Congrats. You're ready to start selling!
Marketing goals and objectives have been thoroughly explained and delegated. Your sales team and their reps are ready to get cracking! You put your feet up and let them do their magic.
And then a month passes.
You check in with your team, hoping for some stellar, brag-worthy conversion reports. But all you get are some suggestions for a few website changes and a proposal to change the company's logo!
Cue panic attack. This CANNOT be happening.
Where are my brag-worth conversion reports, damnit!
After quelling your panic and reining in your frustration, it hits you:
Did I walk them through the sales process steps? Are they aware of the entire sales process?
Whoops. Well, this is embarrassing.
When reps don't know the sales process steps, a conversion rate angel loses its wings. And this lack of knowledge is a common sales process mistake that your sales rep may be making.
So, if you're expecting sales growth but are overwhelmed with choosing the right ways to do it, we're here to help.
Sound fun? It sure is, amigo. Let's get started!
Meet a Customer's Needs With Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is now every business's go-to for the latest trends, news, and updates for optimizing the sales process and obtaining robust conversion rates.
Meeting your customers' needs by accessing the best digital marketing techniques anywhere, anytime, with anyone is an essential step to turbo-charging your business growth.
With the right digital marketing techniques and strategies, your brand will obtain increased visibility online, and ensure that more people (and paying customers) see you!
In addition, mobile devices, smartphones, apps, and other channels help connect you to potential clients and your target audience.
Result? More sales, bruv.
How do you know who's a member of your target audience?
Your target audience is the individuals or entities most likely to become your customers. These are the people who fit the profile for the type of person who would most like your brand and purchase your offerings.
All sales managers should know how to identify the brand's target audience and put all their marketing efforts into making those particular individuals notice and purchase the deliverables you are offering.
Inbound marketing, social media marketing, and other digital platforms make your agency more public and accessible and are used to attract and engage your audience.
At first, your target audience might be on the small side. But once you determine who you're selling to, you can find additional digital marketing avenues for expanding your reach and tapping into more audiences who will convert into profitable customers.
Mapping Out Your Sales Process
The road to customer success is not a smooth-sailing one. There will be bumps and many obstacles along the way. But with the help of a standardized sales process, you can get your sales team going and your revenue increasing.
So how will your agency go from here to there?
Sales process flowchart guide
We've come up with this Sales Process Flowchart Guide, where we discuss the various steps of a sales process and tips in building a sales strategy with a handy-dandy sales flowchart!
Sales reps and project managers, rejoice for your life is about to get easier.
All right, here's an example of an actual flowchart:
As you can see, this flowchart is broken up into small chunks of tasks that comprise all the necessary sales process steps.
The sections are also categorized into various shapes and colors to differentiate processes, subprocesses, and decisions. Arrows point out the direction of the next stage, while documentation is often indicated to put into writing the activities performed in a specific step.
Overall, the sales process flowchart is composed of 7 steps:
- Sourcing leads
- Contacting new leads
- Determining the sales cycle
- Creating and preparing sales collateral
- Taking note of questions and arguments
- Closing deals
- Caring for current clients
Now that you can see in a visual representation what the sales process looks like, the next step is to create a sales process that works for your business.
How to Create an Agency Sales Process and Get Results in 7 Steps
Step 1: Source Your Leads
Leads must have specific demographic attributes your target customers most likely to find your products or services of interest.
So, to get to your leads, you need to get the target market right.
All right, but how do you figure out those specific demographic attributes?
Get your sales team to check on prospecting and qualifying the target audience and create marketing projects to generate their demographic information.
Then, place them in a secure, organized database like a Customer Relationship Management or CRM, and track your leads' engagement, interactions, and updates on contact numbers and demographic location.
A CRM can also monitor customer relationships and evaluate whether they are quality leads.
Other than this, you also need to make sure your product or service offered has undergone a product-market fit. Or at the very least, the presence of strong demand in the market today.
Another factor is the price tolerance of the offered product or service. This is the amount buyers are still willing to pay for your offering, instead of selecting another competitor's product or service.
Step 2: Contact and Qualify New Leads
Understanding how to qualify new leads is critical for knowing whether or not your agency has a quality group of leads or if you need to reevaluate your existing lead generation strategy.
Here are a few factors to consider when sorting the quality leads wheat from the chaff.
Stakeholders are people or entities with a vested interest in your company's success. They understand they are affected if the company fails, so they do everything to keep it thriving.
There are influential stakeholders, investors, internal stakeholders like employees, and external stakeholders like suppliers and trade associations. Your company stakeholders can all create a change in the agency's overall marketing strategy and educate and empower people with the strategy's effectiveness.
Lead generation is straightforward when individuals see you as an authority or if they know you are knowledgeable, especially when it comes to addressing their needs.
Also, holding an authoritative position also gives you the power to sway purchasing decisions without being seen as an aggressive salesperson or a retail dictator.
