Why Home Restoration Businesses Are Wasting Their Time Without Sales Lead Management Software

Why Home Restoration Businesses Are Wasting Their Time Without Sales Lead Management Software

Restoration companies need to be in the right place at the right time. When the flood comes, the fire consumes, or a pipe bursts, your company wants to be on speed dial.

But how do you get your restoration company on their short list? In home restoration, you depend on referrals. Sure, you go through regular advertising channels, but professional referrals make you stand out. To have a testimony to the professionalism and quality of your home restoration company is clutch to a homeowner or business in need.

So how do you create a strong referral program? You build intentional relationships with professionals.

It’s all about keeping in touch. You need a rhythm — a way to reach out to people regularly so you don’t fall into the rut of contacting the same agents repeatedly. Instead, you need to give your attention to as many professional contacts as possible to make sure it’s you they call when it’s time to rehab.

Consistency = Trust

A lead management tool makes this rhythm work. It helps you keep track of information so you see the right people at the right frequency.

How? First, it tells you who’s nearby. If you drive across town for one appointment, you’re not maximizing your time. You may or may not get a return. Instead, when you drive to meet a contact, you need to see 5-10 other people too, whether new prospects or people you already know. Sales lead management software that shows you who’s close makes this easy.

This tool helps you to see your professional contacts regularly. That consistency builds trust — and trust is essential to earn professional referrals. See, insurance agents are recommending you to their customers. This recommendation implies you’re an extension of both the carrier and the agent. If you don’t do a good job, that’s a direct reflection on the insurance agent and company. So, if you want to be the person they refer, you need to give them a reason to believe sending clients to you is an intelligent decision. The right tool keeps you on track — it only takes one slip to ruin that relationship. But, if you’re organized and consistent, you’re building the trust they need to feel comfortable recommending you.

Related: How to Get High-Quality Sales Referrals

Improving Your Compensation Structure

The best software for sales lead management also helps you better compensate your salespeople. See, salespeople in other industries are paid based on their sales productivity. They earn commission by getting dollars through the door. But, in restoration services, salespeople can’t exactly create their sales — they’re not starting fires or busting pipes. So instead of basing commissions on sales alone, they need a structure that incentivizes activity. Why? Activity leads to phone calls that ultimately lead to sales.

We’ve worked with numerous companies to restructure their commissions based on activity levels. Let’s say we start with a 2% commission on sales from one of your referral sources or commercial accounts. Then give your salespeople the opportunity to increase that commission percentage with activity levels. As salespeople hit the target number of appointments, lunches, phone calls, and meetings with professional references, they bump up their commission to the next level.

Related: How Much Should You Really Compensate Your Salespeople?

The goal is to keep your sales team out of research mode and in the field meeting people. It’s the face-to-face meetings that earn money — it’s walking through office doors, having lunch, and playing golf that builds the relationship.

Plus, there’s not much to research — if you need to know where the agents are, just open your CallProof app and it’ll tell you.

The Two Most Ignored Markets in Home Restoration

Most home restoration salespeople know to stay in touch with insurance agents, but there are two vertical markets they miss — and both are clients with lots of toilets.

Sounds like a joke, right? It’s not. If a property has lots of toilets, they’ll have a water problem at some point. So they need to be on your radar. Here are two specific markets this includes:

1. Property Managers of Multi-Family Properties

The more property someone owns, the more likely they are to need restoration services. Properties with multi-family units likely have a lot of toilets and water lines. So stay in contact with them. After you meet with them and initiate the relationship, tell them you’ll call once a quarter to check in. Really, call them every 60 days to make sure they’re doing okay. Then see them (face-to-face) twice a year.

If you cover a specific geographic area and you know an ice storm came through, send them an email, “Hey, I hope you’re okay. Not all of our clients are. Do you need anything?” Whether they need you or not, they’ll know you were alert and ready to help.

2. Businesses With Lots of Toilets

Businesses and other commercial entities are another missed market. Churches, libraries, factories, and school districts are prime contacts for restoration. They have assets they need to protect from fires, floods, and storm damage. Any business you assume has an on-staff maintenance person or any building over 40,000 square feet is a contact you want to have.

