v2s-logo small

How to Improve Your Sales Process to Your Double Profit

Share This Post


Michael Lough


Welcome to the vision2success digital marketing workshop.

These are regular workshops that are designed to help you take your vision and realise into a successful business.

The overall structure of the next hour will be a short introduction to who we are and what vision2successful is all about.

We’ve got an educational presentation by Michael Lough today, which I’m really looking forward to. I’ve seen quite a few presentations by Michael and I know it will be really useful and lots of useful points to take away and work on in your business.

So a lot of you know me already, I’ve been a business coach and digital coach for over 20 years now we run a digital agency as well. So we provide coaching and agency support. I’ve worked with over 500 companies. And I’ve been using technology since 1984.

So why did we do this (it’s is a lot of work)? We’ve got quite a lot of technology involved, restreaming and using various platforms. We want you to help you guys compete in a digital world. And we want to help you build on your knowledge.

That means we can then do the more complex stuff, and you can do a lot of the day to day stuff in house. We’re here to help you solve your digital marketing problems.

So what is vision2success?, we’ve got the free Wednesday workshops running fortnightly – we’ll stop for partly through August and September for people going on holiday, we have got a book which is 60,000 words to describe in a minute, we’re building a library of online digital marketing courses so that you can look at this stuff in your own time.

These sessions are always recorded, and we’re building quite a library of all the different presentations we’ve been running to date. And we’ve got a digital marketing and strategy implementation app, which is in soft launch at the moment. So we’ve got quite a few people using it. And I’m currently developing a training course so that it brings together a lot of the things that we’ve discussed over the last few months, and then how to implement that in the app.

We also do coaching and consultancy, through marketing strategy, and demand implementation planning, for those who prefer to have someone to do it for them.

This is the book. If you go on to Amazon and type in drive sales with digital marketing, we should be up position three or four. And it’s £14.99. So hopefully good value at 60,000 words. It’s up to date. It was launched just before Christmas. No doubt later on the year. We’ll be updating it again. It’s just currently in digital format at the moment.

We also developed this website and we work with a company called net hub who developed an app – so it’s a cross between a CRM and and LinkedIn but it basically takes away all the clutter and allows you to manage your network and is completely free. You can set up your own groups as well.

If you’d like to join the vision2success group, go to vision2success, go to main menu, click on services, and you’ll see the vision2success community, it will take you through to there and then join us online. We’ll be expanding this during the autumn, as we get more users of the app. It is there for support and any marketing questions, etc.

So I’m really pleased to introduce you to Michael Lough. As we approach a tightening economy, we need to look at our businesses to find out how we can deliver more with less. I mean, you can see it with the rail strike. Yes, they say it’s all about pay and conditions and so forth. And Job losses are basically the rail network because of COVID has lost a third of its income. So you know, like any business, they’ve got to make changes.

But what the thing that’s not really talked about is all technological changes and the railways are really trying to work smarter, not harder. I use the railways, and I use the app, I don’t, I don’t print anything, I just go to the app, and within minutes, I’ve got it, show the guard, it all works, and that saves money time, the environment, etc. So every industry is going to have to go through this battle, how can we work smarter, not harder.

So today, I’m delighted to be joined by my guest speaker, Michael Lough, and director blue Wren, who have known for many years. And Michael is going to give us some good tips on how we can use process rather than cutting costs.

Okay, thank you very much, Peter. And hello, everyone. Thank you for giving up your time on a beautiful day. I hope it’s sunny where you are. So Peter has given me a great introduction.

And I want to focus today in this workshop and session is process. So there’s plenty of information, particularly around the sales activity that you can do in your marketing. That’s where Peter and his team are the experts.

But quite often, businesses overlooked the process of going about it because without process, you create issues in the business, those issues can include just cost – you’re putting cost on without necessarily getting the return.

The purpose of process is to make something that is repeatable, and that is scalable. And that is what I’m here to try and explain and particularly give some real life examples and about how we went about it in our business, and how it has worked for our business, as well.

So a little bit, a very, very quick intro of me, here I am, business owner, Managing Director of a business. We specialise in productivity and process improvement. We start at the point of process, yes, we build software. But that is not the point, the problems we’re solving in businesses is to improve the way that they deliver their operations.

Today, I’m particularly focusing on that sales aspect for the process. So when we talk about sales quite often, we come down to that the obvious thing is CRM, and many businesses will say, Okay, I need a CRM, and you will think of it in the context of a piece of software, because there’s 1000s and 1000s of software applications that purport to be CRM, and they are.

But CRM is a process, first and foremost. And it’s a way of managing your relationships with your customers, customer relationship management.

So let’s just set the scene here. What is CRM? Yeah, it’s converting those prospects that you have into customers, and then building loyalty, and retain them through personalised communication. And that connection that you have and that service delivery.

