Perfecting your sales process
Armed with your data, you know how likely you are to make sales and you can estimate how much you’ll be selling. Now it’s time to supercharge your sales process to make it as efficient as possible.
With effective sales data analysis, you can work smarter without having to work longer or harder. You’ll be seeing better results, closing more deals, and your team will be happier and more motivated because they’ll be achieving success themselves.
Identifying your bottlenecks
Let’s start out by looking at your pipeline. It’s the easiest place to start and you don’t need to change your team’s behavior to understand where things could be improved.
First of all, take a look at your likelihood of sales numbers and how likely leads are to move on from each stage of your pipeline. Analysis should reveal any bottlenecks in your sales process. Remember, you’re always going to lose more deals that you close; that’s the nature of sales, but you can act to identify stages where a lot of leads are dropping out of your pipeline and work out where the problem lies.
Once you’ve isolated the part that needs work, it’s simply a case of looking at your accumulated data regarding the underperforming section of your pipeline to determine what prevented deals from progressing to the next stage.
Here’s an example:
You’re looking at the results from your email follow-up stage and notice that when your reps follow up within a day of their cold call the deal is more likely to close. However, your reps are often still waiting two days or more to follow-up. Now you know the issue, you can broach the subject in a sales meeting or even add a section on prompt follow-ups to your sales training.
You should also track how long deals sit in each stage of your pipeline. If deals are being consistently held up in one section, then you’ll know to improve your process at that point of the sales journey. Maybe your team needs to be making more follow-up communications? Or maybe they’re making too many? Maybe you need to offer customers additional value to keep them hot and on the radar? In all these instances, your data should reveal the reason.
Once you’re armed with the right sales data, you’re in the perfect position to remove your bottlenecks.
Utilizing sales activities
With the guesswork gone, it’s time to make some surgical changes to your sales process. To get you started, here’s our list of powerful sales activities that can help you to improve your sales and the quality of the sales data you’ll be accumulating.
Here are some steps you can take to improve your sales activities based on your data.
- Ask for referrals on social media from customers you’ve had positive selling experiences with to see if it can boost leads. Word of mouth is often the best endorsement of a product. Use the data in your CRM to find your best customers and reach out to them for a testimonial
- Work at qualifying your leads so you can determine which deserve your highest priority. Assess if they have the power and finance to commit to the full version of your product, rather than free-trials and ebooks, and go after them first by the way the lead was generated. If there’s a trend between where leads come from and the likelihood of a sale, or how long a deal sits in the pipeline, then you’ll know how best to allocate resources.
Building relationships with leads and clients
- One of the best ways to improve your relationships with leads and clients is to help them meet their needs—implement strategies at key points on your pipeline and then check your data on how likely prospects are to move onto the next stage of the pipeline to see if they’re effective.
- Use A/B testing to see if targeting your leads with personalized emails increases open and click-through rate. Check to see if deals are more likely to progress through your pipeline with these tactics in place.
- Don’t ignore the power of building client relationships as, on average, repeat clients spend 67% more than new customers. Interact with your clients on social media, keep them in the loop about your upcoming products and have an automated marketing campaign set up for your existing/previous customers that sends useful information to their inbox—you’ll be able to see which campaigns triggered them to re-enter the pipeline on your CRM, and you’ll be able to see data on the total revenue created by new clients versus existing clients.
Experiment with your communication
- Optimize your email templates for the different stages of your pipeline. Ask yourself what you’re trying to get out of each template and what information you’re trying to get across, and once you have an idea, run A/B testing with different approaches. An approach that works best at an early stage of a pipeline may not be the most effective once a relationship has been established between your lead and reps—the best way to analyze your success is to look at the response to your email campaigns in the CRM and the time it takes for your reps to send out these emails.
- Try reaching out to your leads at different times of the day or week to determine if there are better times to be making calls, or sending emails on the weekend when people will be receiving a smaller volume of emails, but are still likely to be checking their inbox. You’ll be able to see if there’s a positive effect by comparing the amount of calls made and emails sent with the success rate of moving each lead to the next stage of the pipeline.
Extra CRM functionality
- If you know that following up with a lead over email boosts conversion rate, use automated alerts to make sure you never forget to follow up with a lead; using a CRM’s prioritized follow-ups helps improve lead retention rate and keeps your prospects warm
- Use specialized tools, such as Smart Contact Data, to quickly build personal relationships with leads and you’ll be able to work out which personal details get you the best results through analysis of your success rates of communication with your leads.
- Have you spotted that your reps are losing a lot of leads at the presentation stage because they can’t find a time to meet? You can use your CRM to cut out the back and forth when trying to pin down a meeting time with clients. When using a tool like Pipedrive’s Scheduler, you can empower your leads to choose a meeting time that works best for them that you know will already work for you—you can check to see if streamlining this improves conversion rates by analysing how many leads at the meeting stage get moved through to product demonstration, and then how many go on to close.
Sales activities can be broken down into four areas:
- Developing Relationships
- Demonstrating your value to prospects
Use your data to improve each activity and, in turn, they’ll start feeding back into your data. The more nuanced your process becomes, the more data you have to refine it further.
Touch-base frequently with your team, using daily, weekly and monthly sales reports, each with their own function:
- Daily Reports. Used to check on the number of tasks performed by reps (calls made, leads generated, etc), making sure they’re on the right track to meet targets. Just make sure you’re not using this time to micromanage your reps.
- Weekly Reports. Gather the whole team together to discuss how they’re progressing with their leads. Rather than dealing with individual performance, this meeting gives you a chance to correct any trends in the wrong direction. It also allows reps to take account for their performance and offer their opinions on how the sales process works or doesn’t.
- Monthly Reports. A macro view of your sales pipeline. Use this report to look at your conversion rate, your overall team performance, likelihood of sales and so on.
- Annual reports. These reports are not only valuable for your team, they can also give other stakeholders in your business insight into your successes and plans.
With this regiment of reporting in place, you’ll have an evolving understanding of all aspects of your data. You’ll regularly be taking the time to see how your data is affecting your sales, giving you a better idea of what actions need to be taken.