Last week we discussed why your company needs to improve its sales results and how to begin by mapping your sales processes to uncover your actual Current State so you know what needs to be improved. Many companies are familiar with Lean tools like process mapping in their customer fulfillment processes, we are simply using the same tools to map sales processes.
By following this process, you will have generated a map of your sales processes that looks something like the following table:
Projecting Your Improved Future State
When you have actually measured how your company is performing and have accurate data, you can begin projecting an improved future state. Ask yourself the tough questions about which stages in your process are the most important ones to improve because they are constraining your results. These are your sticking points or bottlenecks and should be your first priorities for improvement.
Here’s an example of the same table with stages identified for improvement and what the improvement goal might looks like:
In this example,the first stage has been identified as the constraint and the first opportunity for improvement. This stage is focused at converting Suspects to Prospects and it is typically one of the best places to start with improving your company’s sales results. You can see from the table what the results might be if this stage were improved from 10% to 15% efficiency, which is a 50% increase in results. If you improve the results of this stage and every other stage remains the same your total results could be improved dramatically, with the potential to increase bookings from 4 to 6. A few of the tasks you might consider to improve the Suspects to Prospects stage are:
- Improve your target marketing to uncover those companies that have similarities to your current best customers so you can tailor your marketing message specifically to their needs.
- Hire an experienced Lead Qualification contractor that will generate better results than your internal people typically can deliver. However, be very selective when choosing a Lead Qualification contractor, ask for and check references and make sure you understand all costs.
- Assign one internal person to be responsible for this stage End to End, meaning this person is responsible for the entire process, managing any contractors and will be measured on their results.
Now take this example and make it real in your company and with your team. Identify what the #1 constraint is in your world and develop a Future State map using a table similar to the one above.
Next week we’ll discuss managing this process and continually improving it.
Charlie Alter owns Bentbrook Advisors LLC based in Sylvania, Ohio. He specializes in Growth Strategy, Innovation and Coaching and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org visit http://bentbrookadvisors.com/ for more information on his business advisory practice.