Question from a reader:
Hi Danilo. What do you look for, when formalizing/systemising a sales process for a small consultancy? For context, we're a team of 7 FTEs.
Thanks for the question. I'd start with a quick reminder: Whatever sales process you decide to adopt, it has to fit both your consultancy's goals and context.
Some boutiques, for example, are led by partners who are highly influential in their space, attracting a lot of inbound interest. Their sales process is, therefore, mostly focused on qualification. They need to ensure prospects are a good fit for the kind of projects they want to sell.
When systemizing your sales process, you should prioritize and start by fixing the most impactful activities. This might be earning trust, demonstrating your expertise, building consensus, dealing with procurement, improving your proposals, and so on. The kind of problems you solve matters as well.
This is not to say that I don't have a method to help consultants formalize the sales process. Of course, micro consultancies (1-2 people) and boutique lifestyle consultancies (3-20 people) have common sales issues and challenges. A sales process for those may include:
- A process to measure and manage the pipeline;
- Scripts for sales conversations, presentations, and workshops;
- Guidance for sharing insights with different kinds of clients;
- A sequence of conversations and commitments required to build trust;
- A process to develop multiple points of contact, meeting other decision makers;
- A discovery process to tailor your proposed solutions and increase win rates;
- A qualification process to avoid investing time and energy in proposals that are unlikely to be won;
- Templates for writing proposals.
Codifying and implementing these items might sound tedious for you, but depending on your context they may be the single limiting factor for your growth. A sales process can easily add 10-30% to your short-term revenue. If your marketing capabilities are in a good state, I urge you to check how you're doing.
The question also reminded me of the importance of systems to support sales. I'll write about it tomorrow.