So many businesses will think of CRM at that starting point of identifying potential customers and converting them into sales. But that’s just the part of it. That’s just the the early part of CRM, it is the part that we’re going to talk about today. But there is more to CRM than just sales.

It is about the relationship you have with your customers for the life of that relationship, which is service delivery, and it’s managing and building retaining those customers, which is that loyalty aspect. So CRM is much bigger than just that sales aspect or a database of potential leads and customers.

However, there is a process we go through, and the context of CRM, in the overall sales funnel is, I’ve just tried to put it into context. So many people, or many people will be familiar with the concept of a sales funnel. So effectively, customers come in the top, and they work their way down into a sale.

So there is a bigger pool of audience at the top of the funnel, and that narrows down all the way through to converting them into a into a sale, and into a live customer.

So the CRM process, particularly moves these customers, or potential customers through that funnel. And if you think of marketing and sales as two distinct functions within your business, or two distinct activities, the marketing side of your business is around building awareness amongst your customers, or potential customers and your audience, generating an interest for them. So that’s about brand building, and profile, and messaging, and tone of voice.

Those are the sorts of things that Peter and his team talk about all the time. So it’s building that awareness, generating an interest through the communications. But then once there is an interest, and it’s triggered, then the sales aspect starts of that of that funnel, where you start to build that relationship, you make connection, you then put forward a proposal or start to engage with that customer in order to get a decision, whether that be a remote purchase, or whether that be a personal sale.

So all the way through to decision and action. And action is about converting that potential customer through to an actual customer.

So I’m not going to dwell on the sales funnel in any great detail, but I’m just putting it in the context of what CRM is about. If you think of CRM, the marketing side, top and the sales side at the bottom.

So what are the benefits of CRM? Why invest in this process and think about your CRM process, and then potentially invest in software?

Ultimately, it’s about getting more bang for your buck. That’s what it’s about, you’re getting you’re working smarter, not harder, boil it down to that.

So some of the top line things around CRM, you get better efficiency in your marketing, you understand what marketing activities work in terms of what interest and awareness is generated, and then what that conversion rate is, versus the ones in the activities that you don’t, okay, so that’s really important.

If you are trying to manage budgets, you don’t want to just spend, you know, as a sort of scattergun effect and try and hope for the best you want to target your marketing spend accurately. And that’s what a CRM will record that information for you. And the process of recording that information as well.

It makes your communication with customers far, far more effective. Now, if you do not have some centralised process and a way of recording that information, that communication exchange with your customers, then that relationship is with an individual in your business.

And that might be fine if you’re a standalone, you know, if you’re a one man band, but as you want to scale and grow, it needs to be something that is repeatable and scalable, and therefore you need somewhere centralised, to have that communication exchange.

So if someone’s not around, someone’s on holiday, you’re not relying on an individual and their relationship with that potential customer to move that customer along, whether that be a potential customer to convert them into a sale or to maintain that loyalty as well.

And if that person leaves, you know that sales person leaves, you do not want them taking the relationship away with them, you want the relationship to be with your business.

Data driven decision making. So again, it sort of relates to a lot of the things around the marketing, but by recording the information in a centralised location, you can then make decisions based on that information which are more more effective for the business, whether that be marketing spend, or where you’re most profitable customers come from, where your most challenging customers come from. The cost that it takes you to acquire a customer – you need to understand that and then work out what you need to do in terms of help lower that cost in order of acquiring a customer.

That profitable sales cycle. So this is really really important. A CRM or a process helps keep momentum up on a sale. So from that initial awareness through to inquiry through to proposal or proposition through to action, the shorter that type takes in terms of time and resource, the more profitable the outcome will be.

So if you can use CRM and the tools from a technological point of view, but also the information that is recorded and centralised to move and keep momentum up, you will convert that sale much quicker. And by converting that sale much quicker, they will be a more profitable outcome for the business.

It also improves your accuracy in forecasting. So you know, effectively what your conversion rate is as a perfect example. So if you get 10 inquiries, and you knew when one in 10, so there’s a 10% conversion rate, you know, that actually, you need, and you’ve got a target of four sales per month, you need 40 inquiries.

So that then suddenly you’re looking at your marketing effort you’re looking at, have I got those inquiries in my pipeline, in order to convert those or those leads in my pipeline in order to convert the sales that I’m targeting, or you can expect to target.
And that’s not only great from a sales forecasting point of view, but also a production and delivery point of view.

So operationally, if you are part of a team, and an organisation that then delivers on that on the sale, they need to know what’s potentially coming down the line so they can form they can organise themselves and deliver that efficiently as well. So you’re not selling something that you can’t necessarily deliver.

