How to map a sales process and create a bespoke “playbook” for your organisation (part one!...)

What is a Sales Process?

A sales process is a set of repeatable steps that a sales team consistently uses to turn potential leads into customers. A strong sales process will mean higher conversion rates, more sales and fewer lost customers.

Why do I need a Sales Process?

A sales process is often compared to a map, which guides you and your sales team through the customer journey. Without a detailed and adequate map, it can be easy to get lost and lose clients.

Established and successful company sales processes, help standardise the system your team uses when interacting with clients. This creates more efficient workflows and helps new staff quickly understand the customer journey. It also supports the efforts of start-ups and micro-businesses where the person doing the “sales” may also be spinning many other plates!

What do we mean by a Sales Playbook?

Think of your playbook as a manual holding all of the information that your sales team would need. As well as describing how to approach different sales situations it should also include background on the company, its position within the market, marketing strategy and any other info that could be relevant.

Having everything together in one place makes it easier to work alongside Marketing colleagues and to regularly review and update best practice.

The playbook should be seen as an evolving document…

What do I need to include in a Playbook?

Broadly speaking, your playbook should cover the following areas – some sections will be more important to you than others – you know your business best!:

· History & positioning of your company; what is your purpose & what problems do you solve

· Industry/market knowledge; strengths & weaknesses of competitors, general market conditions

· Sales Tools and Resources

· Ideal Client Profiles – inc personas

· Sales Plays/Opening Statements/Elevator Pitch – USP

· Prospecting Strategy – agreed steps to follow

· Discovery Questions

· Possible Objections

· Demo/Presentation outline

· Pricing - to discount or not to discount

· Proposal Template

· Customer meeting note templates/best practice - how to record this info

· Case Studies/Testimonials

· KPIs/Targets

· Onboarding plans for new customers

· Ongoing coaching plan for sales team

Let’s briefly take a look at some of these areas…

Sales Tools and Resources

Ideal Client Profiles and Personas

Sales Plays/Opening Statements/Elevator Pitch

Prospecting Strategy – agreed steps to follow

Sales tools and resources and where to find them:

This is essentially a list of all of the tools your sales people have at their disposal in order to accomplish their goals and could include:

CRM Software

Documentation – such as proposal templates/quote templates

Customer references/testimonials/case studies

Brochures etc

Ideal Client Profiles and associated Personas:

You can develop an ideal client profile for a range of different services/products depending on the problems that you address

Ask yourself:

Who is the ideal client for this service/product?

What is their role/job title within an organisation?

What are their day to day operations?

What are their typical challenges/pain points?

Personas are useful for creating an example client and can be adapted to 2 or 3 possible audiences for your product or service. The use of personas is advantageous as it helps your sales team to create an understanding and empathy with the end client, understanding their challenges and expectations, if they can visualise them as a real person.

So, a buyer persona, is a semi-fictional representation of the type of person who might buy from your company. You may have one persona, or several, depending on your markets. Having already identified your ideal client you are now identifying the traits of the likely buyer within that organisation

An example could be:

[Name] is the [Role] for a [industry/type] company located in [geolocation] that has [size] employees. [Name] is continually looking for solutions to [challenge/need] because [why it’s important]. [Name] is [gender], [age], and lives [location] [Name] goes to [where] to seek solutions for the problem she encounters.

Sales Plays/Opening Statements/Elevator Pitch

Once you have decided who your ideal customer is and found one, your opening first messages to that prospect are crucial. First impressions matter - always have something prepared that will impress them and get their attention. Remember, the key is, you are always trying to add value. Focus on their pain points and how you will help.

If you already have an elevator pitch that you use for networking etc this should serve as a great starting point...

A good elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that you use to spark interest in what your organisation does, it should last no longer than a short elevator ride – 20/30 seconds.

It should be interesting, memorable and succinct. It also needs to explain what makes you – or your organisation, product or idea – unique.

Developing a prospecting strategy…How do I build a sales process?

The million-dollar question!

As with many elements of your playbook, this section will be a constant work in progress as you refine your process.

Every organisation needs a constant supply of new leads to feed their pipeline which is the funnel through which your new clients will flow.

There are many different ways you can use to generate new leads from.

You may have a marketing colleague who can support you in this process or you may be self-generating. You can obviously purchase lists of relevant contacts but there are many successful, low-cost ways of generating quality leads, just be aware of the time investment needed to obtain and then qualify these leads – this is an example of when outsourcing can free up your valuable time focus on other more pressing areas of the business.

Examples of ways to generate leads:

LinkedIn – our personal favourite here at Everyone says hi!

Other social platforms – depending on where your target audience hang out

Pay per click advertising

Ask for referrals from existing clients

Networking/attending trade shows

Offering a free tool/lead magnet on your website

In order to help you convert a list of contacts/leads/data sheets in to potential clients, it is important to create a pipeline of opportunities which are made of different contacts at different stages of likely conversion.

Depending on your service offering you may be looking to target a vast number of leads, possibly thousands, so you therefore need a system to prioritise who you are going to focus your time on.

The typical sales flow will include the following steps or milestones, and you need to consider how your business will approach each touchpoint:

Lead – brand new lead identified through various data sources

Prospect - a qualified lead, reaching your pre agreed criteria

Discovery meeting - hurray! You have a meeting or call with client to establish if you are a good fit for each other, to establish their needs and to present your solution

Proposal - a follow up document from the meeting where you restate your understanding of the client needs, your solution and the practical details and financials of how this will be met

Negotiation - the space in between a client receiving a proposal and signing a contract – you may need to renegotiate areas of the proposal or pricing

Onboarding Process – the client says yes! What next?

In summary…

Mapping out a sales process can be a lengthy, confusing process. So many factors come into play when deciding what the best journey is for your business and what is going to be the most successful route for turning your leads into customers.

What structure or process is best for you? What resources are available to you? How will you approach clients? What will your messaging be? Getting these questions right, or having a plan in place to swiftly change direction when the answer is wrong, are paramount to your sales success.

Having a solid, tested and successful sales process in place, ensures you are able to transform your leads into sales, boost your sales conversions, and ensures that your team is delivering the right messaging and a positive experience to every client that they deal with. This could be the difference between success and failure.

A successful sales process is something that businesses struggle to get right, but when they do, the ROI goes through the roof!

At Everyone Says Hi!, we work with our clients to create bespoke playbooks designed specifically for their business needs.

For more information and guidance on mapping your sales process, or to discuss other ways in which we can support your sales effort, book in for a virtual coffee:

In our next blog we’ll take a look at some other areas including discovery questions, possible objections, pricing strategy, best practice for customer meetings and note taking, setting targets and coaching plans for your sales team.

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Whether you’re a brand new start-up or a well-established business, having a sales strategy is your key to success. Many of my clients come to me without having a proper sales strategy in place. Witho