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Defining and documenting sales process is about as sexy as doing your taxes but having a plan to execute your strategy is key to business growth.
14 May 2015

Your Business Growth: Are You Winging It?

Why are you in business?

The answers for each person might vary from deeply personal motivation such as “To create jobs for veterans“, “To be my own boss” or in my case, “It’s my calling, this is bigger than me, I HAD to build this business.

Most people start or build businesses because of a specific drive or talent but the one unspoken motivation that everyone agrees upon is that they’re here to create a successful business that not just survives but thrives.

What happens often is that once business has achieved the first or second level of success, we get stuck Doing the Business, In the Business and maintaining is our focus – surviving instead of stretching, growing and thriving.

It’s very painful. We call them “Growing Pains” because it hurts – to stretch beyond our current capacity, reach farther than we have before. Growing pains are usually where businesses either find their resting point and slowly descend into irrelevance or collapse or, they put in the extra 20 hours a week, hustle, test and try new things, hire new people, add resources and invest in their business and find a way to thrive and get to the next level.

That second option, the hustle, the mustering – that doesn’t happen if you’re just “Winging It.”

We’re in that boat right now, here at The Selling Agency. More business, more interest, more opportunities and we’ve got to decide what is good business, what meets our growth objectives and what talent and resources to invest in to thrive at the next level. Really, it’s like trying to not let the Cart that carries all your revenue run over the Horse that’s galloping as fast as she can to get to the destinations.

So what do we do?

We follow our own advice. (And yes, it IS a pain in the butt – taking your own medicine). We pull together and outline our opportunities, our new strategy and work on our execution plan. The strategy is the easier part – what comes next is the part that usually breaks down or is never defined in busy businesses: The Process of Executing Strategy for Business Growth.

So, as we do for our clients, we write our own Sales Strategy + Process Playbook. Like any great team – we don’t just “Wing it” hoping for growth and results. We design the plays, we practice the plays and we execute the plays using a strategically designed, agile and responsive Playbook.

We have pages and pages of blogs and posts about the Sales Strategy so this is our dedication to the super important Sales Process – the consistent execution of your strategy – eliminating the loosey-goosey-shiny-object-put-out-fires method of survival and replacing it with precise actions and systems to create your business that thrives.

No matter the size of your business – a one man show, a 500 person firm or a singular sales executive, establishing and implementing a Sales Process increases sales productivity and results. When you write the process, define the details of what works and what should be repeated, you can expand your business by coaching someone else through this process to build upon your success.This detailed methodology reinforces brand position, creates consistency in customer experience, leverages information to shorten sales cycles and gives visibility for forecasting.

The activities and behaviors outlined in the sales process are key to scalability and growth of your business in that they generate –

  • Predictable Outcomes – documenting buyer behaviors and successful triggers lead to intentional actions, desired outcomes, increased sales conversions and potentially higher margins.
  • Repeatable Activities – consistency in action by all sales and company talent reinforces customer experiences and expectations for success.
  • Measurable Results – sales performance, selling activities, customer acquisition costs, and campaign performance can be quantified and evaluated to understand success metrics and value of future business in pipeline (so you can make growth and investment plans).

Every Sales Process will be different but ideally, you map your sales strategy to your selling activities and buyers’ actions. The Selling Road Map here identifies and overlaps the “new” stages of the Selling Process with how Modern Consumers are now conducting their Buyer Journey:

The Selling Road Map here identifies and overlaps the "new" stages of the Selling Process with how Modern Consumers are now conducting their Buyer Journey

Your Sales Process Playbook should identify and define 4 things:

Sales/Buying Stages

Pre-Funnel
Funnel Stages (Top, Middle, Bottom
Qualifying Conditions

Selling & Marketing Activities

Prospecting, Awareness, Visibility Actions
Social Media Strategy
Content Sharing in each funnel phase
Trigger events and actions to move clients to next phase
Calling/Emailing/Networking/Meeting

Tools and Resources

CRM
Database
Lead Sources
Social Media scheduling
Marketing/Brand Guides
Content (White Papers, Case Studies, Website, Blog, Newsletter, Posts, Email)
Scripts
Cost Analysis Tools
Presentations
Proposals

Measurement

Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
Average Sale
Win/Loss Ratio
Time in Funnel Stage
Customer Acquisition Costs
Retention Rate
Lead Sources
Campaign Performance
Click Through

As we said, living our own advice is no picnic. It’s tough and defining and documenting sales process is about as sexy as doing your taxes but having a plan to execute your strategy allows you to quickly test, measure and learn from your actions and consistently improve results.

You’ve got to Run the Plays to Win the Game. It’s a big key to Thriving and Growing versus winging it to survive.

Until next time, keep kickin’ butt.

-sks

PS – If creating your Sales Strategy + Process Playbook seems like something you can’t imagine having the time to do or you’d rather paint the inside of your eyelids, we can help get that done so YOU no longer have to Wing It.