Let them know about the risks they have too. In the event of a sewer backup, is their maintenance staff blood-borne pathogen certified? Do they want to handle that? No, they want to outsource to eliminate risk. I guarantee, if the risk manager at their insurance agency found out that someone who isn’t blood-borne pathogen-certified was working on the sewer backup, there’d be issues. They don’t want to do that — it just puts them at risk.

When you meet with asset owners of these businesses, make them aware of the risks they face. Here’s just one (true) story of why letting the pros handle cleanup is best.

During a busy time of year, a restoration company hired a temp to help with janitorial work. The guy they hired had a history of heroin use and intravenous needles. He worked a few hours of a sewer cleanup (wearing full protective gear) before he quit and walked off the job.

Later, he sued them because he tested positive for hepatitis C… and he won. He had 20 years of needle usage in his history, but after working less than a day on a cleanup with blood-borne pathogens won the lawsuit. And they’ll win every time. That’s how dangerous some of these issues are.

The Real Value of Relationship

Having a relationship with your company is helpful to you — but it’s valuable to agents and owners too. Sometimes, they don’t understand that the best deals don’t come out of the phone book. If they start looking for a restoration company during a 2:00 a.m. emergency, they won’t get special treatment. In fact, they’ll likely get a hefty bill and a lot of stress. Help them understand this. A pre-existing relationship with your company protects their assets (and bank accounts) during unexpected crises.

Craft Beer Distribution: How to Get Your Beer into More Restaurants

Craft Beer Distribution- How to Get Your Beer into More Restaurants

A guy walks into a bar — not just any bar, a brewery. This place makes great beer — but no one knows about it yet. So the guy asks the owner, “Have you thought about getting your beer into more restaurants and bars?”

“Are you a distributor?”

“No, but I know a way you can do it yourself.”

“Well,” the owner replies, “I have an agreement with my distributor not to sell my product directly. Otherwise, they’re not going to bring my product to all of their customers.”

“Well, there’s a different way… and it doesn’t violate that agreement.”

What if you could get people to ask your distributor for your beer? You don’t have to distribute, and you’ll give your distributor more business. Now that’s how to sell beer.

How to Promote Your Beer Distributors

So how do you compete against the big distributors who have thousands of brands? It’s not as complicated as you may think.

In fact, you do the same thing everyone in the beer distribution business does — you walk into bars and restaurants and talk to the owners. You meet people. You put together events that promote your product. You hand out free beer mugs, tap handles, and swag. You say, “This is the best beer in the world. It’ll sell like crazy. Ask your distributor about it.”

But you add one extra piece of information at the end of your promo: the distributor’s name. Make it personal. Say, “Hey, Ralph is the guy that distributes beer to your store. You see him every other day. Ask him about it tomorrow.”

That one extra piece of info makes all the difference. See, if you just tell them the general, “Ask your distributor,” they won’t. You have to make it specific.

Related: Tell the Story, Make the Sale: Sales Conversation Starters to Improve Your Pitch

And you can even tell your distributor what you’re doing. You aren’t a prisoner to the distributor. Just say, “Hey, I know you distribute beer for my competitors too. That’s great — you’re the one there and they buy from one person so they don’t have a million invoices. I get it. I don’t want to run trucks; you don’t want to make beer. But I’m going to go increase your sales for you for nothing. I’m going to get them to order more beer from you and it’s going to help us both.”

Your goal is to influence the buying decisions.

How to Keep Track of the Distributors

But how do you get the information you need to be successful? Well, you could research and get organized before you see each new place… but you’ll miss out on about five stops you could have made during that time.

Instead, you need some sort of mechanism to keep track of all those distributors. You need a tool that tells you the name of the distributor, what’s important to them, and what’s selling in that area as soon as you walk through the door. An app like CallProof keeps that info at your fingertips.

