Breaking News: More Impact Than Any Marketing Upgrades
A lot of clients come to us asking for more leads. Upon further review with them, we often uncover sales process and sales execution weaknesses, like low close rates, inefficient processes, overstaffed sales teams and underperforming sales reps.
What this means is that we can have a bigger impact on your revenue generation if we start looking at the sales execution. We’re aware that most people want to start with marketing and lead generation, but sales execution almost always produces bigger results in a shorter time frame.
This might feel like a riskier approach. After all, reworking your sales process, changing how reps work and asking them to use new tools or take different actions might seem disruptive to your current business and current sales performance.
This may be true, but with the right execution plan, sales enablement upgrades can be installed with minimal disruption and so the rewards far outweigh the risks.
Here’s what sales enablement upgrades can do for your company.
Improved Close Rates Can Impact Revenue Immediately
People love to brag about their close rates. Most of the prospects we meet don’t realize that a 20% close rate on proposals submitted isn’t great. They also fail to realize improving that close rate to just 30% drives a 50% increase in revenue.
Our research shows that if you’re not closing upward of 80% of the proposals, agreements or quotes you’re submitting, there is very likely something wrong with your sales process.
In short, you’re submitting your paperwork too soon. You need to do more co-creation and consultation before you put numbers and/or recommendations in front of prospects. Just because someone asks for a proposal doesn’t mean you have to give them one.
Here are just a few of the issues we often find when we engage with clients to help them improve their close rates:
- Your final presentations or even your proposals are all about you when they should be all about your prospect.
- Your legal documents are way too complex for any business people. If your agreements need to go to legal, they might need to be simpler.
- You’re sending proposals or agreements without any live color commentary. If you give prospects your docs and you’re not there to review them, verbalize them and explain your thinking, you might be introducing more questions, anxiety and concern than if you simply talked your prospect through the docs.
These three upgrades are so easy to deploy and the results are so startlingly positive that they prove sales enablement upgrades should be at the top of your list.
You Can Do More With The Same Or Fewer Reps
One of our clients had 10 sales reps pre-COVID. During the pandemic, he let five of the worst-performing reps go and thought he would muddle through with half the team. But 12 months later, he’s doing slightly more business with only five reps.
How did he do it?
He and the sales team are working smarter, not harder. He’s using digital tools to better qualify the leads, he has streamlined his sales process to be virtual and he actively enabled the remaining sales reps with new content to use in a more digitally forward sales process.
He’s doubling down on sales enablement and the digital experience to drive growth instead of adding more sales reps to the team to drive growth.
Here are several ways to leverage sales enablement to make your reps much more efficient:
- Use a specific qualification methodology. All prospects are NOT created equally, and sales reps shouldn’t be spending the same amount of time on all prospects. They should be focusing on the ones that are most likely to close by quantitatively scoring prospects.
- Design a sales process that quickly gets to no. You don’t want to spend three weeks trying to get a new prospect only to find out at the last minute that they lack the necessary budget. Ask the right questions up front, qualify them early and get to no as early as possible. Remove unqualified prospects from each rep’s work so they can focus on highly qualified prospects.
- Arm the sales team with the right tools. CRM and sales enablement technology help with everything from eliminating data entry, sending reminder emails, implementing follow-up tasks and arming reps with quick access to content to help tell your story. The more you can automate low-payoff activities, the more efficient your reps will be.
Shortening The Sales Cycle Could Add 20% More Revenue This Year
You have to know how long your sales cycle is right now. At Square 2, our sales cycle is roughly 34 days, down from 45 days just six months ago.
To share some numbers, if you have 10 opportunities a month, that’s 120 for the year. If it takes six weeks to close, you’ll close 100 of them. But if they can close in 30 days, you’ll close 110.
Those 10 extra deals might mean an extra 10% in total annualized revenue for the company. That is a major improvement from simply carving down your sales cycle by 33%.
Here are a few ways sales enablement can shorten your sales cycle:
- Almost every business deals with the need to provide references, but references are challenging. You have to contact your customer. You have to share their contact info. They have to agree to talk with the prospect. Then the prospect and the customer have to find time to talk. Weeks could go by before these important conversations take place. Make references easier. Making references easy to share with video has almost eliminated the need for any references with many of our prospects.
- Co-creating the recommendations is a process we recommend frequently. Working directly with the customer, before you unveil all your ideas, will ensure the prospect is bought into budget, program configuration, length of the agreement and any tricky terms. When you present, they should say, “This is exactly what we want,” as opposed to, “We have to think about this.”
- Finally, arm sales reps with content so that it can be quickly delivered in context to the sales conversations sales reps are having with prospects. This accelerates your sales cycle because prospects only buy when they feel safe. If sales reps are helping prospects be smarter, they feel safer and close faster.
The challenge with sales reps and content is that many sales organizations don’t know what content they need, nor do sales reps know when to offer that content to prospects and how it contributes to helping prospects feel better about selecting your company.
Knowing what content you need, when to offer it and how to quickly arm sales reps with this content can significantly shorten your sales cycle.
You Won’t Need More Leads To Close More New Customers
While most companies focus on getting more leads in most cases, we’ve found you might not need more leads to close more customers – you just need to do a better job with the leads you’re already working on.
If you can tell a better, more emotional and more compelling story, you’ll convert more leads into new customers. If you can better guide your prospects instead of selling them, you’ll convert more leads into new customers. And if can create a remarkable experience for prospects within the sales process, they’ll convert more frequently into new customers.
All of these conversion improvements come from upgrades done as part of sales enablement work.
You’ll Have Data To Make Better Sales-Related Decisions
Finally, the sales function has historically been managed by a lot of gut decisions. Yes, it’s clear who is hitting or missing their quotas, and that’s always been important for sales. But beyond that there is very little data going into your decision-making process.
Sales enablement activates the data to uncover insights related to how effective your sales team is at turning sales-qualified leads into sales opportunities and turning sales opportunities into new paying customers.
The next level of data includes what emails are engaging prospects, what stages in your sales process are slowing down your sales cycle and what parts of the sales process are causing bottlenecks. Once you have access to the data, you’ll be able to uncover the insight required to fix your process. And once you come up with an action plan to fix your process, revenue will grow exponentially.
By now you should be able to see why sales enablement has such a quick and dramatic impact on revenue. Improving the close rates drives revenue this month. Shortening the sales cycle drives revenue this month.
It might take you a month or two to organize the sales enablement upgrades, get them installed and train the sales reps. But those upgrades have the potential to immediately impact the leads flowing through your sales process, sales opportunities already in your pipeline and the prospects you’re trying to close.
Don’t think your first move is to generate more leads. Many times, doing a better job with the leads your sales team is already working on is the best way to improve revenue generation.
Square 2 — Building The Agency You’ll LOVE!
Posted By Author Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist
Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.