Also, finally, increase customer loyalty, building that relationship, having a better understanding, you’re going to have a better relationship with your customers, they’re going to be more loyal as a result. So they’re the benefits. You’ve probably heard all those before. And, you know, I’m going over all ground.

But it’s worth just reiterating those, because when we start to now look at the process that we go about. So from a marketing point of view, the marketing process and the sales process, it’s then something that can then be applied within it within the context of CRM in the terms of the CRM process within the business, but also any technology that you’ve adopted in to help with that process.

So let’s look at marketing, and CRM in terms of marketing. So marketing in this context is targeting prospects, and implementing campaigns to encourage those prospects to engage. So that’s the awareness generating an interest.

Now, I’m not going to go into the detail of how you go about that, in terms of the different types of messaging and branding, the most effective, that is where Peter and his team are our experts. And all the resources that are available through KUB is really, really valuable about the messaging and how you go about it.

But more importantly, let’s think about the process. And let’s think about actually have you really given thought to how you go about directing your marketing spend in an effective way?

So this is what we did in our business, unless this is relevant to our business, but it’s relevant to all businesses. We had a marketing plan. Absolutely. And we implemented marketing activities across all sorts of different channels. And we generated inquiries and generated customers from that.

But actually, when we wanted to start to really boil down and really focus on what was the most effective, and where we were going to get the biggest bang for our buck, and therefore drive that sales process into the most efficient machine possible. We had to look at different channels, we had to look at sources of sale.

So we asked ourselves, where does our work come from? You know, very simple question, where do we get our business from? And we were able to group our existing customers into different five different areas.

Those different areas were the existing relationships. So relationships, we have existing customers selling more to existing customers. Referrals, so other businesses referring or other customers, referring them to their network into us.

Digital marketing, so we did a lot of effort on digital marketing, but we don’t do a lot of offline marketing, but digital marketing, so social media, website development and optimization, that sort of thing. That generated some some customers and leads.

Networking events, so attending events, getting our face out there, building those face to face contacts and that relationship with customers to explain what we do.

And then the final one was outbound. So outbound was identifying someone you want to work with and contacting them, okay, contact them through via email, telephone or face to face, that sort of thing.

So that’s where we were able to group our customer base our existing customer base into those different groups. And we put that into a system. Now we’ve started to record against a category against a section.

Now what that allowed us to do was to understand where our customers were coming from the majority of our customers coming from, the value of those customers to our business in terms of profit, and therefore, the bit where we would get the biggest bang for our buck, and also the effort we would have to put in, in order to convert a customer. So an inquiry, the conversion rate, per channel.

So, you know, the obvious things were existing relationships were extremely good in terms of conversion rate, because they already knew us, they already liked us, they already trusted us. And therefore, it was an easy way. And low cost way to generate more sales through that customer base.

However, they’re a finite size. So you’ve only got a certain number of existing customers, whereas your digital marketing activity, you know, you’re marketing to, and you’re promoting yourself to an infinite number of customers via, you know, via online.

But the inquiries that come in are much, much lower in terms of conversion rate, because they don’t know you, you’ve generated an interest. But you know, they have to build that relationship, that rapport and understand what you do, and the value that you offer over potential competitor and give them an impetus to make a decision, and therefore, you need a lot more inquiries for the same number of customers.

So once we understood the conversion rates and the numbers, we then could allocate costs, and allocate investment into those different channels.

Now, it’s all very well saying, Okay, let’s just throw some money at it. But you can’t just throw money at something like that. So, as part of this exercise, we identified and understood where our customers were coming from the sources. We then put together a plan, okay, we put together a mini campaign plan per channel, and we allocated resource for each channel.

Because ultimately, there’s no magic bullet. If someone comes and still tries to sell you, oh, you’re gonna get all your customers from LinkedIn? Yeah, you might do and good luck to you. But it’s very, very unlikely.

For many, many SMEs and for growing businesses, you need to have a multiple of activities across multiple channels, in order to bring in the level of inquiry that you want, because things fluctuate, you know, things go up, things go down.

Networking events, obviously, during COVID, fell off a cliff. Yep. So if you generated all your business, from networking events, and suddenly you didn’t have that, that access to that market, you’re exposed.

Yeah, so this is really, really important to have that broad breadth of activity, but not just do everything. Because the tendency for businesses is to try and do a bit of everything, and spread themselves too thin. You’ve got that information now of where your customers come from, but your marketing activity needs to be targeted and focused.

So I’m not going to go into the details of how to do a marketing plan or campaign plan, because that’s what Peter does. And you will know how to do a market plan. But instead of doing a marketing plan for your entire customer base, think about it in terms of that channel.