How a CRM Keeps Your Craft Beer Distribution Contacts Organized

When you’re looking for a good CRM, you may think you want something that emails a report at the end of each day. You want it to include where you went today and where you plan to go tomorrow.

But here’s what you need:

You need a tool that gives people on the street a way to enter information about their stops so that you get quality information. Otherwise, it’s just garbage.

Just because a salesperson tells you they stopped somewhere, doesn’t mean they did. What are you going to do — call and ask, “Hey, was he really there?” Of course not. Managers don’t call, and salespeople don’t make all the stops they claim to make. They go out and see a few people in the morning and a few others in the afternoon. Then they tell you they went to 20 places, when they really went to the same five places that morning they visit every Tuesday because they’re buddies. It’s not the way it started. It’s not even what they want. But after 18 months selling beer to place after place, that’s the way it ends up.

See, they probably drove past four bars on their way to see one they visit every Tuesday. Why aren’t they stopping? Well, they don’t have the information they need to be successful. They think, “I’ve got to stop in a new place and interrupt someone’s day to have an uncomfortable conversation. Even if the conversation turns out good, I have to remember everything we talked about, take it back to my office, and try to enter it all into a program that doesn’t work right. This is a waste of everyone’s time. Instead, I could just go the bar I always visit and they’ll keep ordering beer.”

Related: Why Your Salespeople Hate Using Your CRM – And How to Change Their Minds

What’s driving your beer sales right now is not your sales team — it’s the distributors. But if your salespeople had a mechanism to hold them accountable and give them information about nearby restaurants so they can make each stop worthwhile, that could change.

If you’re making great beer, more people should know about it. With the right tools, your sales team can make that happen.

Tell the Story, Make the Sale: Sales Conversation Starters to Improve Your Pitch

Tell the Story, Make the Sale

How much does a polar bear weigh?

Answer: Enough to break the ice.

Okay, maybe it’s the cheesiest pickup line ever, but it accomplishes an important task: it opens the door to conversation.

The best sales conversation starters do the same. They tell a short story to open conversation — a story about what problem you can solve for other people and how it might help your prospect, too.

Make Your Story About the Solution

Successful companies don’t exist because people needed something to do. They exist because they solved someone’s problem.

Think about a screw company. No one said, “I’d just really like to make screws!” Instead, someone likely heard, “We need a screw for this material, and no one makes it.” They thought, “I could do it!” And now they have more orders than they can fill.

When you meet new prospects, center your story on the problem you solve. Explain, “Here’s what I do and here’s how it helps you.” It’s less about I and more about you. The story stays focused on the customer’s needs — you just happen to be delivering the solution.

With Callproof, sometimes when we’re meeting new prospects we don’t even show them the demo. Once we tell them why we exist, they say, “This is exactly what we need.” I just agree and show them where to sign.

People also like to know why you decided to solve the problem in the first place. Think about any reality show from Shark Tank to American Ninja Warrior. How do they introduce each contestant? They tell the story of why they do what they do. Why did they invent this new gadget? What pushed them to train so hard? Then, if we identify with their story, we’re rooting them on to the end. The story does two things: it captures our attention and then gives us something to believe in.

Apply this to sales. If you want people on board, start with a story worth listening to.

How to Tell Your Story

How do you come up with such a great hook for your future customers? First, describe how your company started. When were you first introduced to the problem you now solve?

Then think about your first two customers. What was their biggest problem and how did you help? What did your solution do for their business?

Sounds simple, right? But there’s a catch — you need to know why your customers use you. If you don’t know, ask them.

Once you identify the why, you’ll be able to tell a story that helps prospects envision how you’ll change things for them too.

Related: Sell the Value of Your Product, Not the Price

Make the Sale

Then the story sells the product for you. You’ve built your pitch into the story when you tell them why people choose you. Don’t push a traditional sales pitch on them. You’ll never hear me spitting facts out about our 90% repeat customer rate, etc. Skip the statistics and stick with the story.

Then ask about them. What’s their story? They’ll tell you their story, the problem you solve will likely show up, and they’ll buy.

What About the Numbers?

