Sales development representatives are a dime-a-dozen.
Sales people with a rock-solid process and step-by-step workflow that's dialed in and fine-tuned for maximum effectiveness — that's rarer than the finest gold.
Many business owners only have a rough idea of how their sales process is supposed to play out, and it typically goes something like this:
While this is generally true, it doesn’t account for any specific scenarios that might arise during your outreach.
For example, what do you do if your prospects don’t respond? What if they respond negatively?
In general, it’s best to have a detailed workflow that contains all the potential roadblocks your salespeople might encounter during the sales process, as well as how to deal with situations using industry best practices.
In fact, companies with a formal sales process workflow experienced a 28% increase in revenue compared to companies without one.
You need to know exactly where a customer is on their journey, how to respond to any objections, questions, our doubts they might have, or anything else that might arise during the sales process.
Also, for new salespeople, it might be hard for them to determine what the logical next step should be if they aren’t used to working with your workflow.
Having a detailed process for them to reference at any given time is a great way to keep things moving smoothly and keep the questions to a minimum.
Before you begin launching your process, it's a good idea to make sure that all parties involved in the sales journey agree with this step-by-step approach, and come into alignment with what steps need to happen, when each step needs to happen, and who's responsible for executing each step in a timely manner.
Once this system is in place, you will be able to identify patterns and provide insights on sections of your process that might need to be altered for better results — this helps reduce problems that might occur and can really streamline your sales process.
Here at LeadRoll, we followed this by creating what we like to call our BulletProof Outbound Action Flow, it's a visual diagram that plots every step of our process, all the way from initial prospecting to closing the sale.
Not only does this allow us to see actions that result in more revenue, or inactions that result in lost leads — but it allows us to enforce our company branding and tone, and makes it easier to plan for the long term.
The first step is to outline the most important stages in your sales process.
This includes prospecting, reaching out, follow up, the sales call.
You should also include branching paths for any objections or varying responses your prospects might reply with — for example, right after your outreach section, you can have three branching paths: one for if they respond positively, one for if they respond negatively, or one for if they don't respond at all.
That way, if during your outreach, your salesperson reaches out and doesn't receive a response, they can look at the chart and know how long to wait before following up (if they should follow up at all).
Next, you want to assign resources and roles to each stage.
We'll go over specifically why specialization is important in a later section (Role Specialization) but for now, just know that you need someone whose job it is to specifically work on a certain step in your sales process in order to maximize your sales potential.
Next, you want to make sure everybody in any related department is on board, and they agree with what you are proposing.
Having everybody on board is a great way to increase work ethic and teamwork, and ensures that everybody is on the same page.
Then, you want to continually monitor your success and failure at each stage, and make changes when necessary.
Just setting this up once isn't good enough, as times often change, and you're going to need to adapt in order to succeed in outbound.
Finally, you are going to want to update and add depth to your process over time, maybe there's a step in your sales cycle you didn't think about the first time around.
Now is a good time to add that.
Once you complete this sales process or flowchart, you will not only see an increase in customer satisfaction, but also an increase in satisfaction in your employees, as there will no longer be any confusion as to what to do at any point during the sales cycle.
It will also allow more consistent customer experience.
This whole process standardizes your workflow, and in turn, increases your chances of making sales, and limits the amount of confusion and frustration that might occur during the sales journey.
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Earlier, we mentioned that you need to come up with a plan for when your prospects don’t respond, or they respond negatively.
A lot of salespeople don't know what to do if their prospects don't respond immediately, and oftentimes — they give up, resulting in a missed opportunity.
It's important to know how to follow up, and whether or not following up is even the right choice in the first place.
Sales people are terrible at follow up.
They give up too early on their leads, and great prospects get left behind because of a lack of proper chasing and persistence.
While there does often come a point where it's more valuable to leave the non-responders or nay-sayers behind so you can focus your outreach bandwidth on those next in line (particularly because of platform outreach limits and the fact that there are only so many emails and messages you can send in one day), you also need to know when a prospect is worth pursuing further.
If you boil it down, the real goal of your campaign is to get a positive response from a prospect, and that can sometimes take anywhere from 1 to 10 "touches" in order to see that reply come through, that's why it's important to know when not to give up.
