Building a sales process for generating new customers in a B2B sales environment can actually be broken down in to a number of smaller processes.
Each of these processes is a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end result. By connecting the successful results from each preceding process as the beginning of the next one, a successful predictable, repeatable B2B sales system can be created. The diagram shows how each of the processes are connected and the following list describes each of them.
The beginning of any sale is a lead. A lead is someone that might be interested in buying what you have to sell. Where do your leads come from? Do you have a predictable, repeatable process for generating leads? Do you go to tradeshows, do you cold call, do you have a form on your website, do you advertise, do you have referral sources? All of these can be an integral part of setting up your lead generation process. The successful result from this process is usually a name, phone number or email address.
This step of your B2B sales system is a distinctly different process than lead generation and should be considered independent of the actual sales part of the system. The lead qualification process starts with a name and a number of a prospect and applies some set of qualifying criteria against that lead to determine whether that lead should be progressed forward to a Sales person or sent to a Nurture campaign, or disposed of entirely. Tools for lead qualification include qualification criteria and questions. The right answers to those questions should mean you have a qualified lead and it should move in to the selling process, the wrong answers to the qualifying questions could mean you have a dead lead or one that should go to the nurturing process.
Lead Nurturing is a process that involves sharing information with prospects with the intention of moving them toward a sale. Many times prospects may not have enough information about your product or even your category of product to buy from you. It is up to you to provide them with the knowledge that they need to become a real buyer. There may also be things that only the customer can solve like timing or budget. Your nurturing process should include tools and resources to help prospects move through this phase and re-qualify them in and hopefully move them into the selling process.
This is the actual part of the sale cycle where the sale takes place. This generally involves some sort of needs analysis and solution design as well as a proposal or bid and the eventual negotiation and closing of the sale.
Post Sales Process
Once the contract is signed the work is rarely finished. Once the customer has signed off to work with you, you generally will have to communicate with many other departments for a series of set-up actions with them. This might include a fulfillment process such as billing and shipping a product, or for services it might involve the actual delivery of the services. For most businesses this is where Operations spends a majority of their time.
This is an often overlooked part of the sales cycle but is a very important process to master. This process is one where you take a customer and turn them in to repeat customer, or turn them in to a referral source for future business therefore connecting the end of your sales cycle back with the beginning in the form of more new leads.
Processes are one of the 5 Building Blocks of Culture and are a critical component to building a Culture of Productivity. These are 6 processes that you should work on mastering to create a predictable, scalable customer acquisition strategy for your business.
How “good” are your processes in your customer acquisition system? PlanPlus Online is an all-in-one Sales Marketing and Operating productivity system that can help you create the system pictured here. Please contact your account manager or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.