When the conversation starts to get into the numbers and facts, be prepared. Either know the stats they want to know or set up a time for their technical people to connect with your technical people. Just keep the stats in perspective. The story will sell better than the fact sheet any day.

In case you’re still wondering about those polar bears, the females tip the scales at about 550 pounds and males at 990.

What Parking My Car Taught Me About Sales Success

What Parking My Car Taught Me About Sales Sucess

A few months ago, I was doing a three-part training for New York Life agents. In these types of training, you get to know each other during multiple sessions as you observe and interact.

Well, apparently one guy had noticed how I parked from the conference room window. So, as I walked into the third session, he asked, “Why do you always back into your parking spot?” Little did he know, he was tapping into a life philosophy.

It all started a few years ago with a Stephen Covey book.

The book was all about being proactive, keeping the end in mind, planning, and being more confident. When someone had asked me what I got out of it, I joked, “I could probably park better.” But it was true! Beginning with the end in mind affects everything — even how we park.

You park your car best when you consider how you need to leave. What’s the easiest way out? What safety concerns do you face? What are you skilled enough to do?

I’ve realized we can also follow this new way of thinking when it comes to our sales success. So, here are three ways to begin with the end in mind, whether you’re parking your car or making a sale.

1. Be Proactive

How do you want to drive away later? Forward or backward? Obviously, forward is easier, so I back into a spot. Most likely, when I leave later, other people will be leaving too. Do we all want to be backing out at the same chaotic time? No. Why not just back in when I’m the only one parking? When I do that, I’m proactive about how I want this situation to end.

2. Plan Ahead

One the main parts of driving is planning to be safe. I know I have horrible blind spots in my truck. So, if I can pull forward rather than back out when the lots are crowded, I’m less likely to hit anyone. Hence, I plan to be safe from the beginning.

3. Be Confident

I’ve been driving this truck for a few years. I’m good at backing the truck into a tight spot, so I lean into that ability with confidence and park accordingly.

From the Parking Lot to the Workplace

Just like I implemented these strategies in parking, CRMs help you naturally implement them at work. You have to be proactive, plan ahead, and be confident to sell. And CRMs like CallProof enable you to gain these skills.

First, they help you be proactive. You’ll always know who’s around you and what’s coming up. Then you can prioritize what you want to do and spend your time wisely.

CRMs that show you location data also help you plan. You’ll know where you’re going each day and will be able to plan what else you can accomplish while you’re there.

Related: Check out Field Sales 101 for more tips on your sales approach.

Then, once it starts working, you’ll gain confidence. You’ll know you’re not missing anything or forgetting anyone because everything is in one place. You’re not lugging around notebooks anymore. Instead, you’ve got a central hub you can access anywhere with everything you’ll need to know.

Applying these principles to parking may have started as a joke, but there’s no denying the relevance. So whether it’s sales or parking, begin with the end in mind.

Sales Funnel Management: Close More Deals by Eliminating the Noise

sales-funnel-management

If you’re looking to move your prospects from possibility to purchase, it’s time to reexamine your sales funnel management. At the top of this metaphorical funnel are any people who could potentially buy. Then, as they move closer to being a client, they move down the funnel.

But how does this funnel really help the sales process? It works toward two advantages.

1. Planning Your Sales Steps

Figuring out where people are in this process helps you manage your sales steps. So, if a person is a new prospect, you know what to do. If they’re a returning customer, they’re at a different part of the funnel, and you need to take a different action step.

Related: A Sales Lead Management Process You Can Count On

See, too often people wait for the customer or prospect to tell them to go to the next step. It works better if you figure out how to get them to the next step. Don’t just wait for it to happen — make it happen.

Look at your pipeline and ask yourself, “What’s the next action I need to do?” Keep your action simple. It shouldn’t be conducting extensive research and geological surveys. It can be as easy as setting a reminder to call them tomorrow. Use your pipeline to be proactive, not reactive.

