3) Run: Stop playing from behind

With a Sales process and a CRM tool in place and data coming in, now we can start to look at what the real buyers journey is looking like.
This is a challenging stage. We need integrations here. We need the larger team picture in the organization too. Marketing needs to be in lock step with Sales. We need integrated Marketing Automation and CRM tools. We need those integrated with our website. We may need integration to back office systems like ERP, project management, ecommerce or others.

  1. Our new milestones shift from being those of our Sales Process and become the steps of the buyer. It’s no longer about how we sell, but rather how the customer buys. We identify key milestones and replace “Demo Completed” or “Proposal Sent” with “Evaluating Products” and “Pricing Requested.”
  2. Establish mutual buyer and seller milestones. Have the progress to the next milestone be completed by proving certain tasks have been met. For example, this might be something the buyer’s must do to show they are progressing on their side. It might mean prospects need to confirm evaluation criteria or introduce our team to the decision maker and identify influencers for us. Whatever it is, the criteria must be something that’s tangible and objective. It’s binary…either they or we did something or it didn’t happen.
  3. Reality check: Buyers will follow their own path. Step away from linear thinking and acknowledge customers make decisions differently. This means that our simple “funnel” model now can now begin to look like a spaghetti noodle looping around itself a few times. I mentioned earlier that buyers today can be as much as 80% thru their purchasing cycle before we ever talk directly to them. If however, we’re using integrated Marketing Automation, CRM and website tracking (part of most modern marketing automation tools) we can follow them thru this journey. We can see that they came to our website and requested some info, then they went away for a while. They came back and responded to another email, a telemarketing call or direct mail piece and then they went away again. They finally contacted us to get pricing and were referred over to Sales but perhaps went quiet again before coming back and asking for a sample/trial/demo or something else. We may find we’ve got multiple contacts (hopefully!). In today’s world, especially in B-B Sales there are on average 6 decision influencers involved in the deal. Do we know who they all are? Now though we can see that whole buying cycle much more effectively. Marketing can target them and give us a lead score on the Sales side so that we really understand where they’re at and how we can help them thru their buying journey. Our Sales team is less about reacting and more about trying to guide them.

Done correctly, good sales processes will help make a “C” salesperson a B and can help make a B salesperson a star.

If you’re reading this as a CEO/President, ask yourself where your team falls in this and what you’re ready to do. Do you have the tools and processes? What’s holding you back?

If you need help, please contact us.