Entrepreneurs and business leaders often report that sales are their biggest challenge. In this article, we share the role of the following actions in your sales process:
- Creating an actionable sales plan
- Performing a network audit
- Creating and evaluating a lead qualification roadmap
- Preparing for pitch meetings
- Considering creating multiple revenue streams for your business
- Establishing a solid CX program to gather stakeholder feedback
1. Create an actionable sales plan.
Creating an actionable sales plan will provide the framework for achieving your business goals. Developing a sustainable and actionable sales plan doesn’t need to be a long and painful process, but it does require thoughtfulness and intention. An actionable sales plan serves three key purposes:
- Provides a clear assessment of whether you are in the marketing or sales phase of the process
- Aligns your team around a common purpose
- Provides a framework of actionable steps to take
A well-prepared and actionable sales plan should not only include sales goals and prospective clients but a calendar and a detailed to-do list as well.
2. Perform a network audit.
A network audit can help identify the people who make up your personal and professional network and assess each person’s status in the marketing-to-sales funnel. Not only can a network audit help you understand whether you are in marketing, business development, or sales mode, but it can also help tailor messaging to the various segments of your network.
3. Create and evaluate a lead qualification roadmap.
For a prospect to be in sales mode, certain conditions must be ripe for a sale. These conditions can be assessed by using a lead qualification roadmap. While there are several variations, we prefer to use a 7-factor test that consists of:
- Identification: do you know the name and company of the prospect?
- Problem: does the prospect have an identifiable problem?
- Solution: do you have a solution to this problem?
- Priority: is finding a solution to the problem a priority for the prospect?
- Authorization: who has authority to make decisions regarding sales?
- Outlook: what are the expected outcomes and goals?
- Resources: does the prospect have the resources (money, personnel, etc.) to invest in the sale?
4. Prepare for pitch meetings.
Whether you’re meeting with an existing or a potential new client, messaging and presentation is key. All too often, however, entrepreneurs and business leaders take a casual and improvised approach to a sales pitch meeting. Unfortunately, this often leads to disappointment.
Lack of pitch preparation is one of the key reasons people cannot make a sale. With preparation, however, you can prevent surprises and minimize the risk of disappointment.
The following steps can help ensure that your message is on point and that you and your team are prepared for the pitch meeting and any follow-up communications:
- Confirm the prospect’s problem and your solution
- Create message maps of key points, critical questions, and roles/responsibilities
- Conduct practice meetings and simulations so that you are prepared for all possible scenarios
- Utilize post-pitch communications to reinforce message and strategy
5. Consider creating multiple revenue streams for your business.
At some point, you will want to scale your offerings and grow your business with multiple revenue streams. When assessing whether and how to create various revenue streams for your business, you should consider the following: (1) the customer journey; (2) the “how” of the revenue stream; (3) sustainability of the revenue stream; (4) alignment with brand and reputation; (5) feedback from current clients and customers.
6. Establish a solid CX program to gather stakeholder feedback.
As a business, you are only as successful as how you treat your clients. By taking a user-centric, humanity-centered approach to the customer experience (CX), you can build a CX program that aligns with your values and strengths to accelerate business growth by cultivating strong client relationships. Moreover, by operationalizing the client experience at the institutional and individual client level, you can increase efficiency, create alignment among your team, and ensure each client gets a positive experience.