2. Balancing Your Sales Steps

Funnel management in sales also keeps you balanced. Try to spend time with prospects in each part of your funnel: the top, middle, and bottom. You should be continually prospecting, quoting, and closing. If you focus on these areas in phases, your pipeline goes dry. The key is doing all of your essential activities regularly. Maybe you start with phone calls (the top of the funnel) and schedule a lot of appointments. Well, don’t stop making those prospecting calls when you start going to appointments.

Balance every stage of the process. That way, you keep your sales steady. Otherwise, you work a few prospects through your pipeline only to realize you have no one left at the top of your funnel. Once your current deals close, you’ll have to start at square one, and it’ll be a while before you make another sale.

More Tips for Managing Your Sales Pipeline

Keep Sales Stages Simple

The way you move people through the pipeline should be easy. Know your next steps for each level. How can you get them from the top to the middle? When you have go-to sales steps, the answer is easy.

Related: How to Close More Deals by Mapping Your Sales Process

Limit Active Prospects

You only need to focus on a few sales-ready leads at a time. Now, you might have 500 prospects, but who are the sales-ready leads you can work through the pipeline? You can’t manage 500 records and move them to their next steps. It takes too much time. Instead, you need to be able to look at your sales-ready leads daily to figure out their next step. Then figure out who will fill their spot after they buy.

I used to be a sales trainer. Our first step was to look at pipeline reports. And so often, I’d see 100 people on their forecasting reports. They were proud of it. High numbers looked great on their report, but it wasn’t actionable, much less realistic. During our training, I’d ask them to get their prospect list down to seven people. Sure, they had more options than that, but they needed a smaller number to make it manageable. So they’d choose seven deals of various sizes to focus on, and they’d start closing them. It was way easier to close two out of seven deals than it was to close two out of 100.

De-Clutter Your Funnel

Most of the time, the pipeline ends up in an Excel file. Salespeople have reporting responsibilities, so they keep this file that they tweak and submit every Friday afternoon. But after a while, they become numb to it. They’re used to looking at the same data — after you’ve seen “oddball” on there for so long, it just stays. It’s natural, but not so effective for keeping the pipeline fresh.

If you want your team to get their funnel down to seven (or however many works for your industry), let them pick which prospects they want. Then they need to literally only focus on those potential customers until they close the deal or go back to another status. Delete the others from your file for now. They’re not your focus.

Your pipeline isn’t about how many prospects you can cram into it. It’s about what’s real. If you want to close deals, you want to eliminate as much noise as possible. The only people you should deal with are the ones you’re actively pushing through your pipeline.

Make Yourself a Better Salesperson by Focusing on the Sales Activities That Matter

sales_activities_that_matter

Salespeople will do what they like to do, not what they need to do. If it’s uncomfortable to make cold calls, they’ll find a way to justify doing something else — like sending an email or writing up a proposal. But when you’re focusing on sales activities, you need to dedicate time to the activities that matter — even if you don’t like them.

Real, Severe Commitment

There’s a difference in scheduling time and severely committing to something. I’m working with my assistant on an issue right now. I told him, “I want you to spend one hour a day on this. You can pick the hour. But during that hour, do not stop. Short of a life safety issue, commit for the whole hour. If a customer shows up and is banging on the door, ignore them. If our biggest client calls and threatens to cancel their service, so what? I’ll deal with the fall-out — you do this task for one hour.”

The next day, I asked if he did it. Nope. “Life safety issue?” I asked. “Imminent death of everyone on earth?!” No. He just bailed. See, scheduling is easy, but we avoid actually doing the tasks we hate — even if they’re important tasks. It happens all the time. And the more uncomfortable it is, the more adamantly you need to commit to the activity.

“Productive” Distractions

So what do we do instead of the activities we hate? Anything else. And if it seems productive, we gravitate towards it. Here are just a few ways we occupy our time with deceitfully unproductive tasks.

Research

Research is one of the main activities that snowballs into unproductiveness. Of course, it’s good to an extent — you need to know the basics of a company before you call, but we tend to keep searching. We get interested in a topic and over-inform ourselves. Plus, we take rabbit trails and end up learning all sorts of info we don’t need.

