The sales process looks a little bit different at every company, but two common threads exist between all of them. First, sales needs support from marketing in order to succeed (and vice versa). Second, the goal is to move prospects along a certain path until they become customers, and then keep them. Whether your revenue is struggling, your sales and marketing teams are squabbling or you’re facing another indication that the process is broken, improving sales might be a high priority for you. Here’s how to conduct a sales process audit that will help you heal the rifts, fill the gaps and make sure your sales process is ready for new business.
Why An Audit?
All too often, we get stuck in the status quo. It happens to the best of us, and it’s easy to see why. But we can’t let the busy nature of our day-to-day consume us so much that we never pause to look at the big picture. Even an informal audit can help you do exactly this. It lets you look at something in your business (in this case, the sales process) and identify what’s working well and what isn’t. Ultimately? It makes you better. And who couldn’t use a little bit of that?
There are a wide variety of kinds of audits, but we prefer to keep it as simple and attainable as possible. The best kind, in our opinion, is one that involves reviewing sales and marketing data, in both quantitative and qualitative forms. Then, analyzing that data and making actionable plans to improve upon it. Easy peasy, right? Here’s how to start.
1. Organizational data.
First, look at the big picture. Fundamentally, sales and marketing exist to bring money into the business. This part of the audit serves to help you determine if both departments are doing that, so you want to look for metrics like pipeline generated and revenue generated. You can also look at stats around customer retention (and attrition), which will indicate how well the company as a whole is doing with keeping the customers you’ve already won.
2. Sales rep data.
Next, gather information about your sales team specifically. Look at metrics like revenue by territory and/or market, deals closed, and lifetime value of customers. This is quantitative data. For best results, pair this with qualitative data, like via interviews with your sales team. Ask them about their processes. What do they do when marketing sends them a hot lead? What content or collateral do they share with prospects at each stage of the funnel? How do they feel about their close rate? Their feedback may give additional context to red flags or trends you see in the data, helping you understand the bigger sales picture even more.
3. Customer data.
By this point, you will have already reviewed some quantitative customer data, like around retention and lifetime value. But in this step, it’s also time to gather qualitative data. Call your customers. Ask them what they thought about the sales process. Was anything lacking? Was anything exceptional? Then, see if you can track down prospects who didn’t convert into customers. These people are just as important to interview and can often shed more insight into your sales process since they didn’t end up completing the buyer journey.
After you’ve gathered all this data, it’s time to compile and analyze it. Look for patterns, especially those that indicate areas of opportunity. For example, you might find your pipeline needs to have more potential prospects or they need to be larger potential clients, and then see that your sales reps mentioned they need better collateral to share with prospects in the later stages of the customer journey. If you talk to prospects who never became customers, you might learn they were confused by your product or service or didn’t feel its value was communicated adequately. All of this data together paints a very clear picture: marketing needs to help sales by creating targeted content that can be shared at critical points of the buyer journey.
A sales process audit like this takes time, but it’s imperative to do in order to improve. If you’re investing heavily into marketing and trying to bring in new customers, but the sales process falls flat, you’ll lose all that effort and time. Instead, refine the sales process based on your audit – and watch as you see a snowball effect on customer conversion, revenue and retention. Any questions? We can help you conduct this audit or with other marketing and sales questions and strategies. Give us a call!