Are you concerned about your agency’s ability to sell (a.k.a., generate new business)? You may blame poor sales on someone’s personality traits, work ethic, or luck, but the foundation of sales success is your sales process.
Having a sales process in place can mean the difference between consistently closing new business and mediocre revenue for your agency.
Why is a sales process so important? First, a sales process benefits your internal operations by setting your agency up for new business success in the future. Secondly, having a sales process benefits your agency on the actual sales side, leading to more closed new business when interacting with prospects. Both are important for your agency’s long-term growth and bottom line.
Having a formal sales process can help an agency get organized and focused, so they are prepared to meet their new business goals. By setting up a strategic, formulated process to follow, agencies can seamlessly transition from pitch to close without any missteps.
For Agency Operations
There are three important ways a sales process will benefit your agency’s internal operations:
1. Forces Organization
Having a formal sales process in place forces you to be organized. By establishing steps and progressions that you need to take throughout the entire sales process, you will never be left guessing about what should come next, and nothing will fall through the cracks. This establishes consistency for your sales team and gives them the tools they need to be successful. By clearly laying out what is expected and what the next logical step to take is at every point, you can prevent crucial elements from being overlooked, reducing lost opportunities for your agency.
2. Creates a Solid Questioning Strategy
Along with organization, a sales process leads to a superior questioning strategy, because it forces you to lay everything out step by step. If you ask the right questions, new opportunities can present themselves that you wouldn’t have otherwise known existed. By uncovering a prospect’s real pain points, you can leverage that information by presenting additional solutions that may not initially have been factored into your pitch. Without establishing a questioning strategy in your sales process, you may well miss out on hidden opportunities and more substantial connections.
3. Helps to Monitor the Sales Team’s Performance
When you establish a sales process for your sales team to follow, it allows you to closely monitor their performance. If a salesperson is struggling, you can see how closely they are following the established sales process to see where they may be veering off course and failing. This allows you to make internal adjustments through additional training or audits so you will still achieve your new business goals. Without a structured process, evaluating a salesperson’s performance is much more subjective and it makes it hard to identify areas that they needed to improve on, and where they may need training when you don’t have any established benchmarks for reference.
To Close More New Business
And here are three ways that an established sales process can help you close more new business when you’re interacting with prospects:
1. Disqualify Faster
Because a sales process includes the development of a solid questioning strategy, it will help your sales team know exactly what kind of questions to ask prospects and when to ask them. A sales process can also identify which types of new business make sense for you to go after, and which don’t. Together, this will allow your team to qualify and disqualify leads faster, so your resources are focused on the right leads and not wasted on the wrong ones. Faster lead qualification will save you time and money, and increase your odds of closing the business you actually want.
2. Sets a Level Playing-Field
Without a sales process, you become subservient to your prospect and are constantly chasing them down to try to close a sale. Without a sales process, you can’t be in control. However, when you take the time to establish a solid and strategic sales process, you can better forecast what will happen next with your prospect, since you have logical steps laid out ahead of time. This takes the guesswork off the table and allows you to focus your efforts on qualifying your lead and being in control of the entire nurturing process from pitch to close. Instead of coming across as desperate, you are prepared and confident, which can go a long way in sales.
3. Close the Loop
The point of selling is—obviously—to close a sale! With a sales process, you are able to close the loop and complete the sales cycle, whether it’s today or sometime in the future. The only way out of the loop should be through a sale (or lead disqualification). Even if a lead doesn’t become a customer right away, it’s still important to keep track of your interactions and keep them in mind for the future through nurturing. With a sales process, you can ensure that nothing slips through the cracks and a lead isn’t forgotten or lost just because they don’t buy something right away. A sales process allows you to get organized, keep track of your prospects, and eventually close the sales loop one way or another.
Having a sales process in place is the key success factor for any salesperson, and any agency.
No matter how smart, how charismatic, or how caffeinated your salespeople are, ‘winging it’ just isn’t going to be good enough to persistently drive home new business growth. With a sales process, you can quickly disqualify a prospect, set a level playing field, and close the sales loop. A sales process reduces confusion, prevents oversights and missed opportunities, and opens the door to additional new business. When sales are off track, you can identify and address the problem before you get derailed from meeting your agency’s sales goals. When interacting with a prospect, a sales process helps your team stay focused and save time, paving the way for more closed business. All of which are very practical reasons to formalize your agency's sales process sooner than later.
Learn more about the ingredients of a winning agency sales program in our eBook:
You may also want to read:
- Improve Agency Sales: 4 Ways to Tell a Suspect from a Prospect
- 7 Steps to Eliminate Unqualified Agency Sales Prospects
- If You Can't Sell, How Can Your Agency Close New Business?