On the other end of the spectrum, having leads that engage with your business because they find your brand authoritative will ultimately expedite the sales process. That is, IF your sales reps properly pitch those leads!
An authority figure for many businesses is the finance manager, budget consultant, or the business owner.
When your leads immediately need what you're currently offering, then you're in luck. A thirsty man in the desert won't give you no side-eye when you offer him a glass of cold water for five grand.
Basically, if your leads have an immediate, urgent need for your products, they're not going to think twice about buying.
But most likely, you're not offering an essential, urgent item. So, the entire sales process is going to take a bit longer. In lieu of this, marketing managers and sales reps must ask leads certain questions to determine how quickly the individual is likely to buy and exactly where they are in the buyer's journey.
- What are your challenges right now?
- Is it worth it to you to spend money to overcome those challenges?
- How much money? What's your budget?
- How soon do you need to solve your problems?
Keep in mind though that leads, whether quality or not, can also refer your agency to someone they know who needs your services.
Also in the future, the need for your services may arise. So leads you've already engaged and conversed with are more likely to remember you and contact you for help.
The point is to open the dialogue with anyone who has raised their hand, and keep that dialogue open for the lead's future needs.
Leads are often bound by a timeline or a specific period that either hinders or allows them to turn from a lead into a profitable customer.
Whether the challenges they face can be solved right now or not, they face other problems whose answers your products or services cannot provide.
This may be more important to them, so they put purchasing from you on hold for the meantime.
It is also important to note that when contacting leads, you don't want to just ask a few questions so you can tick off some arbitrary boxes.
The point of talking to leads is to actively listen and understand their needs, wants, goals, and challenges to create and offer suitable products and services.
This takes us to the next step:
Step 3: Determine the sales cycle
Having sourced and qualified your leads, determining how you will engage them is the next step in the sales process.
One of the sales process steps includes having specific touch points in the sales cycle. touch points are the type of encounters you have with prospective buyers.
A touch point in the sales cycle might not always take the form of directly talking to a lead. In some instances, a touch point might be an action your sales or marketing reps take to get your in front of quality leads.
- In today's digital, always on-screen world, a sales touchpoint can be something like:
- A website query
- An email subscription
- Question on a transaction
Most touch points occur on handheld devices like a mobile phone connected to the internet. However, some leads still prefer the traditional route with face-to-face interactions or coffee dates. If possible, a good mix of both digital and traditional touch points is ideal.
Additionally, a touchpoint can also be sales calls like a warm or scheduled call. Or a discovery call with a lukewarm lead that lets you know more about a potential buyer after they've indicated they want to learn more about your brand.
Email follow-ups can also be touch points that can boost the approach stage of the sales process.
After a successful discovery call, assign leads to a contact or account manager to personally manage and check on their status and follow up with them confidently.
Step 4: Create sales collateral
The real work may start with sourcing leads. But the creative part of preparing a presentation for them is also a project.
A presentation of sales collateral includes introducing yourself, your brand, and unique offerings. This step is a make or break for you and an opportunity to say something about what you do and what customers love about your business.
Some common forms of sales collateral include:
- Capabilities decks — These are visual presentations for investors. You flash visuals while you talk about your agency's growth and where it's heading.
- Proposals— Proposals are documents which outline your proposed solution to a specific client.
- Sales decks— These are presentations for prospective clients that need convincing to commit to a purchase.
- Sales sheets — Sales sheets are flyers or a one-pager that discuss the customer's challenges and the solutions your product or service offers.
- Contracts— The written agreement between the buyer and the agency.
Sales collateral helps you convey the benefits and advantages potential clients will get when they start working with you. Collateral is a storytelling guide for your clients to help them grasp and deepen their understanding of your organization.
Step 5: Document Questions and Objections
One of the unavoidable steps in the sales process is facing obstacles and handling objections. You're talking to a person with a brain, remember? They're going to ask questions and have some concerns you'll need to overcome if you want to make them a client.
So, marketing managers and sales reps must know how to deal with concerns the potential client may raise, pain points from investors, and questions from prospects. The challenge here is to act under pressure.
Easiest way to do that? Acknowledge the questions and objections and present specific solutions to objections, questions, and concerns.
Many managers and sales reps will just nod their heads during a presentation and forget what they are nodding for, but this should not be the case. Take time to jot down as many questions as possible and not just rely on memory on portions of the pitch or the agreement that need clarifying.
This way, the potential client knows you're engaged and determined to win their YES(es) at the end of the day.
Step 6: Close the Deal! And track metrics
After gracefully answering the prospects' concerns, now's your time to shine and close that deal.
First, negotiate with the revised conditions and terms and let them know you're willing to agree.
Next, steer them in the direction of having a done deal.
Ask about their review and payment process and the timeline that goes along with it.
Next, confirm details like invoices, contract finalization, and endorsement with the sales operation team.
The last sales process step of onboarding and tracking clients is just around the corner for a project manager.
Why is it important to also track metrics after closing the deal?
Sales metrics monitor your agency's progress. They allow you to see exactly who and what marketing techniques are working.
