you dive into anything granular on your sales process, it is very important to first make sure that you have a well-defined definition of success. What we mean by this is that you are going to want to make sure that your organization has a clear objective around what they want to accomplish in the sales process. Whether aggressively looking to grow your business or maintain the level of business you have today, tying the objective of your sales strategy to the other strategic goals present within your organization is very important. This definition is also paramount in making sure that all stakeholders involved with the sales process are working towards a common goal. Think of this almost as the mission statement for your sales team and sales related stakeholders.
Step 2: Identify the pieces that are a part of the puzzle.
This sounds simple, but for many of our clients we find that before working with us, they are not looking at each step of the sales process. Strong lead generation, when not coupled with a strong conversion plan for example, will lead to the frustrating reality that your marketing is working but it is not moving the bottom line. It is important that you have a strong definition of all the elements that are a part of your process so that before you jump too granularly, you have considered all pieces that could have an impact on the final results that you want.
Step 3: Identify the KPI's for each of these pieces.
From marketing to appointment booking, each segment of the process should have different indicators of whether it is working as designed. Once you have broken down all of the segments of the process, the next step is to make sure you identify these KPI's and most importantly, how you are going to measure them. When making this list, be sure to stick to the metrics that are going to be the most important and actionable for you and your team. The KPI's should be robust but having too many can be distracting and more difficult to manage over time.
Step 4: Map out the necessary stakeholders and resources
When managing your sales process, having a well-defined set of stakeholders and resources involved will make it easier to determine ownership of each step of the process. Having the KPIs and measurement data will allow for identification of where the process is breaking down, but you also need to make sure that there are clear owners on who is taking action on that data. Much like fixing a leak in a water pipe, identifying where the leak is happening is only half the battle- you need to also make sure that someone is implementing a fix!
Step 5: Continuous Evaluation
Virtually no organization is able to completely map out a sales process that is never going to change over time. As your products/services evolve, organizational priorities change, and you learn more about your target audience, the way that you manage and tackle the sales process needs to change accordingly. Having a set schedule of how you are going to evaluate and make sure all stakeholders are on the same page will ensure that you are not missing opportunities to optimize and improve results.
Just about all facets of your organization are going to have either a direct or indirect impact on how your leads are converting into dollars that improve your bottom line. From converting new customers to ensuring that you retain your existing ones, your customer’s interactions with your business are possible drivers of leakage. It is important to walk into this area with the mindset that sales strategy is a dynamic process that is going to need to evolve over time.
Not sure where to get started on mapping out your process or driving improvement? Click here to schedule a free consultation on how we can help you drive the results that you are looking to achieve.