Okay, so what is the marketing activity you’re going to do for your existing relationships? Okay, and that is about what you want to try and get out of those relationships. Yeah, what your targets are, what the evidence is that they will buy more, okay, so you can look at your evidence base, put together a list of actions, okay? And set them and assign those, and then measure the impact.
As simple as that – do not spend ages, you know, it’s one page, one page of activity, but it’s focused, and then you’ve tasked your sales team or yourself with actually doing focused activity across each of those channels. And then you can measure the impact, and then that goes back into the system. So you can keep recording the impact and the results, and then you can change it as it goes.

So, obviously, for us, we focus a lot on existing relationships first, low hanging fruit, go for those, but they run out. So we then looked at other activities, we you know, that’s digital marketing for us was more of a drip feed, a slow burn, just building awareness. So it’s something relatively consistent and active.

So you’ve got to be visible. Whereas, you know, networking events, we were really starting to think actually, what are we getting out of some of these networking activities, and it was just turning up. There was a lot of resource that was going in terms of time, but we weren’t getting a lot of results. So we narrowed the event so that we went to the activities and networking that we did to get a better impact. And we were able to do that, because we had a focus campaign plan.

So I know I’m speaking very quick, but hopefully you’re picking up this as we go. But that’s the marketing side of things.
So from a CRM or process point of view, very, very simple. Identify where your work your existing work is coming from, measure that and record what’s working what’s not, and then put a plan in place in order to get more of the good stuff and cut out the stuff that isn’t working for you.

Let’s move on to sales. Okay, so sales is once you’ve got that interest inquiry is converting that new business lead into a sale. Okay. And that’s really what we’re focusing on today is to how do you move them through that sales funnel in a way that is profitable, and in a way that allows you to make it a repeatable and scalable process.

You do not want a hero salesperson to come in and say, Oh, I can get I can sell anything, you want to process that you can slot in multiple sales people who follow a process and follow it consistently. And therefore, you’re able to then say, okay, if I bring another one in, I’m going to make this much more money. And that’s what you want, rather than trying to find these unicorns out there that will that will sell anything for you.

And that might be you as well. So you want to if you’re if you’re the sales arm of your business, you want to try and bring in a process. So you don’t have to be the only one selling on on behalf of your business.

So the first thing to do is understand, and a lot of businesses don’t do this, is qualifying those inquiries that come in. I’m an optimist. I’m a natural salesperson, I used to think an inquiry meant sale, you know, they’re interested, oh great, count that as a sale.

But actually, what I’ve learned over the last few years is actually that inquiry, are they a genuine inquiry, and more often than not, particularly if they come from a particular channel, where they don’t necessarily know you.

So what has really, really helped me has been a qualification criteria ticking off that inquiry against a criteria. Now, there are loads of different criteria that you can choose from. Go on to HubSpot, and type in qualification criteria, there’s hundreds of them.

But these are the ones that are, they’re all similar, but they give you a way of qualifying them. And most importantly, and sales coach will tell you this: it’s just as valuable qualifying them out of your sales funnel as it is qualifying them in because you’re not wasting time and effort on business on inquiries that just aren’t going to go anywhere.

So the one that we use is BANT. Do they have the budget? Do they have the authority? Do they have the need? And do they have a timeline? Okay, do they have a decision time.

And that is what you’ve got to get to very, very quickly in the exchange with that customer. If they are interested and there’s a budget, but they don’t have any authority, they’re not going to make the decision, then you’ve got to make a decision as to can I get to the authority person, make it through this person? Or can they influence them, or just to the decision maker, or, you know, this is going nowhere and move them on.

But if they are ticking the budget, authority, need and timeline, they are your focus, they’re the ones that they’ve got money to spend, they can make the decision, you know that they need the system. And you know when they want to have it by, they know they need the product that you’re selling, and they have a timeline. That is where you focus your energy.

So when that lead comes in and you qualify them, then you decide whether you qualify them out. Okay, so there’s no budget, okay, they’re out, or do you keep them in but they’re not they’re not a live lead effectively, there’s something for the future, or, or they are genuine and you move them on to prioritise them in that way.

So the first thing you do when you get a lead is qualifying it before you move them along. Now, I know I’m throwing all this around, but we’ll come to a process I’ll show you a flow diagram in a minute that shows how we go in these steps. But if you take one thing away take this away from this session is that qualify your inquiries before you start investing time and energy.

Okay, then once you’ve got that qualification, you need to define a process that everyone can follow. So it’s not reliant on an individual or you’re not asking others individuals to do it their way – you want a way that the business does it.

So one, you record information consistently, your communications are consistent with your with your customers, and also, you’re directing your resource in the most effective and efficient way possible, because they’re following the steps, and then you’re getting rid of them as you go.

