The second in a four-part blog series explaining how frictionless selling will help grow your business.
To execute the enablement phase of frictionless selling, you need to analyse two key factors of your inbound sales process:
- How do your salespeople currently spend their time?
- How effective are the tools they use?
Did you know on average most salespeople spend only a third of their day actually selling to clients? With the remainder split between writing emails (21%), entering data (17%), prospecting and researching leads (17%), going to internal meetings (12%), and scheduling calls (12%). By analysing how your salespeople spend their time and making small but relevant changes to their day, you can drive more sales, onboard happier customers, and retain more existing clients.
Likewise, by analysing the various tools your sales teams use to convert prospects to clients and optimise your inbound sales strategy, you can grow your company faster by reducing the time they spend performing inefficient administrative tasks. By asking better questions of the relationship between your current CRM, email, prospecting and reporting tools, you can better decide if the tools at your team’s disposal are helping or hindering their ability to convert more sales through the inbound method. After all, you wouldn't expect a talented joiner to build a beautiful table without his hammer, chisels or screwdrivers. The same applies to your sales professionals. With the correct tools, they can spend less time on sales administration, more time with clients, and ultimately convert more prospects to customers.
To begin making the changes your business needs requires you to ask two important questions of every aspect of your inbound sales process:
- Is this providing value to your leads?
- Why is it taking so much time?
First, your sales reps should only be performing tasks that add value to their leads. Sounds simple, right? But exactly what does and doesn't add value to the sales process can be difficult to decide. For example, are the one-to-one meetings your sales reps have with their direct line manager adding this much-needed value? Well, that depends on what happens in those meetings. If your manager is coaching and training your sales rep to improve their inbound sales performance, then the answer is a clear yes. But if that half-hour is spent discussing generic sales administration? Then probably not so much.
Also, if your sales team are already following a content focussed inbound sales methodology they will already know the value of adding personalised information about prospects to the CRM. However, is manually inputting this data the best use of your sales team’s time? Or could this process potentially be either automated or carried out by a separate administrative team?
There’s no clear answer to these questions as each business is different. But by examining all the tasks completed by your sales teams and attempting to account how they currently spend their time, you will begin to understand what activities can be removed or streamlined to enable more effective lead conversion. But it doesn't end there. Once you’ve both identified and removed all the activities which provide limited value to your leads, you then need to return to those processes left to see if any more improvements can be made elsewhere.
Where to look
One good piece of advice is wherever your sales teams even look like they’re performing data entry, think about automation. For example, if your team send a lot of emails, think about how this time could be better spent if your CRM could send those emails automatically. And while you don’t want to sacrifice the value of personalised contact (remember, frictionless sales is all about putting the customer experience first) even ‘personalised emails’ can be crafted from generic email templates: a streamlining action that will free up your sales team to do what they do best - sell!
Another creative way to improve your inbound sales process is to embed personalised video messages within the email itself using easily integrated video platforms such as Vidyard. After all, most of us can speak faster than we can type, right? And everyone likes to feel important. So imagine the positive impact it will have on prospects if they receive a personalised video message just for them. The benefits? Not only has it taken less time for your sales rep to complete a task but it’s also added value to your client. And while this approach won’t be suitable for every email (especially if it’s written confirmation of quotes, meetings, etc.), for generic client relationship building it can be very effective.
Another area to analyse in the enablement phase of inbound frictionless selling is looking into ‘lost sales'. Are your team losing sales to competitors? To alternate solutions? Maybe your prospects are just deciding not to implement a solution at all? Analysing why and where your teams are missing out on converting prospects into clients will give you a better idea of which additional changes you still need to make to your inbound sales process.
After this analysis, you will likely have a better idea if your team require better-qualified leads overall, access to more information during sales calls, more product training, or even simply just the luxury of being able to spend more time meeting customers face to face. It will allow you to locate, isolate and address all the micro frictions currently creating a bottleneck in your sales process - meaning more sales and faster growth.
Four ways to improve
There are four key metrics you need to measure to see if you have an effectively enabled team:
- The number of tasks required to complete a sale - the fewer the better.
- The time it takes to complete each task - look to drive this number down wherever possible.
- Increasing the time your sales team spend connecting with customers and making sales - you want this to be the majority of your sales team’s day.
- Quota attainment - are steps 1-3 having a positive impact on sales produced? If not, then you haven't found the real sources of friction in your sales process. Time to keep digging. What have you missed?