Volume 2- Elevate – Step 1
Over the last month I’ve been helping small businesses discover and implement new sales processes. Every time, it is exciting to see the “light go on” with each business owner or sales professional when they begin to understand the value of Elevating.
My focus is working with Business to Business Services companies. Often these companies operate in highly competitive environments and have trouble separating themselves from their competition. Although there are some great marketing and branding strategies that will help create that separation, I also challenge my clients to separate themselves by Elevating their sales process.
Have you ever experienced the “They like me, they really like me!” syndrome in sales? You get so excited that a prospect actually is interested in doing business with you that you immediately put it into the CRM as a lead and drive it into your pipeline of opportunities. Then a strange thing happens, the deal stalls, they are still talking to you, but information is slow to come, you can’t get what you need from the client to complete the proposal, but you do it anyway because they like you! Your prospect still takes the meetings and phone calls, so it must be a good fit, right? Then something else happens: you give them the proposal and they never call. It hangs in your pipeline forever at 90% closed, and 6 months later, you finally take it out.
What a waste of time that was! The prospect was perfect. They liked me, they seemed to beinterested. How could this have happened?
The first step in Elevating your sales process is creating Clarity about your ideal client. By creating an Ideal Client Criteria, you will focus your efforts toward the companies and/or people to whom you can provide the greatest value.
1) Pay attention to the company or person your company says is your ideal client. Unless you have empirical evidence to the contrary, use your company’s information. They probably have spent a considerable amount of time and money figuring it out. Here is an example:
- $100 million to $500 million in revenue
- B2B services company in the technology or professional services industries
- Sales force of 25 or more
- Located in the Western United State
- Experiencing 5 of 8 key pain points
- Identified budget for this project
- Timeline is established to implement
2) Evaluate each prospect that comes in against your criteria. See how well they match, then make a conscious decision as to whether or not you wish to take it to the next stage of your sales process. This is the key: Make a decision. Don’t just leave it to momentum or a thin pipeline. Make a good decision.
If you don’t know your ideal client criteria, get to know it soon because you are wasting your time and your company’s money; and meanwhile President’s Club is getting further and further away.
Or, you could just keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll be looking up at the other sales professionals who have made the decision to Elevate.