So I’m going to show you how to do it, I’m going to show you a process map for our sales process that I’m going to share. But if you want to draw a process map or build one for your sales process, there’s some resources that you can go to on our website. But effectively, you list all the steps involved in your sales process. And that is from initial inquiry.

Don’t worry about the marketing process. Okay. The marketing has been dealt with in that in that sort of tactical plan that we talked about against those channels. But once the inquiry comes in, what are the steps involved in order to move them in and convert them as a customer? Then once those steps, you’ve got them, you organise them in a sequential order, and then you also identify a decision. Now a decision is a yes, no. Are they qualified? Yes. Move to the next step. Are they qualified? No. Do we move then we do something else.

And I’ll show you what that means in terms of in terms of visually, but also understanding the flow. Draw a process map, which I’ll show you, and then you share it with the business. Okay, so very well, you coming up with it, but you’re not necessarily the person who’s going to be following that process. You want everyone in that business or in that function to follow that process and to be consistent with it.

And when things don’t go, right, okay, and they often don’t go right, let’s face it, that’s business, isn’t it? You need something to return back to to say, Did you follow the process? And more often than not, they didn’t follow the process, and therefore something went wrong.

But if they did follow the process, and something still went wrong, then you look at the process, of course. So let’s look at our process map. Now. It’s in two parts. So I will go through it. I do hope I think it’s visible. I hope it’s I hope it’s alright, it’s big enough.

Yeah, it’s okay. Yeah, yeah, we’d have to look at the screen. But you get a lot of detail, which I think it’s important.

I think I think that’s right. And I’m more than happy to share this, I think we’ve got a copy of it on our website as well. But I can provide it to Peter as well. But this is a typical flow diagram for a sales process. So let me walk you through it.

So the new inquiry comes in. So that signifies the start of the process. So first of all, are they a new customer? Do you have you ever? Do you have record of this of this customer before? And if you haven’t, okay, if they are a new customer, then you need to establish if they’re a viable customer or not.

Okay, so that might be credit check, if you’re if you’re looking for, you know, for larger customer, or it might be that, you know, location, geography, that sort of thing, you’ve not qualified them for their inquiry, you’ve just understood whether they’re viable or not. And that’s sort of top level stuff. So yeah, let’s say research, they’re viable.

If they are not viable for your business, do you want to refer them out? So refer them out is refer them on to someone else. Because you’ve got that information, you’ve put in that effort, if you want to refer them on to another to a partner organisation, or a relationship you have someone you might generate value from that relationship, even though you’ve not done anything.

So let’s say you do want to refer them on, okay, you work out who the best referral partner is, you share that on, and then you make a note of that in your CRM, you make a record of that somewhere. And I’m talking in context of a system, but it could be a spreadsheet or anything like that. But you want to know what the journey is for that customer. So when they come back again, you know, that actually we did deal with we did you you weren’t right for us, but we put you on in touch with someone else.

If you don’t think they’re viable, and you don’t wanna refer them, it ends there. So, if they are viable, you add the customer details, you record all the customer information to a CRM, so you can have a CRM system, or you can have a spreadsheet or you can have paper, you know, but to be efficient, put them in a system, put them in a database, because that’s a record and a history of it.

So you add your customer details to its customer, who the contacts are, the individual contacts are against that against that organisation, if your business to business, if not, who the individual is, where their inquiry came from, or where that customer inquiry came from. So remember, we’re talking about those channels. So source, so where it was it was a new existing relationship, you know, just your marketing, industry, any other categories that you want to use for when you want to dissect that data in the future day.

So you’ve got that record, okay. That is if they’re new, they’re not new. You’ve already got a record there in the system, okay. And you want to keep that record because they’re an object customer is an object in your business, and that object has things hanging off of it, and things hanging off at our inquiries that they’ve made, the jobs that they’ve done, the contacts that they’ve had, etc.

So we move on to the inquiry. So an inquiry comes in, you’ve now got a customer record, you now record the inquiry against that customer. So the inquiry is what they’re looking for, and what they’re interested in, and then you set that status as a lead or an inquiry.

So they’re not a customer yet, but they’re a potential customer. So they’re a lead. So then it’s that qualification stage. Now, that might be that you do that there and then or you might pass that inquiry on to someone to do that qualification – to the salesperson to the account manager, or whatever it is. But that’s where you do the qualification.

And that’s the most important bit – see how earlier is in the process? It’s once you’ve got the inquiry, then we qualify. So have they been qualified? Say, No, one of those qualification criteria hasn’t been met. That’s what we do. Okay, if we qualify, and they still haven’t been met, we say we then ask the question, is there any future potential with this customer and this inquiry?

