Each month at 'Box Lunch, we meet with clients and friends to talk shop, hear fresh perspectives from 'Boxers on timely topics...and, yes, eat lunch together! This month Elizabeth Heil, our Production Manager, took the lead and gave a peek into our sales process, which has undergone a lot of changes in the past year. It’s no secret we have to sell our services just like every other business, but it’s not everyday that a company is willing to share exactly how they do it.
We started with a group share of big sales wins – which weren’t necessarily the biggest dollar amounts, but were often personal victories, proving sometimes working with a really great client who may not be the biggest spender can be the most rewarding. The biggest hurdle when talking about sales is getting past the negative connotations associated with “used car salesmen.” As Zig Ziglar once said, “Stop selling. Start Helping.” That’s where SmallBox likes to land – we know that not everyone that walks through our doors is going to be a great fit, but we strive to create a great experience and help them find the right path.
How To Create a Great Sales Experience
First, we made a conscious effort to map our entire sales process. We found lack of consistency was hurtful, so we began by determining where our leads came from and setting up:
- a standard for first contact,
- a list of questions to ask each prospect,
- and guidelines for raising a "red flag."
Then, we established two paths a prospect can take, "Good Fit" and "Refer to Network." For those who just aren’t right for SmallBox, we utilize our robust network of referral partners to determine who might be best for their project. When a prospect is a good fit, we internally plan agendas for the official sales meeting, meeting roles (i.e. "note taker", "facilitator"), and write a prospect brief summing up the initial conversation (to be shared with the team). Of course, there are nuances specific to each project, but we try to stick to this roadmap every time.
Another way we strive to create a great experience reflects one of our core values, “Be Curious.” Basically, this means asking lots of questions in order to understand a potential client's business and specific needs. This allows us to come back with a unique solution, a matching service that is tailored to their business.
Creating a Positive Sales Environment
Another way we improved our sales process this year is something the client may never actually see. We’ve worked hard to create a positive sales environment within SmallBox, working to promote synergy between our sales team and producers. We talk about prospective clients at our Monday lunches, ask everyone to contribute to the sales process and help identify creative ways we can “close” the deal. We regularly discuss where our prospects are at in the sales pipeline, and even include producers in some sales meetings to help determine scope and eliminate over-promising and under-delivering.
A Unique Follow-Up
Of course, no sales process would be complete without the follow-up! During a recent Factory Week, we created our Digital Leave Behind (DLB), which is a visual re-cap of our first face-to-face sales meeting. It includes:
- what was heard during the meeting,
- next steps,
- SmallBox team member bios,
- and relevant content.
It also allows a prospect to share their unique DLB with colleagues and decision-makers who weren’t able to attend. The DLB helps us control the tempo of the sales process and track the activity in Google Analytics.
However, if the sales process has been in a holding pattern for quite some time, we’ve also utilized follow up as a means to "Get to the No,” so we can move prospects through our pipeline and out of the follow up loop. A firm no can be just as useful as a yes!
Have you updated your sales process recently? What did you discover, change, or improve?