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Polishing off your B2B Sales Process
Now that you’ve implemented a decent B2B sales process, you’re probably excited to sit back and watch it work, right? Not so fast. The key to a well-rounded execution of your sales journey is a little thing we like to call experimentation. Think of your sales processes like a laboratory, and you are the mad scientist who’s always looking for new results. While you might have your tried and accurate methods for earning sales, you’ll want to keep optimizing to improve constantly. Here’s what to measure as you polish your B2B sales process until it shines.
Measuring conversion rates probably sounds basic, but we’re not talking about merely measuring the conversion from a cold prospect to a converted sale (which is a good first step). You should measure conversions at every stage of your sales funnel to determine what portions are working and what you need to tweak. Measure conversions from:
- Leads to prospects
- Prospects to opportunities
- Opportunities to closed deals
Doing so can help you isolate where you’re experiencing the most drop-off in your sales funnel. From there, you can determine if you need to adjust your follow-up cadence, change the wording of your approach, fine-tune your sales demo, or any other creative means to increase conversions.
Sales funnel volume
A healthy sales will have a consistent supply of leads at every step, so you’ll want to measure not just the conversion rates but also the total volume of leads, prospects, opportunities, and closed deals. You can measure these by week, month, quarter, and annually. You can also measure outcomes such as outreach emails sent, or demos were given. Ask thoughtful questions about your results:
- Are the marketing and sales outreach efforts generating enough new leads?
- Are there enough new leads to reach revenue growth expectations?
- Is the sales team moving enough leads forward through the funnel?
- Are you doing enough prospecting, or is your conversion rate to blame for a decrease in sales?
It’s hard to diagnose any potential problems in your sales funnel without knowing the total volume. This can also tell you how creative you need to get with your marketing and prospecting experiments. Remember when we talked about trying new strategies? If your lead volume is low, you might be tempted to deploy more of your budget toward marketing campaigns or toward trying new, unproven initiatives. But if you’re doing just fine at the moment in this area, it might not be worth the risk, and funds would be better spent elsewhere.
Sales funnel value
Getting leads into your sales funnel is excellent, but if you want to polish your strategy (and increase your revenue), you’ll also need to focus on the quality of leads in your sales funnel. You can do this by measuring the value in your funnel. A fundamental way to determine this measurement is to divide your total revenue by the number of sales.
The total number of leads should always counterbalance this. For example, if you try an experiment to increase the quality of information — perhaps more robust lead scoring — this could have the unintended consequence of your sales team deprioritizing minor initial sales that could have a longer lifetime value.
If you begin experimenting with your sales funnel value and notice your overall leads are drying up at any step, it’s time to go back and re-tool your approach.
Diagnose lost sales
OK, it hurts to lose a sale. It’s the kind of thing that could make you want to quickly move on to the next opportunity and file that lost deal away in a deep, dark corner of your records where you’ll hopefully never have to remember it again. Not so fast!
Understanding why a potential customer ultimately said no to your team is crucial, and you should keep detailed records that help you track each no so you can spot patterns. Compile the information in an easy-to-read chart that you can distribute at quarterly reviews. This is a critical time to solicit direct feedback from your sales team on changes to the marketing or product that could help them improve their sales rates. Or, maybe your product is excellent, but the sales team needs more training. Or perhaps your marketing team isn’t doing enough to build your presence and story in the marketplace. There are many potential answers here to improve lagging sales numbers, but only if you start understanding why prospects have turned you down in the first place.
This is especially important the more creative you get with your sales process because you want to know if your experiments are paying off or if they’re doing more harm than good.
Don’t make this number one B2B sales mistake.
The worst thing you can do when it comes to B2B sales is failing to innovate. As your revenue goals grow, you’ll need to find ways to optimize your sales funnel— that’s probably going to take some innovation. Here are some of the elements of the sales process you can experiment with as you keep your eye on the above metrics:
- Contact method: Do your contacts respond better to calls, emails, text messages, or other forms such as social media or Slack? Keep in mind that preferred contact methods could vary at different points of the sales process.
- The pace of follow-up: Do your leads want to hear from you once a week? More? Only when they’ve taken a particular action such as clicking on a link?
- Special offer: Do you find that creating a special offer for a specific leads segment increases urgency and produces more sales? Or does it eat into your revenue?
- Demo content: Are your demos engaging? Are you helping prospects truly interact with your product and see the value? Is there a different way you can be demonstrating how your product applies to their specific use case?
Experimenting is the key to developing a sales strategy that adapts to changes in the market. Consumer preferences are constantly evolving, and as a B2B sales professional, you’re not only serving your direct customer but helping them serve theirs. You need to stay continuously agile and creative to find ways to reach prospects where they’re at with the good news about how you can help.