Books have been written and debates held on what is the best way to run companies’ new business development. And with an increase in the volume of new tools and technologies, the debate seems to get all the more complicated every year.
It shouldn’t be that difficult. The same golden principles from decades ago still apply today. Here’s our quick take on how to build a perfect B2B sales workflow and tips for choosing the relevant sales tools for the job.
What's a sales workflow?
The term sales workflow refers to basic set of repeatable steps your sales team takes to turn prospects into customers. A more elaborated set of steps is also know as sales process.
The basic steps of a sales workflow
1. Pick a home for your data
A good CRM will be the basis for the whole sales process, gathering all of the prospect data, activity data, contract data and working as your reporting tool. It’s safe to say, then, that selecting the right one and integrating CRM with other technologies is an important decision.
As an industry standard, Salesforce is the obvious choice. Their ability to heavily customize and integrate with other tools is an obvious plus. For smaller organizations, we recommend Pipedrive, as it’s more intuitive, user-friendly and visual than other CRMs we’ve tried out. If you have a stronger marketing focus, HubSpot's sales pipelines work nicely together with their marketing automation capabilities.
2. Identify your ideal customer profile
While it may sound simple, many organizations fail on this part. What do your customers really have in common? Is it the industry, the region or the size of their business, or is it rather their attitude towards technology, their heavy investment in their staff or the digital transformation they were going through that weighed more heavily in the decision to buy your services?
Take a look at a sample list of your best customers and connect the dots to figure out who exactly to go after. The better you do this, the more effective your sales efforts will be.
3. Find the right prospects
Once you know who to look for, it’s time to find them. Use a smart prospecting solution to filter through the masses and identify exactly the organizations to go after–then, find the right person within the company. Your ideal solution should integrate with your CRM to save you time on prospecting.
4. Reach out to them using multiple tactics
You know who to go after, and so it’s time to execute. We recommend using a smartbound approach–a combination of inbound marketing tactics and outbound sales methods.
For the inbound, create content relevant to your target audience that will help them solve the issues they’re battling with; like I’m doing right here with this blog post. Leverage your networks to get your content into various outlets, and create targeted ad campaigns through social channels. To make sure this converts to sales, make it as easy as possible for the prospects to contact you to further discuss your offering.
For outbound sales, create a systematic sequence or cadence (check out outreach.io or salesloft.com) for your prospects, with multiple channels and highly tailored content relevant to them. Mix in phone calls, emails and social to make sure you’re getting a response.
Mix in phone calls, emails and social to make sure you’re getting a response.
In all outreach, spam should never be an issue. Assuming you’ve done a good job targeting, your pitch should be in tune with your target audience’s real pain points and something they’re open to discussing.
5. Monitor and nurture your target accounts
You reach out to someone and, while interested, the timing is wrong. Then what? Typically, organizations set up a task and follow up in three to six months, forgetting about the whole case in between.
Instead, set up notifications on the account to make sure you’re not missing out on an obvious opportunity. You can track trigger events for this. Maybe that VP or CXO switches jobs, maybe the company receives a round of funding, or maybe they start investing more in technologies in your space. When this happens, you’ll get notified and help remind them of your good discussions previously.
As long as the communication is genuine and provides value to the other person, they should be open to your messaging.
Another good thing to do is keep the discussion going, throwing a good tip, an interesting article or an update to your service offering to your contact every now and then through a newsletter or by posting on social. As long as the communication is genuine and provides value to the other person, they should be open to your messaging.
6. Analyze results and tweak accordingly
As a result from your sales efforts, you’ll get a ton of numbers to measure your success. However, we’ve seen that the best results are seen when keeping the math as simple as possible:
Number of conversations X average hit rate X average deal size = total sales.
Based on your reports, look to see how you can improve each of the key metrics and tweak your process to improve overall sales. Are there any obvious things to correct? Is there something that could easily be grown?
Typically the best results come from focusing on improvement in all metrics, not just focusing on one of the three. For a more in-depth look into the numbers behind sales, sign up to our Real-Time Sales Master Class.
One more thing... automate your sales workflow
One way to make your challenge easier is finally taking advantage of sales automation. Thanks to modern sales technology, you can automate the repetitive and frustrating parts of sales. As a result, you can focus on what truly matters: having engaging conversations with your prospects and customers. Here we've summarized five tactics to tap into sales automation.