This week in Optimise Your Business we look at how a company mapped its sales with a workflow to find out where they were losing customers in the process and how to optimise it. A clever reorganisation of the sales process reduced the number of sales staff while increasing sales 350 percent.
When Michael “MC” Carter took over sales for a software development company he co-founded, his first priority was to re-examine how the business made its sales. Business Fitness sold a document management system to accounting firms and each sale was taking months. The cost of making a sale was too high as the sales executives were flying out to meet prospective buyers for product demonstrations.
And all incoming leads were not handled in a way that improved the possibility of a sale. “The worst thing you can do when someone rings ands asks, Can you send me a brochure, is to say yes and send them one,” Carter says, who has since sold his stake in the company and set up a consultancy, Practice Paradox. By giving them a brochure “we would effectively cut them loose. That converts customers into brochure collectors.”
Carter wrote down all the steps in the sales process and divided them among the sales team based on their experience.
“The first stage of your sales process is to sell the person on the sales process,” Carter says. When a caller asked for the brochure, Business Fitness employed young “sales coordinators” to ask why they were making the inquiry and to ask the customer to undertake a three-step needs analysis through a web-based form.
The second step was to send a PDF showing a graphical overview or “quick tour” of the document management system.
The junior salesperson asked a series of questions to find out the problems the company was facing, the reason for looking for a new system and whether who else in the customer’s company needed to make decision to buy the software. After the evaluation the salesperson booked a custom demonstration which was conducted online.
“We recommend that in a consultative sale you separate who handles the incoming inquiry from the main adviser who will run the main evaluation or demo,” Carter says.
Now the company had a clearly defined sales process, a web-based form to capture important sales information, and a stream of highly qualified leads for the main adviser to showcase the software. “We went into the sales meeting knowing who they were, what problems they had, and we didn’t do the web meeting unless all the people who were making a decision on it could attend,” Carter says.
Showing prospective customers an overview of the product beforehand allowed the main adviser to cover more ground in the web meeting and talk about the benefits. “We told customers that (the web meeting) would be a more useful and interactive session for you in your evaluation process” if they read the PDF overview first, Carter says.
Once the new sales process had been mapped out in a workflow, tasks redistributed within the team and automatically updated with the CRM, Business Fitness increased its revenue by 350 percent in one year. “The results we achieved that year were with a quarter of the salespeople,” Carter says.