One step I recommend you take to energize your sales process is to rank your current customer list. This is something we at Add1Zero do when we move in with a new client in the B2B tech services space.
The best way to analyze the people you are selling to is to split them into three groups:
· Green: Your perfect client. So right for you that you wish you could clone them. These are the clients you want more of, and I’ll suggest shortly how you can arrange that.
· Yellow: They are decent clients. They follow the rules and you’re happy to sell to them, but you could “take them or leave them”.
· Red: These are the nightmare clients who take up too much time and give you a lot of hassle. They want everything customized and they quibble over every line item. Ideally, you want to fire them!
Once you’ve done this, think about how to build packages that attract clients you really want to work with. If you create the persona of your ideal client, you can work out how to target them through all your messaging.
We want to help you get to the point where you can get rid of the Red clients that are a headache and add more Green clients to your list.
You can still have a lot of Yellow clients. You don’t necessarily wish you had more, but you don’t mind having them around. Let them finance the business.
But now you want to create filters in your sales funnel that keep the Red clients out. This is where we think about how to carefully ask questions during the sales process.
How the content of your sales calls can help your marketing
At this point, I want to emphasize the importance of sales and marketing teams working together. What we have found to be most effective in driving collaboration between the two functions is using every sales call as an intelligence-gathering mechanism.
We record every sales call, go through it and write down every single question that is asked by prospective customers. You end up with a list that acts as a set of content prompts to be used by a marketing team in the creation of new messages.
If we use that intelligence, real questions being asked by real prospects, it’s a more scientific approach. It’s not a salesperson’s opinion versus a marketing person’s opinion. It’s what actual prospects want to know.
Now, prior to a prospect coming on the call, we can ask questions and present information in such a way that the Reds can disqualify themselves out of the funnel.
Meanwhile, the Greens will receive the information they really want prior to a one-to-one sales call.
This is a vastly more effective mechanism for getting information out there, and your messaging starts to align around what actual prospects want.
That right there is collaboration between marketing and sales—talking about the same things based on the real data coming out from real prospective customers.
Why the worse answer on a sales call is not “No”
Once I get on a sales call, the worst answer I can get is not “No”. The worst answer is “Maybe”.
I want to know your decision as fast as possible, so that I can clear my calendar and move on to the people who will say “Yes”.
I don’t want my sales funnel overloaded with a lot of people who may or may not buy what I’m trying to sell them. If someone says “No”, I can get them off my list so that we can focus on the people who are going to grow your business.
If 80% of people say no, that’s great because it means that 20% say yes. That’s an excellent close rate!
Sales goals? Simply close as much money as possible.
One thing I don’t believe in, however, is sales goals. Whenever we walk into a new business, it’s apparent that their sales goal for the quarter is really just a useless backward projection built to justify how much money they want to spend in the next quarter.
It doesn’t make any sense. All that business is doing is reverse-justifying how much money it thought it was going to spend, then making a goal to pay for that.
You’ve already written the check—now you want to make sure it clears.
Our approach is that we want to close every lead that comes in. Our sales goal is 100%, because our close rate is as much money as possible.
We’re going to fall wildly short of that—but it’s still a goal. At the level of business at which our clients operate, trying to set a more sophisticated target is a complete waste of time.
Sales are all that matters to founders
The main reason we want to try to close every lead is that we really love getting revenue for customers.
I firmly believe that no founder wakes up in a sweat at 3 a.m., stares at the ceiling and thinks anything other than: “I need more sales.”
People don’t think about cutting costs or making more profit. They don’t think about anything else except growing sales, because everything else follows from that.
I always found it weird that companies could have an interim, or fractional, CFO or COO, but that you never saw fractional VPs of Sales.
I wondered if we could build systems and processes that would support the role of a fractional closer. A lot of people thought that was impossible, but I didn’t know why it should be impossible. So we built it.
To this day, I have been told about one other company that does it, but I’ve never met anybody doing the same as us.
I realized I didn’t want to consult, and I didn’t want to coach. I just wanted to make people more money. There’s plenty of room for people who do consulting and coaching, but we want to build systems that plow the road for revenue.
You don’t need—and you can’t afford—a VP of Sales
We work with companies who have reached a level of revenue in the mid-six figures. They want to add that extra zero and move to the mid-seven figures – but at this stage, you can’t afford a VP of Sales.
You don’t want to spend $250,000 on that person—who is also going to want to bring in an assistant, and a sales team too. You want to build a revenue ops system, a program that supports your whole sales process.
If you’re a founder and you’ve built your business to the point where you’re seeing $500,000 in annual revenue, you have a choice. If you want to be in sales and marketing, hire somebody to run operations.
If you don’t, be the CEO and run the company, and we’ll come in with a solution that can take you to the $5 million mark. When you have $5 million in sales, if you decide you want to internalize your sales process, it’s not such a big dent in your revenue.
What we do is become fully white-label integrated with your company. We bring a revenue function, we know how to run all the programs and we have scalability. And we can do this because we’ve written, built and deployed everything before.