Bearing in mind, you know, we’ve already done the viability check, we’re now saying, Actually, now, you know, they’re just tyre kicking. And we look back at them. And we’ve had 15 inquiries from these people. And every single time they’ve not gone ahead, or whatever it is.

So if we don’t think they’ve got future potential, do we want to refer them on? Yeah, again, extract value, and it moves up into that process. If we do think they’ve got future potential, we get the permission, yeah, to contact them, and we add them to our marketing database. So we’ve not lost them, we’ve not wasted them. And if they’ve not been on our marketing database, before, they’re on it, okay.

And then there’s a separate process, which talks about about implementing new marketing activity to one, hopefully, get them to generate interest and move them back to the top of the workflow in that state.

So that is that marketing process, I think, and then schedule a direct follow up. So that might be a reminder in the diary, or in your database to say, in three months time, let’s see if they’re okay, you know, if they’re interested.

So let’s say they’ve been qualified, okay. So, the minute they’ve been qualified, they’re now moved from, you know, a leader, typically to an opportunity, okay, these are genuine opportunities to do business with you, and soon, okay, so you then start to build out your job. Okay, so what you’re going to deliver for that for that customer.

Now, every business is different. And if you’re a service based business, and I do proposals, or if you’re a product business, you might just sit into the price list or whatever it is, but But you break down that job, okay. And then you send that customer a quote, or a proposal with the Terms Conditions.

Okay, and you can automate all of that within the CRM. So that streamlines the process and makes it consistent, or you can do it manually. Okay, and you schedule a follow up call, okay to say, right, we’ve qualified you here is what we’re offering. Can we do business? And this is where you try and push for that decision.

So have they agreed? So you make that call to get that decision? And that can go back and forth for quite a while. But let’s say yeah, it hasn’t been agreed. Okay. If it hasn’t been agreed, what happens next? Okay, so not yet. Do they need more time? Okay. No, they don’t need more time. They’re ready to make a decision. Do they want us to adjust the proposal? So still interested, but not quite? Well, then I’ll update the quote, and resend and it goes into a loop.

Okay. If we don’t want to update the proposal, and they don’t want more time, then they go back up into this is that have they got any future potential? And then you go through that other process again.

If they do need more time, we scheduled the follow up, okay. And then it’s the live it’s a loop to say, are they still interested? So it’s all very well, you qualify them, but quite often, they’re just giving lip service, potentially. But has it been agreed? If it’s not, is it still alive?

If it’s not, then you change it to lost, and record the reason – always record the reasons why they haven’t gone ahead, whether that’s decisions by you or by them, record that because that will help in the way that you position the business or position the product in the future, but also to understand where your potential weaknesses might lie.

And then have they got future potential? Again, it’s the same process there. Okay, so let’s say they have agreed, finally, you’ve got agreement over the line. Okay. So that is a consistent process. It does take time and you want to measure how long that takes for each customer in order to understand how they’ve moved through their funnel.

Then you collect the signature or purchase order to confirm that to say, a sale, and you change that status to live in your system, so they’ve gone from inquiry to opportunity or lead opportunity to live. That is the job, not necessarily customer, it’s the job and the job hangs off the customer.

You might then notify finance set up invoicing or setup payment. And there’s a separate process there. You will then hand over that relationship to whomever is responsible for delivering the product or service that you are. It might be yourself or you might need to hand it off, for a separate process about delivering it and you want another process to make sure it’s delivered consistently.

And then you might then also want to say to the customer, how did you find that sales process? Was it easy to understand? Did you feel pressured, do you think you got value for money, those sorts of things, again, collect that information, and put it back into your system.

So you’ve got that data set, you can make those decisions in the future about how you go about sales process. So that in a nutshell, is a it’s a pretty simple and straightforward sales process. But if everyone follows that in a consistent way, and you’re using documentation that is consistent, you are going to make that far more efficient sales function in your business than if you didn’t have that.

That if you’re relying on someone getting up in the morning, your salesperson going, Oh, what am I going to do today? You know, I’m gonna bring a few people – no, this is what you’re doing today, because you’re following that process.

So, sales, okay, if you are looking to implement technology to support the sales process, so if you are sourcing a CRM, okay, you want to choose the right technology to manage that process.

Always start with process. So align your align that technology with your process, don’t go oh, I need a CRM, and then manipulate your process to match the CRM. Define your process first, then choose a piece of software or technology that will support that.

Make sure the technology you choose is flexible and adaptable, because your process will change inevitably, as your business and your customers change. Therefore, it needs to be able to have that flexibility within it. Make sure the data where your data is, is it secure? What are the backup procedures of that data? If you stop using that software? Where does your data go? Do you have access to that? that’s really important.