Accessing and analyzing this critical data allows you to reassessing the current sales process to see if it is still suitable for your business's needs or needs updating.
Sales metrics also tell you about the customer and how advantageous they are to your agency's bottom line. Obtain reports on relevant sales or marketing agency processes like the sales conversion rate, customer lifetime value, and customer retention rate.
Step 7: Continue Nurturing Customers
The sales process doesn't end once your lead becomes a prospect and then a paying customer.
Customer success lies in your ability to retain existing clients and open an opportunity for cross-selling other related products or services. Or up selling the existing ones that they have previously purchased.
Customer success isn't all about obtaining bigger and better profits. It's also about offering something of value to foster a deeper relationship.
Keep in mind that customers want to be constantly taken care of and treated like kings and queens. So constant check-in with the client creates a great aftersales approach.
Days after the purchase, check in with clients to know if they're content. Check in again a few weeks after purchase for issues or concerns.
Months after the purchase, check in with the client again to see if they're still happy with their purchase and if they are, then ask for a referral. They're more likely to give one if they're satisfied!
Optimizing Your Marketing Agency Sales Process
Refine Your Sales Process Continuously
Now that you've created a suitable sales process for yourself, implement it with your marketing agency and test it. Again and again.
Give yourself one chance, and if you're not happy with it, tweak it according to the reports from your marketing team. Measure the results again and fine-tune the sales process steps to improve the weaker parts that need improving.
Some questions to ask:
- Is my outbound sales working for me?
- Do my social channels target content creation for new clients?
- Will expansion to one platform level up my content marketing and close more deals?
- Is my marketing budget enough for current client work?
If you're ready to max your revenue and optimize your sales process, ScaleTime is here for your agency.
Know what you're selling, understand your goals and define your metrics, delegate sales and track your sales process progress with our Sales Toolkit.
Align Your Sales Process with the Buyer's Journey
Pushing for sales and hard-selling is now a thing of the past. Likewise, sales tactics that aren't based on the buyer's needs are no longer as effective as they once were.
For success in today's world, you've gotta align the sales process with the buyer's journey.
A buyer's journey is the path people take when making a purchase.
Even when if you're looking at an impulse buy, the client still silently undergoes the process of becoming aware, considering, and deciding to purchase.
This journey challenges sales reps to better understand the buyer's needs and know when to influence their thinking and decision-making at the right time with the tactics that will have the most impact.
The buyer's journey is composed of 3 stages:
1. Awareness stage — This is where the buyer acknowledges or recognizes they've got a problem.
Help the client. This is the stage where you inform and educate clients but not in a pushy way. Instead, provide them with the resources that can help them.
2. Consideration stage — This is when the buyer thinks about and contemplates the options they have to solve the problem.
Make clients understand how your products and services solve their problems. Studying how competitors affect buyers at this stage will also help gauge how you can successfully influence their perception.
3. Decision stage — This is the stage where the buyer decides and selects the answer to the problem
Clarify any objections they might have to make your selling position unique. Assist buyers in selecting and choosing the right product and service for their needs.
Once the marketing team understands the buyer's journey and behavior at certain places in it, it becomes much easier to incorporate the sales process, influence their decision, and select the right product or service for them.
To optimize the process, measure the results of the implemented steps.
- Who are the prospects that moved to the next stage of the sales process?
- What has made them move to the next step?
- What can you do to improve these numbers?
Set benchmarks for conversions if you're the founder, so they know what to hit when you bring on a sales team. Check on your competition's performance and identify which areas you are good at and which areas to improve.
Always make the sales metrics visible to the sales team. This will create transparency and help motivate and inspire the sales team members in their performance, enhance their production, and design better sales strategies.
Sales Process vs. Sales Methodology
As one of the final notes, remember not to confuse the sales process with sales methodology. These are concepts commonly interchanged but are separate yet related sales concepts.
The sales process is the steps and tasks needed to acquire new clients and close more deals. The sales process steps are the what of the sales team.
On the other hand, the sales methodology is the how or the framework that makes up sales processes and techniques. Sales methodology is the driving force behind recognizing a marketing agency's need to expand through sales.
Also, it's essential to consider the perfect methodology that works well with your sales team. This will significantly impact the sales process and attract and retain profitable clients.
Not all clients are quality clients, and not all marketing strategies will work in your favor.
Therefore, it is essential to consider carefully planning the sales process steps, using appropriate sales methodology, reviewing and assessing key performance indicators, and improving the entire marketing agency sales process to build strong relationships with your leads, prospects, existing and new customers.
- Pinpoint your qualified lead demographics
- Identify your target market and create marketing materials that resonate with your target audience
- Determine your specific sales cycle
- Map the buyer's journey, and create sales collateral to close the deal
- Track your metrics. Analyze, optimize, and repeat
Get quality sales with our Streamlined Sales Process for marketing agencies and watch your digital marketing agency grow and take on new heights!
Contact us today to learn more.