Rick Meekins is the Managing Partner at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy, an Atlanta, GA based small business consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations.
Close More Deals | Extraordinary Business
Components of a Successful Sales System
According to Dave Kahle, of the Kahle Way, a sales system is “a set of principles, processes, strategies and tools that are put into place to bring the company results day-in and day-out.”
Essentially, what this means is that the company has a specific set of steps to find, nurture and convert leads into sales. The problems that many businesses face are two-fold:
- They have no specific process or tools in place to do get sales (no sales system) and all of the sales people do seems is right in their own eyes
- They use a single tactic to find and pursue leads
By not having a specific process and set of tools in place, it is very difficult to predict what your sales might be and to tell what is actually working.
For example: You might be to go to every networking event in town, send out email blasts until everyone ignores or unsubscribes from your list, periodically ping people on LinkedIn and other social media, add giveaways to your website, add squeeze pages to your website and sign up for every free social media site on the planet and syndicate all of your posts.
Only using a single approach can also yield very low results for the effort used. A typical example might be to
- Go to a networking event
- Meet some people, ask them for a follow-up meeting (or not)
- Send a follow-up email or card (or not)
- Hope the person responds
With either of these approaches, while you might fill your database up with people you vaguely know, those who just want you to send them qualified leads and those who want you to purchase services from them, you have no way to gauge how successful your results will be over time. The key, here, is not to suggest that the specific tactics are unrealistic, but rather, to suggest that by creating a process and using multiple tactics, results are measurable and your sales team is in a better position to gauge what works, versus what doesn’t work.
A sales system is a set of tools and steps you use to bring people from the initial awareness stage to the point where they are writing you checks. If you take into consideration AIDA, the sales & marketing acronym for Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action, it makes logical sense to create your sales system to lead people through this process.
- Awareness – this can happen through a number of measureable activities, such as sending an email, networking, advertising, connecting through social media, etc. The challenge is that this must be effective, it must present the proper message and should make some type of impact. This means that you will need to use more than one tool to create awareness. Furthermore, you need to make sure that you have a way to measure how successful the tactics are so that you can make changes or change strategies as necessary. Businesses have traditionally used campaigns and offers to create awareness in a new market.
- Interest – this is the whole point of the elevator speech with the question, such as, “Have you ever considered building an extraordinary company?” Because extraordinary is ambiguous – there doesn’t seem to be a clear, measurable definition of what it is, it begs the question, “what is an extraordinary company?” By presenting the idea, its benefits and advantages interest is created in what your company does.
- Desire – Is making that prospect want what only you can offer them, on multiple levels. Pitch experts often recommend telling stories that create desire for listeners to “get on board.” Here’s an article on Microsoft’s website called “Pitch an idea with a Great Story.”
- Action – once people are on board with the idea, concept or sale, it is time to lead them to taking action, whether that is signing a proposal, writing a check or even joining you at an event where you can give them more information.
In order to get people through all of those steps, assuming you aren’t working with one prospect at a time, requires a database– typically a CRM or pipeline management tool to manage them effectively. A combination of execution, timing and follow through are required at each step, especially with respect to those businesses with longer sales cycles. Think about it: have you ever been pursued by a vendor for business for years where, somehow, they have managed not to get on your nerves? They probably don’t have your picture on their refrigerator…they are using some software to remind them to ‘ping’ you over time.
Essential to the sales system are timing (connecting with your prospects on a regular basis, without being annoying!) and measurement. You could be doing the wrong things with perfect timing, which is just about as effective as doing the right things with terrible timing. Creating a rhythm for bringing your clients through the process will ensure that you are tagging all of your prospects at the proper time. Measuring their responsiveness (or lack thereof) will help to gauge the effectiveness of your tactics.
Don’t leave your sales system up for grabs. Build an extraordinary Sales System.
Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is an Atlanta, Georgia based Operations Management and Business Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders. We help business leaders DESIGN| CREATE | BUILD extraordinary businesses. We support our clients with financial management, product and service production and delivery, outsourced services management, sales & marketing and business growth. We provide them with a number of flexible solutions to help them reach their goals.
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