When you’re building a business from the ground up, you are often the first and probably the best salesperson your company has. However, if you want to grow into something larger than a ‘cottage industry’, you’re going to need a solid sales team and a process to grow it that can be managed so that clients are getting the same great service, no matter who they’re dealing with.
What is a scalable sales process?
It’s a system of selling for your organization that can grow exponentially if leads and / or your sales team increases, without losing out on service or quality. In other words, it works no matter how many leads you’re working with.
Once you know that you have a solid, scalable sales process in place, you can comfortably promote your business towards an increased market share, knowing that you won’t be compromising the quality of the process or the end result of close sales.
It helps to also have a solid understanding of your ideal sales hire and the training they will receive but that’s another topic!
Define your sales process
The first step in designing a scalable sales process is to define what your ideal sales process is, at the outset.
For example, a basic sales process for a product based company might look something like this:
- Lead established;
- Initial contact by a sales representative to assess the level of interest and gain an understanding of how the product or service alleviates a pain point for the lead;
- Call and / or meeting to present the product/service, focusing on how the pain point is alleviated by it;
- Contract negotiation and review;
- Sale closed.
The key is to build up metrics to understand how many leads you need to begin with in order to end up with a sale at the end. For example, you might have 20 leads out of which 3 convert to a closed sale. Or you might find that out of 20 leads that get to the contract stage, only 10 close. Understanding these metrics is how you can refine your process to be more effective. They will also help you to identify what you’ll need to accomplish to scale the process.
It’s important to document the sales process, understanding that it will likely change as time goes on and as you get more sales data. However, to ensure that all of your sales team are working from the same playbook, a detailed, documented process is essential.
Make sure that your team is on board with your sales process. A huge blockage in any process is when the sales team feel they are being forced to engage in steps that stall the process, that makes closing the deal more difficult or that are simply a waste of time. Open communication on best practices from the field is important.
Different types of sales methods
While the process of sales is typically the same for each sales person, their methodology might be different. You will have to decide if you prefer your staff to adhere to one sales method, or if you want to embrace different methods for different client profiles.
Examples of some typical sales methods:
- Teaching method — where the salesperson is in fact educating the potential client, eliminating any preconceived notions they might have about this type of product / service, and in so doing, leading them to see the value of the product / service.
- Solution method — deviating slightly from teaching, the solution method is where the salesperson has a solid grasp of the client profile and their pain points; the salesperson is in effect offering a solution to those pain points through the product or service, with a focus on what their lives/business will look like with those pain points resolved.
- Consultation method — where the salesperson is working with a client/lead who already has some buy-in on the product or service and the salesperson is acting more like an advisor, rather than a seller. This method is all about the relationship between the buyer and seller.
There are other methodologies, but this is just to give you an overview of some of the ways sales can be approached.
Lead quality and quantity matters
“The Hubspot blog launched nine months before the product. By the time they launched, they had 700 subscribers to their blog, which helped funnel people into the funnel. They ranked #2 (behind Wikipedia) for the search term internet marketing software. This helped them secure their Series A funding.” (Source)
In other words, they had a raft of leads long before they launched. That helps a sales team gain tremendous momentum, weeding out the people who aren’t even buying in to the product or service (quality leads) and having enough of them to run through the process to ensure that it is working, that the metrics are valid and that it is scalable, as they continue to prospect.
Build a training program
Whether you think that a new hire should shadow an existing one for a while, or you’d rather build more formal classroom-style training, create a method for new people to learn about the product/service, your company, the sales process, and your expectations that will work with learners of all types. Some people are visual. Others prefer a hands-on experience. Create a system that works for different styles and you’ll reach a broader group of qualified salespeople, and a higher number of closed sales!