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Mar 01, 2020 Mike Midgley

Sales & Sales Pipeline

Sales & Sales Pipeline

Your Sales Pipeline & The Customer Journey

Think about your sales and sales pipeline strategy, rate it 1-10, are you 100% happy that you have this essential strategy nailed down?

There are so many ways to manage sales, so what is the best way, the best way to construct a sales pipeline? 

Realistically, the starting point is really to split this into two areas as these are two very different disciplines:

      • Your Sales Pipeline 
      • Sales Management [and we will cover this in a separate article]

The biggest mistake that I see people making is in designing their sales pipeline. What I want you to think about is backing that up a step and understanding your customer journey first.

Check Out Skip Miller

The reason for that is that there's a great book out there, and I'm a big fan of this; it is called Proactive Selling by Skip Miller. You can also head over to the Open Mike podcast blog where I interviewed Skip Miller. 

Skip's a New York Bestselling Times author, published in 38 countries, and skip trains companies such as Facebook, Googles sales teams as well as many major corporations. He's like a leading sales consultant. I highly recommend his work; Proactive Selling is a high starting point to understand this further. 

The Differing Views of The Sales Pro & The Buyer

Skip talks about how the buyer sees things and how the salesperson sees things and often, well, they are polar opposites.

  • The sales pro wants to do the deal now
  • The buyer wants to think about it or maybe speak to another vendor

The critical point is if you were just to try and design your sales process, you're creating it from your point of view, what you want to have happened throughout the sales process and that often brushes up and causes friction between you and the client.

Looking at it From The Buyers Point Of View

Doesn't it make much sense to say, "Okay? Now, I understand my persona. I'm dealing with" whether that is: 

  • A legal firm 
  • You might be dealing with B2C consumers
  • Retired couples
  • Teenagers
  • People looking to buy a house

Whatever that demographic, geographic and psychographic is, once you've got that sorted, doesn't it make sense to plot that journey of what they go through from being interested to eventually becoming a client?

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Ask Your Customers!

A great way to learn what your potential clients go through, what's important to them.

Simply Ask! Start by arranging a few interviews with your customers, your best customers and the ones that didn't buy too. Start by asking something like,"

Hey. Talk to me about how did you start thinking about buying our product / service? Or What steps did you go through to become our client?" 

We recommend you interview around 12 clients and from these you'll start to see some common traits of the steps that they take. I'm not saying that these are 100% accurate for everybody, like any variances from industry, product service and price points, there will be a wide range of outcomes however this is an excellent start to adopt.

A Typical Example of A Buyer's Journey Starting With Awareness Stage

  • I'm aware I've got a problem
  • I'm conscious I've got it
  • I might research it online
  • I might seek a recommendation
  • I might go to a specific trade site
  • A regulated service might attract me
  • I have to go through a particular channel
The Consideration Stage

As they move through the section of awareness into consideration, what are the steps they are taking there? 

  • Do they want a webinar? 
  • Do they want a download checklist? 
  • Do they want to touch and feel the product? 
  • Do they want somebody to come out and see them? 

What is that process? What are the steps that they go through?

Finally, once they're aware of the problem, they've considered the options, they've touched and felt it, they've experienced it, they're now convinced.

What social proof do they need at that stage to move them forward into the decision stage?

  • Is that a try before you buy, like a week's free trial before your credit card kicks in if you're an online business? 
  • Is that like a car sale where you maybe do a 48-hour test drive and leave it with them? Then, you negotiate the deal to continue and keep the vehicle afterwards.
  • Is it service such as like what we do in one of our executive or agency sides where you say, "Hey. Let's do this mini-project for you first, so you can see what we do, the type of results and the culture fit that we have before you go full in with us."

The Decision Stage

What do they need to do internally to get that signed off? 

  • Is that yes, I can make the decision? 
  • Is that I need to go to the board and secure budget? 
  • Is that means I need to finance this? 

If you're doing a car, for example, or a house, a mortgage, then there's usually some form of credit agreement, mortgage, finance, lease, contract hire payment, personal lease deal on a car or whatever.

Think about what they're going through. Then, once you understand them, map that out left to right.

Sales and Sales Pipeline Checkout

Talking The Clients Language

You can then start to say,

"What do my sales team need to do? What are my processes?"

There's a great tip that HubSpot quote in their sales pipeline training course and academy, and that is you name the stages of your sales in the client's language.

For example, It's not quote sent, it's quote received. 

Do you see how that works? It's in the client's language.

When they see it in there, your salesmen are thinking, well the customer's got the quote. It's received, or the clients ordered.

I hope you find that welcome and has given you food for thought about structuring your sales pipeline and buyers journey stages to close better deals. I'd love to help and take your questions on it. 

If you leave me your questions below, whether that might be how do I get started with it?

Can you draw this out? Whatever it would be, or I'm stuck at this particular point, what would you call it? 

Then we'd be more than happy to get those questions answered for you. 

Do you need help with your Sales or Sales Pipeline?

As a HubSpot Agency Solutions Partner, we regularly work with companies to improve their sales and sales pipeline, learn more about how we can help you improve your sales teams ability to prospect and close deals with Inbound Sales.

Ready to speak with an Inbound Sales expert?

Our team are on hand to discuss your goals and provide you with impartial advice along with pro tips. Set up a no-obligation Inbound Sales call with our team today.

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Published by Mike Midgley March 1, 2020
Mike Midgley