One of two things usually happen when small businesses are ready to scale. The company hires too quickly, spending resources on ill-fitting employees or the company restricts growth by not investing in the right people and technology.
High growth is an exciting period for any business owner, but sustainable business growth for means developing a scaling strategy.
Ideally, you’ll find a way to scale sales that provides a strong foundation aligned with your business plan. Your scaling strategy should support your rapid growth, revenue targets and business model.
In this article, we’ll cover how to scale your business with five steps to a better sales process. Learn about scaling sales while meeting ever-increasing revenue growth targets and keeping morale high.
1. Develop a clear, repeatable sales process
Whether you’re a solo-entrepreneur or a SaaS team ready to grow, before you begin hiring new reps, you need a repeatable sales process in place.
If you don’t have a process outlined, then you’ll find your scaling sales progress hard to measure and track.
You also need accurate data to make informed decisions. If you can’t tell what’s working and what’s a bottleneck, you’re really just making educated guesses on how to allocate your sales time efficiently.
To know how you’re doing, you’re going to need a simple, structured and repeatable process that helps all reps understand exactly what they need to do to succeed.
Mandy Cole is the former VP of Sales at Zenefits who’s built and scaled sales teams at several companies including LivingSocial, MyNewPlace, Main Street Hub, Stella & Dot and Citysearch. Mandy has seen too many companies hire salespeople and expect them to just “figure it out” on their own. In an interview, she explained:
A sales process helps prioritize opportunities. A lack of process frustrates your salespeople and burns unnecessary energy.
Your process should be accessible enough that new hires on your sales team can jump into their new role and know what activities they need to complete to add value and hit revenue targets straight away.
Here are four components every documented sales process should include:
Activities salespeople should take at each stage of your pipeline
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2. Choose an activity-based model
As a sales leader at a growing business, results and data are important, but focusing on those alone isn’t productive.
Instead, focus on what you can manage and what does impact results: your team’s activities. Optimize your sales process and tweak the flow of activities your team needs to complete in an effort to continually maximize sales.
You should be able to plug a rep right into an activity-based sales model and start seeing results almost immediately. An activity-based selling model helps eliminate confusion over their role and how they execute their tasks.
Here are a few more reasons why the activity-based selling philosophy works for companies looking to scale up fast.
When salespeople (especially new reps) worry about their targets, they often panic and diverge from a set sales process in an attempt to hit their numbers.
Activity-based selling keeps reps focused on what they should be doing in the present, versus feeling the pressure of hitting future quarterly revenue targets.
As you scale sales, or any part of a company, it can be difficult to keep team members aligned. If every rep starts using their own, unique process, you’ll find it harder to track and consequently, optimize performance across the business.
When everyone focuses on the same activities, you can easily measure and monitor your sales process as your organization expands, without having to constantly check in on new reps.
If your newest team members are successfully completing their activities, you know the process is scalable. If not, you can pinpoint the faulty areas of your process.
If one rep alone is struggling, there’s a good chance it’s not your process at fault. You can help that rep with individual sales training, mentoring or a specific performance improvement plan.
Rejection is inevitable in sales. A looming revenue target without a plan to achieve it can be emotionally daunting. Sales team morale is incredibly important if you want to scale your sales. This is especially key for reps who are taking their first steps into this challenging career.
Activity-based selling provides clarity and specificity, two key ingredients for confidence. If new hires focus on what is in their control (achievable tasks), results will come. Even after a particularly rough sales call, reps will know exactly how to jump back into the game.
3. Find the right CRM to scale up
The bigger your company grows, the more time that basic admin eats into your team’s bandwidth. The solution is a sales CRM that helps you automate time-consuming tasks. If you can eliminate as much administrative work as possible, your team can focus on selling.
If your team sees your CRM as difficult to use or navigate, you’ll end up with inaccurate or even non-existent data. This throws your tracking, forecasting and reporting into chaos. Clean, accurate and easily accessible data is essential to help you draw better insights to inform your business strategy.
CRM pricing varies on functionality. Establish your sales and internal processes so you know exactly what you need (e.g. integration and data reporting capabilities) and what sort of investment to expect.
Here are some questions to ask before making a CRM purchase:
Are most new hires going to be comfortable using your CRM?
Is onboarding reps on new technology going to be time intensive?
How complex is your sales pipeline?
Can your CRM scale with your business?
Does your CRM offer any additional features to help align other departments (e.g. email marketing automation)?
Does your CRM offer automation to reduce admin time? Is it easy to set this up?
If you want to integrate your tech stack, does your CRM have the capacity to work with other tools?
When you’re working with a small sales team at a startup or small business, you can check in with each of your reps personally. You can ask them what they did today, how certain prospects are progressing through the pipeline and where they’re struggling.
This is a simple, high-quality approach to managing a small team, but it’s difficult to scale; you can’t personally check in with 30 salespeople every day.
When you have a CRM that helps your salespeople easily and automatically log their daily activities, you know what everyone on each team has been doing.
Fortunately, you can give managers a clear and accurate picture of performance without having to hound your reps for updates.
The Teams feature gives you a quick, visual overview of each teams’ sales activities and performance. You can monitor the performance of one salesperson, one team or multiple teams in one convenient, visual snapshot.
You can see who may be stuck on a prospect that’s unlikely to buy or if someone fails to consistently follow up. And you know which team is constantly struggling at the final stage of their deals.
You can also spotlight teams and reps who are dominating in this area and find out what’s working to double down on their success.
5. Stay aligned with customer success
While you’re focused on activities, don’t lose track of the big picture and what happens after you make the sale. If your sales team is not aligned with the marketing and customer success teams, you lose an important opportunity to provide feedback on the quality of the leads your team is getting.
You also lose an opportunity to hear feedback from new customers about the sales and buying process.
The sales reps’ experience on the front lines can provide marketing and customer success with valuable feedback from leads. This can be used to inform marketing copy and content marketing on LinkedIn, social media, webinars and podcasts (your company’s own or as a guest on someone else’s).
What’s more, you can provide this insight in real time to marketing, versus investing in expensive customer research that takes months.
Your scalability relies on establishing a repeatable sales process, focusing on activities that achieve goals versus the goals themselves, supportive technology and continuously optimizing.
The steps above are simply a framework and starting point to help you sustainably scale your fast-growing organization. You can use your own research, data and insight to tailor them according to your unique business needs.
Find more of the best leads fast with your lead qualification ebook
Learn how to find more of the right leads faster. This 22-page ebook will help you build a scalable lead qualification process for your team.
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