How Standardizing Your Sales Process Boosts Overall Conversion

Let’s face it—it does no good to build a funnel and spend zero time optimizing for conversion. That’s a no-brainer, right?

But, how many of you are working closely with your head of sales to ensure that the opportunities you help generate actually convert into paying clients? Ultimately, if you want to be seen as a successful marketer, you’re going to have to show that marketing is driving sales.

Now, the challenge is that in today’s commoditized world, sales teams often struggle to stand out from the crowd. As a result, closed won rates plummet, and organizations find it challenging to demonstrate to prospects how their total value proposition is the clear winner against all of the other competitors.

To make matters worse, many organizations rely on “super hero” sales people or even the founder to close deals. This approach is not sustainable or scalable. You can’t build a successful sales team if you’re constantly relying on a select few individuals to bring in all of the business.

The solution to this problem is a sales process that follows a standardized approach while also creating clear differentiation with prospects at the same time. By implementing a systematic sales process, you can scale your sales efforts beyond just the founders and “super heroes.” This will lead to higher closed won rates and higher gross profit margins, as you’ll be able to win at premium prices.

The benefits of a systematic sales process are clear. You’ll be able to scale the process beyond founders and “super heroes,” achieve higher closed won rates, and enjoy higher gross profit margins as you’re now able to win at premium prices.

When I implemented a systematic sales process in my former agency, I was able to consistently have 60-70% closed won rates, even when I had zero involvement in deals. This is the power of a well-designed sales process. In fact, I standardized this process and called it the Systematic Sales Process™.

So, what does a Systematic Sales Process™ look like? Here are the five stages:

Stage 1: Evaluation

In this stage, you’ll have a 30-45 minute call with your prospect. The goal of this call is to point your prospect in the right direction—it’s not to “make a sale.” The reason we want to take this approach is that many prospects are likely not a good fit for your firm, so let’s not assume that every first call is an “opportunity.” That’s why we call this call the “Evaluation”—you want to evaluate whether or not you can help your prospect, whether or not they align with your requirements, and whether or not they are ready to move forward. We call this “two-way qualification.”

It’s not uncommon to reach the middle-to-end of the call and determine that your prospect, in fact, needs someone or something else other than you!

IMPORTANT: You should NOT move anyone beyond this point unless you have full alignment.

Do this stage right and you will ensure that your pipeline is real.

Stage 2: Discovery

After you have alignment with your prospect from the Evaluation call, you’ll engage them and their team in a 60-120 minute Discovery meeting.

The key in this meeting is to have a strong business conversation and less of a tactical conversation related to what you do. You’re looking to create paradigm shifts with key stakeholders on your prospect’s side. You want them to leave the meeting thinking about their problem in a completely different way and with a sense of excitement about the potential of moving from where they are now to where they want to be.

IMPORTANT: You want to ensure critical stakeholders are present for this meeting, as they’ve agreed-to in the Evaluation call (this is non-negotiable), to whatever degree you require for your process.

Do this stage right and you will sub-consciously win the business.

Stage 3: Plan

In this stage, you’ll collaborate with your main point of contact to develop your plan. That said, be a leader and show them what needs to be done to achieve their desired outcome, then discuss how you can divide and conquer together. Don’t treat this as a “pick from a menu” excercise.

This collaborative approach to developing your plan helps your main point of contact see your plan as their plan, too. This increases the odds that they will be a champion for you.

IMPORTANT: During these dicsussions, be sure to have them help you avoid “land mines”—things that could lose the business for you.

Do this stage right and you will eliminate surprises at the next stage (Presentation).

Stage 4: Presentation

You’re now ready to present and officially win the business during a 60-90 minute meeting. That siad, do not call your plan a “Proposal”! Instead, give it a specific title that speaks to their goals (e.g. “How ACME Corp Can Drive 17% More Revenue Through Conversion Rate Optimization”).

Your presentation should tell a “story” that includes:

Their Vision

Their Goals & Objectives

Their Challenges

How to Win (Strategy)

Highlights (Tactics)

Required Commitments (Their time, money, and resources to make this plan a success)

Expected Results (ROI!)

Why Your Firm

After you present, answer any questions they have and when their questions are done, ASK FOR THE SALE.

IMPORTANT: You want to ensure critical stakeholders are present for this meeting, as they’ve agreed-to in the Evaluation call (this is non-negotiable), to whatever degree you require for your process.

Do this stage right and you will differentiate your firm.

Stage 5: Negotiation

Finally, you’re ready to provde the contract and negotiate, but don’t give this until they’ve given you the “verbal” that you have won the business. The reason you do this is to make sure that you’ve wont the business based on the material things before the prospect starts nit-picking your contract scope. That said, be clear about what you will do and what you won’t do.

Additionally, your standard terms and conditions will accompnay the scope. You want to know up-front the terms and conditions you will bend on and the ones you won’t bend on.  You don’t want to make a decision about an important term and/or condition during the emotion of trying to ink a deal. Knowing up-front your points of negotiation will help you make logical decisions in the heat of the moment.

Do this stage right and you will set up your team for success.If you’d like to learn more about how to grow your firm using a Systematic Sales Process™, register for Frank’s free Systematic Sales Process™ training today!