Sales Enablement is Key for Improving Sales Execution

Every business needs more sales and wants to improve sales execution. Achieving this requires a commitment to first define your sales process, automate it, then manage each phase of the sales cycle. This is one of the core features of CRM software, but CRM tools by themselves are not the answer to improving sales execution. The tools need to be complemented by strong sales management and a sales team that appreciates having a structured sales process in place. This will result in quicker sales cycles and closing more business.

Step 1 – Lead Qualification

First, the sales organization needs to define what a highly qualified prospect looks like for their business. Start by simply asking a few questions such as:

  1. What customers do we serve better than anyone else?
  2. What are these customers’ competing alternatives?
  3. How can we efficiently convert prospects into new customers?

Incorporating these questions into your CRM will automatically qualify each new opportunity based on a set of predefined criteria or questions as illustrated below. In flexible CRM solutions, these questions can be customized for your business.

commence-crm-lead-qualification-sample-questions

Based on how each sales representative answers the questions, the system will then rank and color-code each lead. [Red for hot or highly qualified; yellow for warm – there is an interest but more work to be done; and blue for cold or just starting out.]

This automated business process ensures that each sales representative is laser focused on the most promising opportunities based on the company’s qualification criteria and not their gut instinct, saving your business valuable time and money.

Step 2 – Sales Cycle Management

The next phase of sales enablement is to define the steps in your sales process. The screen below highlights a sample of the sales stages for each new business opportunity.

commence-crm-sales-cycle-management-sales-stages

The ability to monitor deal flow will provide your organization with substantial value. Sales managers can monitor where each new business opportunity is in the sales cycle, determine if it is stalled or moving through the process as expected, and assign the proper resources to help win the business at the right time.

Step 3 – Sales Reports

Using a CRM for forecasting will help optimize your selling process by improving the timeliness and accuracy of your monthly and quarterly sales forecast.

commence-crm-report-30-day-sales-forecast

The CRM system organizes each forecast based on the sales stages you have entered within the system. In addition, you can review each opportunity in your sales funnel and drill into both pending and completed activities to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

The pathway to your success in improving sales execution will be based on:

  • the commitment of your management and sales team to devote the time and resources necessary to define your sales processes
  • adopting a CRM software application that will enable you to automate and optimize your sales process
  • and taking advantage of best practices your solution provider can offer to ensure the proper implementation and use of their software

To learn more about how you can maximize sales enablement and optimize your sales process contact Commence CRM sales at 732-380-9100.

4 Key Questions to Ask After a Trade Show

If your company goes to trade shows, the pre-show process is probably a well-oiled machine. The staff knows who is going, the proper signage is ready, the handout information is packed, and your team is ready to meet potential new clients. Getting everything together and organized may take some time but it is almost automatic to you at this point.

What happens after the trade show?

If your answer is, “I don’t really know” or if you only have a vague answer, you might want to keep reading. You just spent time and money at a trade show trying to meet new potential clients. The after show lead collection and analysis is crucial to your business. If you do not have a system in place to store and help you analyze the leads you collected at the show, it is time to get one.

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Question 1: Where do I put all the leads I collected at the trade show?

Your staff did a great job of meeting people and collecting their information at the trade show. You get back to your office and most likely you either have a stack of business cards or an Excel spreadsheet with names, email addresses and phone numbers on it. What do you do with it all?

One of the most efficient ways to store all that trade show information would be in a CRM system. Instead of saving that spreadsheet full of potential clients on your desktop, import it into a CRM system that allows you to do more than just have it sit there. You can even flag those leads as being from that particular trade show to keep them organized.
Question 2: Who is going to follow up on these leads?

Now that you have imported your trade show leads into your CRM system you can assign them to your sales reps. Any good CRM system will allow you to import and assign at the same time. You can assign based on geographic territory or assign your highest potential value leads to your most seasoned sales reps. Your sales team can now follow up on those tradeshow leads and continue building relationships.
Question 3: What do I want to send to these leads after the show?

You’re in luck; you made a wise selection and chose a CRM system that has an integrated email marketing system. Now you can put the leads you collected on a drip marketing campaign to help nurture them. Start out by sending them a short message saying how great it was to meet them and why your company has value to them. You can also provide them with links to more information about your company and perhaps videos or white papers that support your value proposition.

The drip marketing tool you have inside your CRM system allows you to set up a series of emails to go out at a time of your choosing. Use this tool to keep your message in front of these leads. Provide them with the information that they need in order to do business with your company. A drip marketing campaign combined with the follow up by your sales people is a strong effort to generate new business for your company.
Question 4: How do I know what business came as a result of going to the trade show?

Because you were smart when you imported your leads into your CRM system and flagged them as being from a particular trade show you can track this easily. When one of your sales reps closes the lead and converts them into being an account, your CRM system will still show that they were from that trade show. You can then run reports or create saved searches to see what accounts you got from what trade show. If you are using your CRM system to track sales you can even generate a report to see what revenue that trade show generated for your company. You can then use that data to generate an ROI number. This will help you plan for future shows and allocate budget to the more effective ones.

(Photo: Alejandro Escamilla, unsplash.com)

Be ready to provide information to your customers

Best Practice # 42: Has a systematic approach to collecting, processing, storing and accessing information about their products and services.

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By Dave Kahle

Sometimes I am almost embarrassed to have to actually spend time describing some of these best practices. There are some that seem so blatantly obvious, so basic, that there can’t possibly be salespeople who don’t do them.

Alas, no matter how basic and fundamental a best practice may sound, there are good numbers of salespeople who just don’t implement that practice well. They may agree on the concept, and give lip service to the idea, but they just don’t find themselves practicing that procedure with any discipline.

That’s why the best practices are called best practices. You have to do them. It’s one thing to acknowledge their value and expediency; it’s quite another to routinely execute them with excellence.

This one falls into that category. Could there possibly be a salesperson who doesn’t have all the literature for every product or service he sells — the specifications, the efficacy studies, the price and packaging – organized so he can easily find it and retrieve it?

More than you would think.

As a result, they look unprepared and unorganized in front of the customer, waste time looking for things they should have, and miss opportunities due to a lack of readily available information.

The best salespeople understand the need to be organized, and specifically to have their product and service information and literature readily available. They understand that this means both hard copy and electronic files, organized in some logical and coherent fashion, kept up to date, and readily assessable whenever they need it. That typically takes the form of a file box in their car for the hard copy literature, and a set of files on their laptop for the electronic.

That way, they can easily and quickly produce the information that their customers require. They save the customer time, appear professional and organized, and turn opportunities into dollars.

That’s why they are the best, and this is a practice of the best.

Photo: stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net