Most sales professionals, even those on the cutting-edge of inbound, are used to looking at sales as a funnel.
As leads go from Awareness to Consideration to Decision, they take actions that qualify them and clarify their needs. In the end, a final sales conversation results in a deal.
But there are drawbacks: This doesn’t address how friction slows sales down or how to fix it.
Enter the flywheel methodology developed by HubSpot.
In flywheel thinking, delivering value to a customer is an ongoing effort many teams contribute momentum to. That momentum can continue to build and build – turning customers into excited advocates – as long as friction is removed from each phase of the process.
How can you squirt some WD-40 on your sales process and get them moving faster?
There are internal and customer-facing elements to the challenge. Let’s have a look.
Inside Your Office
1. Equip Your Team With a Great CRM Suite (and Use It!).
Bumbling around in the dark is the polar opposite of a frictionless process. Unfortunately, if you don’t have the data you need to make informed decisions, you’ll often end up getting lost.
The way to avoid those detours is to deploy a customer relationship management (CRM) suite that gives you full visibility into where leads are. You’ll learn what content appeals to them, which steps in the process are a walk in the park, and which ones rub leads the wrong way.
Want a slick solution that’s robust, yet easy to use? Try the free HubSpot CRM.
2. Be Sure Everyone Is On the Same Page With Sales Goals.
Sales goals evolve over time and so do your means of reaching them.
Your sales processes should match your strategy, equipping you to pursue the right leads in the right ways using the right platforms. This starts with clarity on goals that should exist from day one.
Here are three powerful ways to achieve this clarity:
- Create a customized onboarding process for new sales team members.
- Integrate collaboration into your sales process with tools like Slack.
- Communicate regularly about sales goals and celebrate your successes.
With Other Teams
1. Clarify Your Sales Qualification Process to Your Marketing Team.
Your sales process goes a lot more smoothly if leads qualify themselves, right?
So, why aren’t they doing it?
Leads have plenty of opportunities to seamlessly self-qualify as they explore your galaxy of web content. Progressive profiling lets them volunteer details that accumulate over time. To make that happen, though, you need to let others in on the secrets of your process:
- Your web team needs to ensure touch points are equipped with easy, effective forms.
- Your marketing team needs to craft content that will motivate leads to fill them out.
The classic example of an opt-in form that gathers useful info is your email subscriber signup. Most B2B enterprises use this to distinguish run of the mill visitors from marketing qualified leads (MQLs).
By communicating qualification requirements, you can keep the spirit up.
2. Provide Your Unique Customer Insights to Other Teams Regularly.
Marketing teams gather insights about leads through top-level, strategic marketing research, but it’s sales pros who get to see day to day changes in how they think – and have to turn on a dime.
Sometimes, leads and customers will leave you saying, “I never thought of that!”
Whenever that happens – be it a new objection, a request, or just an observation about how your products work – pass that info to the marketing team. It’s the perfect fuel for awesome content!
With Your Customers
1. Make Following Up a Priority.
Many times, leads go dark not only because of friction in your sales process but because their needs and goals are unclear. Your CRM will tell you when leads spiral to a stop.
You can get them on track by helping them see their challenges from a new perspective – whether that means going over their thought process with them or simply sending helpful content.
It may take anywhere from three to 12 follow-ups to reach a sale. Persistence counts!
2. Collect Social Proof.
Social proof is that all-important evidence that helps leads feel confident in your brand.
It takes the form of statements and stories from real customers – others “just like them” – who have had success with you in the past. Written testimonials, no matter how long or short, can accelerate your sales process by reducing the risk weighing on leads’ minds.
As a sales pro, you’ll often have the opportunity to hear an offhand positive comment about your products. Whether that comes from a new or established customer, point the way to submit an “official” testimonial. Your future sales process will be better for it.
What’s your favorite way to bust sales process friction? Tell us below!