A few months ago, I got a call from the CEO of a service boutique company. He was very nervous about the fact that his company doesn’t have any sales procedures, and they have had a difficult time selling since they launched a new service.
I decided to meet the CEO and some of the employees in their offices in Tel Aviv.
They took it very seriously by devoting the entire company TO BRING IN SALES.
“Now we need to FOCUS on SALES,” said the CEO.
From the instant we met, we recognized that there was much work to do.
The company had no sales procedures or sales funnel.
All employees had unclear roles, and everyone was doing everything. No one had clear responsibilities because the CEO or the COO were allocating the tasks without regard to their context.
The company had no CRM at the beginning. They tried to manage the CRM but didn’t know how to implement their strategy with it — which happens a lot.
All employees, including the management, couldn’t differentiate between Marketing, Pre-sales, Sales, Customer Success, and finance. Also, they didn’t use those terms or even conscious of them.
It’s important to say that we at Scaleops brought our terms and definitions from the tech industry. We often work with service companies and train them to work like a start-up.
The First Week of Establishing a Robust Sales Operations
I always like to start with the simple question of:
Describe your sales process from the moment you get the lead — +which lead sources you have.
The CEO and his partner, the COO, started to tell me the whole process concerning how they generate the leads, and who manages each step.
In this case, everyone was managing everything, so they couldn’t concentrate on any specific function until they realized that lots of potential deals fell between the cracks.
We decided to work together this time and make it as their main project. We defined the KPI’s and weekly targets we wish to achieve, and I started with building their sales operations, and sales funnel as follows:
The First Step – Sales Operations Audit
This Step Includes Three Sub-Steps:
- First is a full audit of sales processes, software (CRM & Sales tools), and existing policies and guidelines.
- Second is interviewing people who are part of the sales cycle. They could be Marketing, Pre-sales, Product, Sales, Management, Legal, Finance, Post-Sales, and the like.
We learned about the complete sales process in-depth, end to end, as well as understanding the business and kinds of services offered.
It took approximately one week to complete all of this, and I insisted on having it done before we started to draw a new process.
- The third is research about existing sales strategies.
At this sub-stage, we have a great deal of in-house information from different teams about their work with clients or in the sales cycle itself. Now it was time to ask strategic questions and have discussions with the management about the target audience, the current state of sales, tools, and materials the company is using or wish to start using.
Once the audit was done, we were ready to go!
The Second Step – Identifying Problems and Craft Solutions
After a full audit, we began to identify problems related to the sales process.
In our case, I decided to explore the full process from lead to cash.
The following is a small brief of what we did:
Marketing - The company had no marketing strategy, and most of their leads came through the CEO’s network.
The CEO was getting phone calls or WhatsApp messages, and sometimes it wasn’t well communicated with other teams to proceed with the sales process.
We decided to:
Start using HubSpot to follow their leads—representing them with a simple lead scoring.
Define a business development role and assign it to one of the employees.
Talk with a Marketing strategist to build a proper Marketing Funnel for the company. In the beginning, we had to set a temporary Marketing plan which included Social Media exposure, content, blogs, newsletters to start “running the machine” and provide value to the company’s followers or those who read the content.
We decided to create and define this role and have someone to develop first relationships with contacts or speak with people once they contacted through any media like website form, social media, email, and the like.
This role is quite critical for many companies to do a lead qualification and see if the client can potentially fit the company and if the company can provide the client a real value and help to “get jobs to be done”.
“JOBS TO BE DONE”- ILLUSTRATION AND HUBSPOT ACADEMY
Before we managed to define the technical team as a pre-sales team, we realized that they were a supercritical function in the sales cycle. They made the first or second calls to the prospects to fill out a questionnaire. BUT—
Was it only to fill out a questionnaire and follow questions like a robot? The answer is no. This technical team had to be defined as pre-sales as they had lots of impact on the company’s potential clients. They have to listen to their problems and try to provide them value from the first call, be their prominent experts, consultants and know HOW TO SELL. That’s why we decided to call them the Pre-Sales Team. :)
I took a few calls with the Pre-Sales Team members when they spoke with potential customers to audit the team’s performance and guide them on how to leverage their technical knowledge to be both sales and technological leaders.
Until this stage, we had the COO and the CEO doing many of the tasks that they could delegate to other teams.
I decided to reduce the COO and CEO’s responsibilities as much as possible until we came to the commercial side of the business, where they needed to be involved.
We also optimized the company’s sales stages—automated them as much as possible to reach a simple and effective process at the end.
This Second steps touched more teams and their problems, like legal, finance, post-sales, and the like. I’m happy to tell you more about it in my next articles.
The Third Step — A CRM with Sales Processes and Strategy
We gained an understanding of how the sales process and strategy should look, and now we’re ready to implement it in the CRM.
We chose HubSpot and used the free tool to start. It is essential to choose the right CRM, which fits both the company’s needs and size, and budget.
It took us one intensive month to implement a process that was as straightforward as possible and make sure that we covered the complete process from the moment we get the lead, until the moment we close the deal (and hopefully, close a SUCCESSFUL deal).
The Fourth Step - Ensure Goals Are Met
During this step, we went back to our project KPIs to monitor the metrics and create more KPI’s to track Sales metrics.
We designed dashboards and reports to represent the following sales’ KPIs examples:
Quarterly sales deals vs. targets
Sales Qualified Leads conversion rate
Proposal stage conversion rate
Pre-Sales conversion rate and monthly calls growth
The Fifth Step - Steer Sales and Train the Team
The training was an integral part of all stages, all the time.
However, I believe that companies should have enough knowledge to lead the right sales process and to manage their operations.
We always do a handoff before we finish a project to make sure everyone is aligned and aware of their responsibility which correlates to the full sales process.
We had a different kind of training sessions about:
How to manage their daily sales operations
How to handle “Go to Market – weekly sales meetings
How to build a sales forecasting model
How to improve sales and pre-sales calls to fit the current sales process
What Happened After?
The company managed to close a few deals in a short time after this project. Happy customers gave them compliments about their sales process. Can you imagine how potential customers felt about how strongly internally organized everything was?
That was even a surprise for me. :)
For those companies who still wonder –
The sales field contains both content and process. Three things are vital—talented salespeople, an excellent pitch, and a proper sales process to succeed with selling.
If you find the sales process in your company is a challenge, book a free evaluation with us here, and get our best practices and insights.