It might seem like sending multiple messages to the same prospect without getting any response would just annoy them, but as it turns out following up is most often when they tend to respond.
There's a chance they just didn't see your original message — or they did, and intended to reply, but ultimately got caught up in something and forgot.
No follow up loses sales.
We suggest around 3-6 touch points per channel spaced accordingly before giving up, any more and you're likely wasting your time (unless you have reason to believe that this particular prospect is worth the effort).
You also need to know when it's worth it to chase neutral or sometimes even negative responses (they're not all lost causes).
If a negative response comes from a place of objection or an unknowingness of their current situation, it's then up to you to convince them that you can solve their problem.
They might already have someone who offers a similar solution as you, but they don't offer everything you do, so you have to sell them on the idea that if they didn't need you, you wouldn't be reaching out in the first place.
The same goes for neutral responses — these don't necessarily mean the prospect isn't interested, but perhaps just on the fence, unsure as to whether or not taking your offer is a good decision to make.
Convince them that it is.
When it comes to objections, there's a particular way you need to handle these, and they need to be handled well before the sales call These objections are typically focused on price, features, and competition.
They often stem from assumptions on the prospects part and a lack of true understanding of the unique value proposition of the sender.
The goal, when dealing with objections, is to give them enough information to establish what is being offered as different or better, without giving them everything they want.
In fact, one of the worst things a sales rep can do is actually answer the objection, or dig into the features
Outbound is about selling one thing: the call.
Get that prospect into a call—only then can a proper pitch be made.
Any attempts to answer objections via email or messenger to a prospect that has doubts will likely only lead to losing a deal.
Agree — Inform — Redirect
This should peak their interest, and get them into a call.
If you get stuck here, you're going to find yourself running in circles with no sales to show for it.
It's also good to keep in mind that prospects often lie, or at the very least, hide the truth.
They lie about their success, their metrics, needs or problems.
They even hide when they're not interested—so sometimes they'll seem so into what's being sold that you'd be tempted to think it would be a slam dunk, only for them to not show up for the call they booked.
Most industries are filled with false promises, and it's harder than ever to get someone to jump on a call if they don't have a strong desire to fix the problem being solved—it's truly an uphill battle.
A lot of the time, they don't even know what problems they have, or really how bad the problems they do have actually are.
That's why it's imperative to have expert salespeople who know your offer inside and out, and can sell the idea of your offer—without actually giving away all of the details, in order to convince these prospects who have been lied to before that you're not like the rest.
Remember, it's not your goal to sell them your offer, but to get them interested enough to join a sales call—and to show up ready to commit.
In this regard, keeping documentation of every interaction you have with a prospect, and tracking exactly where they are at any given point during their customer journey is the best way to know whether or not they are worth following up with.
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After you know exactly the step to take for your outreach, and how you're going to handle your follow up, you now have to figure out who specifically is going to work on each part of your sales process.
Creating clearly defined roles is one of the most important factors when it comes to creating a streamlined and efficient sales cycle.
When creating your sales process, it's not only important to know when and how to react to specific scenarios during the customer journey, but it's also important to know who is responsible for each as well.
It's important that you separate your sales and marketing people into very specific specializations relative to your sales process, and have them only work on those parts.
First off, that employee will become much faster if they are putting all of their energy into learning how to improve one thing.
If they have to worry about prospecting and qualifying inbound leads and closing sales, it's not only going to be much more difficult and stressful for the employee, but the odds of them ever gaining mastery over any one of those is very unlikely.
Another reason this is beneficial is because it simplifies the job, making it easier to focus and have a structured, repeatable process — meaning if your workflow is performing very well, you can expect consistent results, and if it's not, you know exactly what the cause of the problem is.
If you have everyone doing everything, it's going to be extremely difficult to pinpoint precisely what is going wrong during your sales cycle.
There are a few generalized roles that we like to use as a guideline:
You also want to make sure that whoever you assign to these roles stick specifically to them, and don't dabble in other roles.
Account executives (closers) for example, should be focusing entirely on creating urgency, handling objections, all the required tasks for closing sales — and shouldn't be bothered having to chase leads that are uninterested.
None of these parts of your sales process can truly succeed unless they have someone whose job it is specifically to make sure they do.
Doing this also promotes scalability, as it makes it easier to hire, train, measure, grow and promote people across the board.