Can that piece of software or technology integrate with others. And that’s really important as well. Because if you’re then doing product management, or delivery, you might want to have a project management system or invoicing, you might want to link to your finance packages when sage Xero QuickBooks, and you don’t want duplicates of the same data, you want them all to connect to each other.

Understand what the total cost of ownership is, it’s all very well saying it’s 10 quid a month, but it’s 10 quid a month, if you have only 10 customers in the CRM, and you only have one user, understand how you’re going to use it, who’s using it, and what the potential implications are, if you start to grow as a business, and if you want other modules against it. So if you do want integration, so if you do want other aspects of the other software, that 10 pounds per month suddenly suddenly increases significantly.

So understand that. Do they provide? Or does the provider offer after sales support? Because technology is complex, and you do always need to understand, you know, you need some support there.

Do they have a development roadmap? Because as your business develops, you need the technology to develop with you. Do they have ideas and plan to add to the technology? Or is it going to stay in one place and be, you know, a legacy piece of software very, very quickly.

And first, the big, big takeaway: start simple. Don’t buy something with all the bells, bells and whistles. Because if you haven’t got something already, and you’re trying to adopt something really complex, one: it’s incredibly hard to get started because you lose that impetus, because it’s not easy to manage. And it’s very hard to onboard your colleagues and your staff, because they will go it’s too hard. I’m just going back to what I’ve always done. So you want to start simple and build on it from there.

So how you go about it from your sales process. So implementation, so Peter talks about this all the time. So I’m not going to dwell on this very long, but set some objectives because it’s all very well saying you’re going to do this, but it’s not the day job, okay, it’s actually working on the business and you have to allocate time in order to make progress on this.

So, set your 30 day objectives What am I going to get done in terms of managing my sales process in the next 30 days and that might just be getting a consistent proposal or implementing the qualification criteria, whatever that is. Set those very, very simple but very focused activities in order to move yourself towards refining a sales process.

Then record those. What are those and you backlog them so you put them in the to-do list. Okay, what are we going to do in these 30 days and this is agile, this is where we’ve come from, but it’s an agile approach, but it does really help focus your your efforts.
Backlog, what do I need to do in order to meet these objectives? Okay, so story them up, put them into individual tasks. So if you are going to implement the qualification criteria, one of the tasks will be to choose one, another task will be to educate your staff. Another one will be to put in systems in order to qualify them and record it. Those are the things that you need to backlog and record.

And then, instead of saying these are all the things we’ve been doing for 30 days, split in half, what are we gonna get done in two weeks first, okay, and work to those. So you take all of your backlog stories, okay, here and you move the ones you’re gonna get done in the first two weeks here to doing and as you’re doing them, you move them across to done.

So this is what’s the classic Kanban board to do doing done. Okay, so all your tasks here for the 30 days, you move the ones that are going to get done in that two week period to here and move them across to done. And that then helps you achieve this implementation of the process that we’re talking about.

And then after those two weeks, those first two weeks, you might need to re re juggle things. But at least you haven’t wasted that for 30 days and go I’ve not achieved anything, you’ve stopped halfway through and recalibrate.

And use your time effectively. We’re business owners, we’re busy. We’ve got loads of distractions, we’ve got loads of things going on. Yes, we need to improve the sales process. But you know, our businesses don’t stop.

While we do that, we’ve still got to generate income still got to process what we’ve done, or process the jobs that we’ve we’ve already want. So the final thing I want to you to share with you, which is really helped myself and everyone in our business is the Eisenhower matrix. It’s a really, really simple thing.

Because when you’ve got loads of things flying at you, okay, and we’ve got this beautiful Kanban board go. But that’s just for one project, you’ve got loads of other things going on, there is a really easy thing that we use, which is this. So when when something comes in, come through the door to do so a task, okay? You’ve got to remind yourself, Is it urgent?

And is it important, OK, if it is urgent and important, you do it, you do it, you drop everything you do it now, okay? If it is urgent, but not important, okay? So can you who can do it for you. So you, you outsource it, you delegate it, okay? And that is really valuable.

Because quite often urgent, always trumps important. If it’s urgent, I’ve got to get it done, you drop everything, and therefore, all the important stuff gets pushed to the bottom. So really ask yourself if it’s urgent, but not important offload it to someone else. Okay? If it’s important, but not urgent, you schedule your time. And that is where you do this.

Okay, you do your planning, you do your Kanban board, and you say, right, I’m going to allocate a certain amount of time to do this, because it’s important, but it’s not urgent. Yeah. So you can you can move and scheduled time around. And the other one, if it’s not important, and not urgent, don’t do it.

People like being busy, okay, they feel they’re productive by being busy. That is not the answer. Because being busy doing something that’s not important and not urgent, is actually costing the business lots of money. And it’s a complete waste of your resource.

