Sales workflows are a set of simple and repeatable steps that are taken by a sales team to turn a prospect into a customer. Sales workflows are the smaller steps that sales teams take as part of the overall sales process to drive sales for the business.
How to build your sales workflow in 6 simple steps:
- Decide where to store your data. It is important to choose a good CRM that integrates well with the other technologies you are using. This is because the customer relationship management system will provide a base for collecting and storing all of your prospects and deals, as well as working as a reporting tool.
- Create your ideal customer profile. It is crucial that you do not forget this stage. Figure out what your customers have in common, whether that is the size of their business, the industry, their focus on technology or investment in their staff. The more you understand your ideal customer, the more effective you will be when selling them your product/service.
- Find your prospects. After you have figured out who your perfect customer is, you can start looking for them. Find the organisations that would benefit the most from your services by using a smart prospecting solution to filter through the masses. Then all you need to do is contact the right person at the company. To save time when prospecting, remember to work with your CRM.
- Reach out. Once you have found the key decision maker within the target company, grab their attention. Experiment with multiple tactics, like inbound marketing and outbound sales methods, to make the best impression.
- Inbound Tactics: Create relevant content that will help your target audience solve their problems. Post targeted ads on social channels and PR your business to heighten visibility among target buyers.
- Outbound Sales: Have a look at outreach.io or salesloft.com and create a systematic sequence or cadence for your potential customers. Use relevant and highly tailored content as well as phone calls, emails and social channels to make sure you get a reply.
- Take care of your target accounts. Don’t forget about an account. If you contact someone and they seem quite interested, but tell you that the timing is all wrong, don’t write them off. Most organisations follow up an unsure account in 3-6 months to see if they are still interested, but there are plenty of things you can do in between.
Nurturing the account during this time frame can be very beneficial. You could set up reminders to check in with them, keep in touch to tell them about an interesting article or a good tip, and even update your service offer through a newsletter.
It is also a good idea to monitor their company to see if circumstances have changed. For example, if they start investing more in things to do with your industry or you discover that the VP or CXO are changing jobs, you could find that they are now more interested in your services. Set up a system that notifies you so that you can contact them again and see how you can help.
Just be careful that your line of communication comes across as helpful and not as badgering.
- Change things based on the results. Throughout the sales process, there are many numbers that can be used to measure your success. However, keeping the math’s as simple as possible makes it a lot easier to manage. Try using:
A number of conversations X average hit rate X average deal size = total sales.
Using the results, you can focus on improving the key metrics. Ask yourself, is there anything obvious that we can do to improve? Taking the time to improve all three of the metrics is much more rewarding than just looking at total sales.
Mapping sales workflows
How to map your sales workflow with business process mapping
BPM, or business process mapping, is a process that is used to visualise a business’s steps as they deliver a service or a product. Basically, it helps to map out the full workflow and is one of the best ways to maintain consistency. It’s a great way of mapping sales processes.
BPM involves documenting the correlation between business elements (roles, capabilities, strategies) and the workflow processes. It also takes into consideration the ‘how’ and ‘who’ while focusing on documenting the process. This means the BPM can break down details that help identify where, when, who, what, and why within the process.
How to use the lean principle when mapping your sales workflows
To help simplify the BPM process, we recommend using the lean principle. The lean principle is a set of rules that ensures you are able to build the most robust sales workflows possible. The rules that underpin the lean principle are:
- Make sure all team members feel valued
- Remove all waste
- Make your project requirements flexible
- Document and create repositories of knowledge
- Meet delivery timelines
- Think of your processes as one big system
- Develop and build-in quality control checks
Identifying sales opportunities with gap analysis
Gap analysis is used to discover areas of high demand and sales opportunities within the market. By looking at the gap between market supply and customer demand, a business can find under-serviced customers within unsaturated markets. Using this information, businesses can innovate their offering to enter high-demand areas where sales will be easier.
