What your Sales process is costing you

By Drew Arthur

Let’s be honest, your Sales process is probably fraught with inefficiencies.

And you’re not alone. A shocking number of Small and Medium Businesses are content to accommodate a significant amount of inefficiency within their sales processes. What they may not realise is how much money they are leaving on the table, or how much it may be hindering their businesses’ growth.

So in this month’s blog I wanted to share with you what you should be watching out for, as inefficiencies in your Sales process can play out in a number of ways, with varying impacts on your business:

  1. Your sales team treat every opportunity in the same way.

While it probably would make life easier if we could use a ‘one size fits all’ approach to selling, that’s simply not the case. In fact, it’s the complete opposite – most deals are impacted by a number of key factors that play out in different ways, and therefore should be taken into consideration when developing each deal strategy, including:

  • The size of the deal
  • The stage the buyer’s at in their decision making process
  • Whether they are a new or repeat customer
  • Their interactions with your website and other marketing activity
  • Previous purchases

Without considering all these factors in their selling, your sales people will have a much harder time closing deals.

 

  1. Your sales team don’t have the capacity to follow up on smaller quotes.

When Sales people do differentiate based on deal size, it’s mostly just to prioritise which quotes they follow up. In most cases, this happens out of necessity because the Sales team may simply not have the capacity to follow up all the quotes sent out. But when a high volume of smaller value quotes are not followed up before they lapse, it can add up to tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

 

  1. Your sales team are doing the heavy lifting and your marketing function is underutilised.

A practice that we see frighteningly often is businesses relying on their Sales team to manage the entire buyer engagement process, from lead generation to closure, while Marketing is off creating brochures and producing branded mugs. This is so, so inefficient and is causing you to leak money in a number of ways:

  • Your most expensive resources being spread thin, while Marketing is not paying rent;
  • You’re limited in the overall market you can reach due to the low volume approach of sales;
  • Sales time spent on lead generation reduces capacity to follow up on quotes and close deals; and
  • Focus on deal closure may come at the cost of an empty pipeline later in the year.

 

  1. You lack the information you need to effectively incentivise or measure the performance of your Sales team.

In order to get the most from your sales team, you’ll probably need to have an effective performance measurement and incentive scheme in place, but what happens all too often is that businesses lack clear visibility of their sales people’s performance and are forced to reward their Sales team only on measures such as closure rates.

Unfortunately, such measures, while valid, don’t illustrate the whole picture and can encourage a range of bad behaviour in your sales people, such as heavy discounting to close deals or not declaring deals that don’t close.

 

  1. You can’t intelligently cross sell to existing customers

If your customers are purchasing one product, you should be leveraging this relationship to pitch them any other related products. It’s one of the easiest ways of driving more revenue from existing customer engagements.

But, if customer information and purchase histories are not stored in a central location or are difficult to access this becomes much harder to do, and you may be losing numerous sales opportunities as a result.

 

  1. You don’t have visibility of your future pipeline to plan ahead

Another Sales process weakness that can create a lot of inefficiency is not keeping track of what’s in the pipeline for the future: what deals are in the works, when they’re expected to close and what their status towards closure is.

Without this visibility, your ability to plan ahead is compromised – whether it’s about resourcing, inventory purchases, or other investments – and you’re probably on the back foot when it comes to making these decisions.

 

These are just six of many other inefficiencies that you may be experiencing in your business. Can you imagine how much you might be losing as a result?

 

Building efficiency into your Sales processes

So now that we know something’s wrong – how can we fix it?

As you know, technology can play a significant role in driving efficiency in any process, and Sales is no exception. In fact, there is an absolute range of solutions to help optimise Sales activity, from large enterprise-level applications to your humble Excel spreadsheet. In such a diverse market, selecting the right solution for you can be quite challenging.

I recommend going with a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. They are designed to support both Sales and Marketing in gaining efficiencies in how they engage the buyer and maintain profitable relationships with them.

“Yeah, Drew, but which CRM?”

HARMONiQ CRM, of course.

But seriously, as you can imagine, the CRM market is also littered with options. Here are some of the things you should be looking for in any CRM you consider. It should:

  • Allow you to track buyer progressions and other elements that make deals unique, so that you can customise your deal strategy accordingly;
  • Automate simple selling and sales support tasks, such as sending follow up emails for low value quotes, or setting reminders for Sales people to make follow up calls;
  • Provide a platform that both Marketing and Sales can work off of together; Marketing driving lead generation through high volume buyer contact, and Sales getting hands on with deals that have progressed further;
  • Track Sales performance metrics to enable intelligent and whole-picture performance analysis and increase Sales team accountability;
  • Provide visibility of customers’ past purchases so that either Marketing or Sales can pursue clever cross selling opportunities; and
  • Provide pipeline analytics, allowing you to forecast your Sales outcomes into the future and make more informed decisions.

It should also:

  • Scale, so that you don’t have to dump the software as you grow;
  • Integrate with your existing systems, so that you can leverage information stored in these systems as well; and
  • Be customisable, aligning to how you and your team work.

Understanding the specific needs of Small and Medium Businesses, we designed HARMONiQ CRM to fulfil all these requirements.

And I’d love to so you how. So let’s put HARMONiQ to the test together: give me a call on 02 9542 2000 or send me an email on drew@harmoniq.com.au.

 

I look forward to hearing from you.

If you’ve got some thoughts on my blog, please leave your comments below.

Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems, and is focused on helping businesses tune their processes for growth by leveraging cutting-edge technology.

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