A sales process is a roadmap for your sales team to convert a potential lead into a happy customer. From running ad campaigns and ensuring your social media game is top notch to prospecting and working the pipeline, an effective sales process is one that will help your sales team convert more prospects into customers, close deals more quickly, and of course, drive more revenue for your organization. However, there are many productivity killers that can take the wind out of your team’s sails, such as a lack of motivation to prospect, trouble focusing on managing current relationships or hunting new leads, and unclear metrics—just to name a few.
So how can sales teams address these challenges when they need to drive growth?
The answer is to scale your sales approach with specialization. In this blog post, I’ll share exactly how you can see a major increase in sales effectiveness—regardless of how you sell now—with three proven steps I implement with all my clients.
Connect the dots between process & people
The fastest growing organizations are typically the ones where the marketing and sales teams work together in order to increase deal velocity. So in order to connect the dots between marketing and sales, you need to operationalize the lead to customer journey—or in other words, create a systematic approach to automating tasks with clearly defined roles so you can meet concrete, measurable goals.
To get started, I suggest reflecting on these three key questions:
- Does your process enable the team to do great work and your company to scale?
- Are your people in the right seats?
- Does your strategy really serve the customer?
From your marketing folks to your sales development reps and closers, these three questions all reveal important priorities that your process needs to take into account—with each team serving a specific function that supports the next one and creating a smooth experience for your prospects.
First, your marketing team should identify messaging pillars that are the key benefits delivered by your value proposition, nurture cold leads with useful content, and automate lead follow-ups. With 60% of customers saying no four times before saying yes and 48% of salespeople never making a single follow-up attempt, if you aren’t automating follow-ups, you’re letting a huge number of potential customers slip between the cracks. Second, your sales development reps should be fielding hot leads from marketing, identifying target accounts, adding their contacts to relevant campaigns, working responses to any inquiries, and setting qualified meetings. And finally, your closers should be hosting pipeline calls, aligning solutions between your organization and the potential customers, and proposing and negotiating deals, as well as closing them.
Specialize your sales team
If you were surprised by the differentiation between SDRs and closers in the last section, that’s okay. Remember the saying, jack of all trades, master of none? Well, that’s never been truer than when it comes to the sales process (if you’d like to dive in deeper, I suggest reading Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross). By creating specific roles within your sales team, you can foster teamwork, eliminate noise, get clear insight into what’s working and not working, and perhaps most importantly, create a sales process that is repeatable so it can help your company scale.
To get started with specialization, I suggest creating these two roles from Aaron Ross’s book, the hunter and the closer, which I break down below.
- Motivated by little wins
- Tests targets to find success
- Focuses on campaigns
- Stays operationally strong through any changes, conflict, or growth
- Supported by a buddy system so collaboration and teamwork are critical
- Measured on meetings and new pipeline created
- This is your BDR, SDR, or Lead Gen Partner
- Motivated by big ones
- Focuses on relationships
- Has strong follow ups and is comfortable playing the long game
- Measured on stage conversions and wins
- Works great on their own, like a cowboy
- This is your AE
By specializing in these two roles, your sales team can then divide and conquer the steps in your sales process. I suggest that your hunters take on identifying your targets and prospecting through email, calls, and more, and that your closers tackle running meetings, working the pipeline, and closing deals. This way, your hunters and closers can focus on specific tasks and get really good at them. At AK Ops, we’ve seen the number of leads increase by tenfold through specialization, resulting in an average of 10% more booked meetings and 25% more qualified deals.
Create a stocked pond with your marketing
The best marketing teams these days are the ones creating a “stocked pond” for your sales team to fish in. They create the foundational fuel for the sales funnel. After all, outbound is hard. Targeting is hard. Connect rates are hard. But if your marketing team is keeping the pipeline full of leads, it makes a world of difference for your sales team.
So how do you do it?
Provide value to your prospects and validate your solution without selling who you are. Your marketing team can achieve this first by nurturing leads with content that contains information that your ideal customers are actively seeking, rather than something that explains the products or services you sell. Of course, you should think about how the content fits in with your brand’s overall positioning and goals. Then, your marketing team should track engagement in the campaigns and prioritize the most engaged or ideal leads to sales for immediate attention.
All of these marketing efforts ultimately empower your sales team. Your hunters will be able to book more meetings due to higher connect rates and consistent touches, and your closers will be able to provide more consultation during their sales conversations because your prospects are more qualified and informed. The final results are higher pipeline conversion and close rates thanks to thoughtful and consistent nurturing.
Do this faster with automation and a dream partner.
The AK Ops Mission is to operationalize the CRM by connecting marketing and sales campaigns that enable demand gen programs on autopilot. We build content campaigns to nurture contacts in the database, then deploy sales sequences to those who engage most. Our program enables sales teams to work the right leads, at the right time, with the right message—ultimately building more pipeline with better conversion rates.
Ready to get started? Let’s talk.