Using gap analysis differs from the typical forms of market research because instead of simply reacting to trends, it is actively looking for gaps in the market. This method is often used by business-to-consumer companies to expand their customer reach by exploring potential market segments. Gap analysis can help find opportunities for companies within many areas, such as products, sales channels, and geographical locations.
How standard operating procedures can accelerate your sales workflows
What is a standard operating procedure?
SOPs or standard operating procedures are a set of instructions to be followed in order to complete a routine task. They are designed to improve efficiency and performance, as well as ensuring quality through a more systemic approach to doing work.
- SOPs maintain quality standards
- SOPs help you scale your training and accelerate onboarding
- Processes become more efficient over time with SOPs
- SOPs can improve sales conversion rates.
A step by step guide to building your standard operating procedures.
Step 1: Have an end in mind. What is the purpose for your SOP? Say you outline the protocols for closing a deal, the purpose would be to make sure the contract is signed and the deal is ready for the team to start delivering the work the next morning.
Processes like this are made to be replicated over and over again, whether that’s daily, weekly or monthly.
Step 2: Selecting a format. You will probably find that your business already has some SOP documents that were written for a previous operation. Review how these documents are formatted and use them as a model for future SOPs.
Step 3: Ask for input from your sales team. Communicate with your sales team, after all they will have the best insights into the sales process you are expecting them to follow. Ask them how the sales task is currently accomplished to identify ways of optimising the process and build the SOP in a collaborative way with the team.
Step 4: Define the scope. Your standard operating procedure is probably intertwined with SOP’s used by other teams and departments. Think about whether you should cite these processes or add them to the existing SOP text. To show any dependencies, create a map or flowchart so everybody can navigate and understand their role in the SOP.
Step 5: Write your draft. It is important to produce content that your audience will understand. If you dumb it down too much, they will feel patronised and not trust the content, whereas if you make it too complex, they simply won’t understand. Finding a good balance is important if you want to keep them engaged.
Now is the time to write your first draft. Have a look at the following elements and make sure you have included them in your SOP:
- Title of the proceedings
- The SOP identification number
- A publication deadline/revision date
- Names of all the companies, divisions, roles and agencies that the SOP relates to.
- The names and signatures of the people who prepared the protocols and approved them.
What different formats can you use for sales SOPs?
To reduce the amount of confusion, you should have a standardised way of formatting your SOP’s. This will help make your how-to’s easier to implement. Below you will find the top 3 ways of formatting your SOP’s:
The step-by-step format splits the routine SOPs into numbered or bulleted steps, much like a cooking recipe. This approach makes it incredibly easy to follow.
Each step will be clear and concise with its own action. For example, if you were laying out how to mop the floor, your first step could be fetching the mop, with a separate step for filling the bucket with water and floor cleaner.
The step-by-step method should be used when the process is simple and does not involve decision-making.
This format uses a top-down approach to help split up complicated processes. It starts by looking at the whole process and then focuses on the details.
For example, a hierarchical SOP for a card shop would have an overview policy like ‘the floors must be mopped every night’. This would then be split up to explain how to mop the floor, where to do it, and how to know when the floor is clean.
This follows a fairly basic formula:
- Create an outline that provides the why for the next steps.
- Give an explanation of the official way of doing the task.
- Tell them any details that are need-to-know.
- Keep things legitimate by providing any documents needed.
The hierarchical format should be used when the process is a little more complicated and requires 10 or more steps, but still does not need any decision-making.
A flow chart is a guide that leads you through tasks and considers different events along the way.
Some processes can have multiple outcomes and so you can’t always rely on a structured list of actions. But by providing predetermined responses to a variety of situations, a flow-chart accepts we don’t always need to complete every step.
For example, if you are supposed to mop the floor of the card shop every evening but because of a spillage the floors had only been mopped twenty minutes ago, you might not need to mop them again.
The flow-chart format should be used for any process that involves decision making, regardless of how complicated it is.