So, again, put this on everyone’s desk that makes decisions and have day to day tasks. And they ask themselves when something comes in, is it important, or is it urgent, and it’s so easy and simple to implement, that actually then start to see, even if you don’t do any of the things I’ve just described, just using that in your day to day operations really starts to crystallise, who’s doing the most effect who’s doing their work the most effectively, who’s working smarter, not harder.

So I know, we’ve only got a little bit of time left. So this is my final slide. And that is some resources. Okay, so how to create a simple process map, we’ve got a resource there, what is CRM and how to choose the right one for your business, so a blog there, and then again, how we increased sales leads by 25%, in 90 days. Again, it’s a reiteration of what I’ve just described.

And then finally, the piece of software I used to build that or to create that flow diagram is called Creately. So creately is an online tool. It’s free if you’ve only got a few process maps to build, and then it’s like five quid a month or something like that. So it’s, it’s really powerful and really valuable. So a lot of people asked me about So that’s what I would recommend. And that concludes my presentation. So great. I wonder if there are any questions or any feedback?

Yeah. Michael, thank you very much for such a useful webinar. Although we do this stuff a lot ourselves. It’s a brilliant reminder and beautifully put together. And just to remind everybody, the slides and the recording will be available later on the website on Thursday. Teressa has got a fantastic question for you, Michael. In a high value b2c environment, presumably selling yachts or selling high value cars or things like that, how might we identify a viable lead?

How might we identify a viable lead? Well, it does come back to qualification because that qualification criteria is relevant. Even irrespective of what you’re selling. Because if they do qualify, I mean, it is simple. There are other qualification criteria, and I would recommend you go and do some research on the different ones. But if if say selling yachts as a perfect example, if there’s no budget, they have no money. Yeah.

Then that’s an immediate disqualification of their you know, they’re interested in them Great, okay. But you could be investing a lot of time and energy, and they’re not going to be able to afford it, no matter how convincing your sales process and your your proposition is, there is not that going to be that affordability. So it’s very, very important to use a criteria that works. Okay. But also stick to it. So, understanding when a lead comes in is Yeah, start with qualification. And you know, it might not be that one of those but set your own you know, if that if that’s relevant for you, but starting with that qualification criteria is something we would recommend that for any for any business.

Yeah, we’ve got a funny story related to that. So I love sailing yachts. And when the boat show pre COVID was around and you got all the princess and oyster yachts there. It was funny how the princess stand you know, the quarter million pound upwards boats, they let anybody on. But to get onto the oyster stand, you have to actually sort of almost play the qualifying game and say, yeah, we’re business owners, and you know, we’re looking for our next next purchase. And so that’s what we have to actually blag our way on to the oyster stand to get past.

Those time wasters, then Peter, Oh, great.

Interestingly, they let us on and, you know, we walked around so forth, but we weren’t approached because we didn’t look like we had money. We weren’t we weren’t time wasters, but everybody who weren’t pushing prams and stuff around, which was all that was happening with the princess yachts. I mean, anybody with money wouldn’t be going near those boats it is fascinating.

There’s certain watches isn’t there, you know, they’ll interview to see whether you qualify to buy one of their products. And so they sort of self filter that out by saying, you know, you’ve got to come for an interview before we’re even allow you to put in, you know, for us to even consider selling it to you. So that’s sort of reversing the reversal of psychology that way.

But yeah, positioning yourself in the right places, where were those target audience, you know, you’ll obviously talk about that Peter as well. But but, you know, making sure you’re in the right place, and you’ve got the right messages is obviously very important, because those inquiries tend to be more qualified.

Absolutely, there was a story I can’t remember all the details now, but is when they used to hire cruise ships, and the port the buyers on the ship, and they put all the salespeople on the ship, and you know, and they’d be conversations and am observer watched the sales guy go around ship and so we’ve you seem to be talking to a lot of people but not spending a lot of time with them and he said yeah, well I’m spending my time qualifying them out. And I think when when you network people don’t do that. They don’t call people out and like you said they think every inquiry is a sale, but it isn’t.

They make the mistake of being busy thinking they’re being productive, unfortunately.

Exactly. So Teresa, did that answer your question you can answer through chat or switch Michael.

That definitely helps. Thanks very much. And yes, it is about trying to identify the budget but It can be a quite a challenging thing.

It is how you go about it, isn’t it? For different customers, it’s a different approach. I mean, we always because there’s such a varied price range for CRM systems, I always say to what our basic charges are, and that very early door goes, Okay, that’s within our budget, or not. You can waste a lot of time putting forward the proposition. You haven’t asked that question at the outset. So we didn’t used to, but we do now, for that very reason.

Watch our other workshops here.

Get your free copy....

Your Guide to Creating the Best Digital Marketing Strategy