Sales Process Engineering
”When each step in the sales process is handled correctly, the close is the natural conclusion." - Tom Sommers, IBM
Once your sales stages accurately reflect your sales process, you're ready to start mapping out the individual steps in the process.
This can get highly granular, but it's important to remember that the goal is developing a consistent and repeatable process.
EXAMPLE: STAGE = NEW
Each and every sales stage will require it's own unique sales process. For the purposes of this tutorial we will be breaking down the sales process for a lead in the stage new, where the primary goal is making initial contact.
1. Call or Email First?
Believe it or not, the decision to call, text, or email first can significantly impact the rest of your conversation. As a general rule of thumb, phone always trumps email for making initial contact.
In fact, research sponsored by business school SKKU in Korea bears out that calling first, then emailing is 90% more effective.
Someone may request you email rather than call, or may not pick up if you do call, but attempting to get a live person on the other end of the phone is still the gold standard for beginning the sales process.
2. Determine Number of Followup Attempts
How many times will you follow up? Consider the following chart.
For new leads, 7-10 follow up attempts is usually a good rule of thumb in order to maximize the likelihood of success while avoiding wasting effort or annoying people. Keep in mind we're talking about warm leads that have reached out to you, not cold prospects where you are the one initiating contact.
3. Consider The Mix of Follow up Formats
Consider the full scope of options available.
- Phone Call
- SMS (Text)
- Snail Mail
Each has their own set of pros and cons and you will have to determine what's best for your situation. A mix of contacts is usually best because by using more than one format you get a multiplicative rather than purely additive effect.
4. Define The Timing of Your Follow-ups
Order and timing have a huge impact. There's no right answer here but here are some helpful guidelines
- Push harder early on when things are fresh and then slow down over time
- Try to alternate between contact formats (call, email) every other contact
- Create something that's achievable. If you outline something so aggressive it burns good leads by sheer annoyance, or if you have a high number of followups long past the point of effectiveness, sales reps are going to lose faith and fail to use the schedule which makes it worthless.
Two example follow up schedules
1. Fibonacci Sequence - This is the number sequence that is found in nature and commonly referred to as the Golden Ratio. Per wikipedia,
"In mathematics, the Fibonacci numbers or Fibonacci sequence are the numbers in the following integer sequence: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 12, 34, 55, 89..."
2. LeadSimple Follow up plan - Over the years we've found the following 10 touch, 20 day follow up model to be incredibly effective.
4. Scripts And Email Templates
Scripting out the sales conversation is a great idea both to help train new agents as well as allow more experienced agents to document and refine their process over time.