Let’s say you’re about to make a cold call, so you start researching the company. For three hours, you read and figure out everything there is to know about them. You know their story, who founded it, where they’re located, and anything else you’d want to know. Then you call them and they say, “My brother-in-law handles this for us. We’ll never switch.” You just spent three hours researching to get a “no” in two minutes. You wasted 180 minutes on one dead-end client.

Instead, focus your research so you know what to look for before you start. Then set time limits to keep you on track. If you set a seven-minute time limit on your research for each prospect, then call them in two minutes, you contact 20 prospects in those 180 minutes instead of just one.

The more qualified the prospect, the more time you can spend on research. Maybe you spend 14 minutes researching someone who called you or a person you’re meeting for an appointment. Still, research doesn’t consume your day. Time spent researching dead-end prospects is wasted.

Here are some other ways we waste time:

  • Calling only your current customers
  • Not being organized
  • Not finishing to-do lists
  • Not putting to-dos on your calendar

We have to direct our time we can’t let our disorganization and procrastination derail us. The more intentional we become in our work day, the more sales we make.

Maximizing Your Time

Don’t let fruitless work fill your day. Instead, surround yourself with high-payoff people and do high-payoff activities. Meetings, calls, customer contacts, and prospect interactions all lead to sales. So spend your time doing those things — not the little stuff. It also pays off to figure out your process.

Related: How to Close More Deals by Mapping Your Sales Process

These activities fit into two categories — strategic and tactical. Give time to each. There can be high-payoff tactical activities and high-payoff strategic activities. There can also be low-payoff strategic and tactical activities. The goal is to be both strategic and tactical in your choice of high-payoff activities.

I do this with my phone calls — for every two customers I call, I call one prospect. Then I hold myself accountable to reaching out to new people and maintaining current relationships — both with high payoffs.

Be strategic about who is refilling your funnel and tactical about how you approach your current prospects. You’re only as good as your last sale so focus on the activities that help you to close.

3 Ways to Increase Sales Without Hiring a New Salesperson

increase_sales_productivity

Improving your sales team comes at a cost. But what if you could pay for it in time you’re spending elsewhere rather than the actual price of hiring a new salesperson?

An increase in sales productivity doesn’t have to mean hiring another person — sometimes it just means using the team you have more efficiently.

So what do productive sales teams do? Collectively, they increase their market share. You want your business to gain as much of the market share as possible. The company’s success depends on it. Highly effective sales teams also create “sticky” clients. Once you onboard a customer, they won’t slip away to your competitors. When you’re highly productive, you’re able to do more for your clients than anyone else.

So, if you’re a sales manager looking to make your team more effective, here are three tips that can boost your productivity.

Tip #1: Play to Your Strengths

Here’s a secret: a highly productive sales team comes from highly productive individuals. When each salesperson is working efficiently in their area of strength, the team becomes a more productive force. Then you’re able to do more with less.

It’s important to understand role distinction. Someone who’s great at finding new business may be horrible at following through with account management. So rather than trying to solve the problem by giving each person fewer accounts, separate the roles. Then you may not need more people and you can give each person a more specific job.

The sales job consists of three different roles: hunters, farmers, and account managers. Ideally, people work only in their area of strength. People who are great at connecting with prospects and closing deals are hunters. Farmers then cultivate those relationships and onboard customers. Then another person manages the accounts in the long term. Usually, individuals who do best in each of those phases aren’t the same people. If your company is big enough, you’ll divide those job responsibilities for the best results. Your hunters find new business, farmers bring them home, and account managers keep them around. When people have specific roles, they become experts at their work. They’re more efficient, and customers stick around because their experience is so good.

Related: The Average Salesperson Wastes 2 Hours a Day — Here’s Why

Tip #2: Create Systems, Not Cycles

Systems boost productivity too. Sales managers usually notice the need for a system from fluctuating sales cycles. If sales aren’t consistent, even after you factor in the time of year and the product, a system may be your solution.

