To create an actionable sales plan, the first critical step is to mine your network so you can determine your best next step. Sales are about people, and the quickest way to identify your most effective sales move is to assess where you have relationship capital. This step is key in prioritizing your resources and activating the right sales plan that moves your needle forward.
If a network audit reveals that most of your contacts aren’t ripe for a potential sale, then you are in the marketing phase. If, on the other hand, you have several contacts and relationships that are ripe for a possible sale, you are in the sales phase of the process, and a network audit can help assess whether specific contacts are Protect, Nurture, or Secure clients.
A Network Audit Can Determine whether You’re in Sales or Marketing Mode
A network audit is the process of identifying the people who make up your personal and professional network and assessing each person’s status in the marketing-to-sales funnel. A network audit will help you answer the following key questions:
- Are you positioned to grow but don’t know how to get new clients?
- Are your current marketing and sales investments or initiatives achieving their desired results?
- Should you be prioritizing and focusing on marketing? Or sales?
Use your Network Audit to Segment Sales Prospects
Not only can a network audit help you understand whether you are in marketing or sales mode, but it can also help differentiate between Protect, Nurture, and Secure relationships within your sales pipeline.
Protect relationships with current clients and customers you want to keep as clients or customers. Relationships in Nurture mode current clients and customers that are ripe for growth. And Secure relationships are prospects that you’d like to transition into clients or customers.
You can use your current network as a successful means to acquire a new client or close your next deal, but to do this, you first need to have a clear understanding of the depth and nature of your network. A network audit will help you categorize contacts as:
- Target Buyers (ripe for a possible sale)
- Superfans (possible referral sources and testimonials)
- Current Clients
- Former Clients
- Wish List Contacts/Clients
In addition to evaluating the category of each contact, the network audit should also assess the depth of the relationship based on the following:
Ideally, the network audit will also include notes on the relationship, potential opportunities, and next steps.
How Often to Conduct a Network Audit
Once you have completed a comprehensive network audit, you should revisit it once or twice a year. The network audit is the foundation of your actionable sales plan, so the information it provides should be reliable and up-to-date. You should continuously evaluate your relationships to assess whether you are positioned in sales mode.