Maybe you have a top salesperson with a great month, but then two bad months follow. Once you dig a little deeper, you’ll find those salespeople have created a cycle for themselves. They focus on prospecting one month, appointments the next month, and then on closing deals.

But you want them on a system, not in a cycle.

If prospecting, appointments, and closes can happen at the same time, months won’t rise and fall. Instead, sales will steadily increase. So help them find a routine of scheduling time for each of their tasks. Rather than spending an entire month prospecting, help them designate specific time weekly for working on each task.

Tip #3: Use Sales Productivity Tools

Rather than adding personnel when you need to up your productivity, use tools that maximize effectiveness. An app like CallProof keeps people accountable to the systems you set and makes their job easier with follow-up reminders, a database of prospects, and easy note-taking. It helps each salesperson maintain a system of prospecting and follow up on a pre-scheduled basis so that they can close deals year-round.

The right tools can also help people schedule their time more efficiently. Think of an account manager who only visits current clients. Let’s say they visit a customer on Tuesday. On Thursday, they go back to the same area to see another customer. They’ve just wasted hours. But if the account manager looks at client assets and group visits together to save time, they become significantly more efficient. Then you’re positioned to grow and scale more quickly. And that kind of efficiency becomes much easier with the right tools.

Tools can also help you measure productivity. As a manager, it’s tempting to use closed deals as your only measure of effectiveness. But there’s more to it. Instead, measure activity. Use an app that tracks real-time activity. When you see how many prospects someone meets, how many phone calls they make, and how many meetings they have, you’ll know how productive they are. So focus on the numbers. Activities lead to sales. You can fix the details later if necessary, but the key is getting the numbers up.

The tools you need to improve aren’t far-fetched. They can be right at your fingertips with an app like CallProof. If you have the right people in the right roles, the right tools will skyrocket their success.

 

How to Close More Deals by Mapping Your Sales Process

sales_process_mapping

Most builders live by the rule “Measure twice. Cut once.” Sure, it takes more work on the front end, but it saves time, money, and frustration for the overall project. It wastes less material and gets better final results.

But most builders probably learned this rule the hard way. Early on, they skipped those extra measurements and ended up with something that didn’t line up. Then they had to backtrack until they found the wrongly measured piece. In the end, they learned the extra time measuring is well worth the investment.

Isn’t the same true in sales? Sales measurements aren’t taken in inches and feet — they’re taken through a sales process. If you can check measurements of success continually, you’ll be able to catch problems before they destroy your deals.

Here’s how a measured sales process keeps your sales team on track.

Why Sales Process Mapping Works

Any time you put a process in place, you have something to measure. And in sales, a routine sales process gives your salespeople a launching point for success. Sure, people do different things. Some salespeople approach a process with more creativity. Some clients need a more tailored approach to sales before they buy. But the groundwork of a sales process can be the same for everyone.

Related: A Sales Lead Management Process You Can Count On

The Basic Sales Process

A consistent sales process keeps your customers on the same track. Perhaps your sales process steps look something like this:

  1. Schedule an initial meeting
  2. Follow up after the meeting regarding any action items you discussed
  3. Give them a quote
  4. Make sure they received the quote
  5. Make contact regularly until they buy (every 30-60 days)

With sales process mapping, not only do beginning salespeople have a foundation for pursuing prospects, but these sales steps also help you troubleshoot three common problems.

Problem 1: Low-Performing Salesperson

If a salesperson isn’t meeting their goals, you have a starting point for identifying the problem. Look at their sales process. Are they scheduling enough initial meetings? Do they respond with quotes promptly? Do they make contact regularly after sending quotes? If they’re missing one of these steps, you’ve likely found the issue they need to work on in order to improve.

Without a process, it’s hard to identify the problems. Why isn’t this salesperson performing? When you have the same sales steps in place for everyone, you can identify low performers and pinpoint the problems.

Problem 2: Disappearing Prospects

A process also keeps your clients on a marketing path. Maybe a deal gets delayed or a prospect seems to disappear for a while. At one point, this prospect seemed interested, but something happened. They managed to fall out of the sales funnel either by choice or because a salesperson didn’t follow through.

But sales process steps help you pick up where they left off. If a prospect already received a quote, you can follow up on that quote rather than starting over when you resume contact.

Problem 3: Inconsistency

A sales process gives your clients consistency. And consistency builds trust. Your clients will come to realize everyone at your business is on the same page. They trust that you’ll be in contact regularly and know the next steps. And when they know they can count on you, they’re more likely to give you their business.

Setting Up the Sales Process

Paint broad strokes as you come up with the right process for your business. You don’t want to box people in. Instead, show them what general activities lead to sales. Then tie those activities to different steps, but leave room for salespeople to tailor their approach to the clients.

Then teach the process from the top down. Use top salespeople to outline the activities that led to their sales. After they have collectively outlined their sales process, they can teach it to others. If everyone follows that outline, each salesperson will be on the same page as they move clients through the funnel.

Make Sure It Works

You’re measuring the activities of your sales team along the way, but now it’s time for one extra measurement. Evaluate the sales process itself. Look at your sales process at least every six months to see what works and what doesn’t. You’ll start to notice trends like when people buy, where people fall off, and where individual salespeople succeed or struggle. Don’t isolate individual sales situations, but look at the whole sample. Then you’ll be able to make better decisions about what actions to take.

Sales is a marathon, not a sprint. It evolves over time. As the market changes, your sales process changes. So evaluate it regularly to make sure it matches up with the results you want.

As a manager, you’ll find a sales process makes it much easier to manage your team, replicate effectiveness, and scale your success.

How to Create a Sales Strategy You Can Stick With

create a sales strategy

Sales strategies are like New Year’s resolutions: Everyone makes them. Everyone tries to follow them. But eventually, they’re forgotten. There are two reasons for this: unrealistic expectations and a failure to adapt to change. Luckily, both of these can be avoided.

Start with the Sales Team

Most organizations have three plans for how sales should work: what the company thinks is happening, what the sales manager thinks should be done, and what the salespeople actually do. Viewing things from the top down is great for setting goals, but not for planning a strategy.

Start at the end of the year. Go beyond intuition and take a look at what it takes a salesperson to develop a customer.

How many emails does it take to get a meeting? Are phone calls more effective? Is there a set period of time, or can the process be sped up by more frequent contacts? Is it better to take it slowly?

These are questions that can’t be answered at the company level. It takes historical data and the experience of your staff to figure it out.

Once you have an idea of the normal timeframe, you can get a sense of when to keep trying and when to move on. Some prospects will never convert. Others will produce little revenue compared to the energy required. Your salespeople need to pay attention to how much work they do to make a sale. You don’t want to stop trying too soon, but when effort exceeds results, it’s time to find a better opportunity.

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Understand Your Market

Understanding your market means understanding the people involved, and how best to approach them. Your audience should determine the approach used in sales. Some customers prefer phone calls to email. Others may be more open to a casual visit. Does the salesperson need to have something in common with the client, or is it all about the product? Understanding this gives you a handle on how to approach that particular customer more effectively.

Mine the data produced by your own team to find the best approach for your customer base. Identify other products or services you can offer existing customers. Take a fresh look at your accounts to find out what you’ve been missing.

Combine all this information to create a growth strategy. This will focus on the clients with the most potential for repeat business or expansion into other offerings. The idea is to continually look for ways to use existing connections to boost sales without increasing costs. Finally, make all your selling activities work for a living: if they don’t pay for themselves, drop them.

Stick with It, But Be Ready to Change

Once your strategy has been in place for a while, check the numbers. Weekly planning sessions can help identify problems and opportunities for improvement. Make sure new salespeople learn how to create their own strategies and use their downtime for planning and paperwork.

If everything stays on track, continue with the plan. Otherwise, use the most recent information to make adjustments, then test those changes. Have someone keep track of progress and speak up if the strategy is being ignored. Dropping a sales strategy should be the result of a decision, not neglect.

Business is dynamic. Your sales strategy should be, too.