Building a “Predictable Revenue” Sales Stack – Part II

Nothing happens until someone sells something. Building a “Predictable Revenue” sales stack is all about making the sales process repeatable and scalable. Repeatable means that you can do it over and over with regularity. A repeatable sales model is at the heart of having predictable revenue and a forecastable business. Scalable means that you can build greater and greater sales momentum as you add resources. A good sales stack has to support both repeatability and scalability. There are four steps in this process:

  1. Map out your sales pipeline (or funnel).
  2. Identify the qualifying criteria for each stage in the funnel.
  3. Establish repeatable processes for moving prospects from one stage of the funnel to the next.
  4. Identify key funnel metrics to manage and constantly look to optimize your process to improve them.

Companies that employ these steps will have better results faster than companies who don’t. This is the second in a four-part series of posts. In this post, we’ll learn about qualifying criteria.

All your Spears, Nets and Seeds put prospective deals into your funnel. But where does each deal go? In which stage of the funnel? Is it a subjective exercise, assigning a funnel phase to a deal? It shouldn’t be. Qualifying criteria are the definitions for each stage of the funnel so that we can objectively determine when a deal belongs in a certain stage.

Suspect → Prospect → Contacted → Qualified → Demo → Proposal → Closed

https://www.convertwithcontent.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/content-marketing-sales-funnel.jpg

The definitions, qualifying criteria, and funnel stages are up to you to decide what’s right for your company. In our example we have seven stages:

Funnel Stage         Qualifying Criteria
1. Suspect               A named company that is in the right industry
2. Prospect            (Research identified a need OR an inbound lead) AND we have at least one contact
3. Contacted          Our email or call was answered and the need is confirmed.
4. Qualified           The timing of the deal and decision process is known AND a budget exists
5. Demo                We’ve given a demo with positive feedback; customer preference is confirmed.
6. Proposal           We’ve submitted our proposal; identified the decision makers and mapped their positions
7. Closed               We’ve won the deal! Signed contract or received online payment information.

As you can see, there is a short list of objective criteria for determining into which stage each deal must fall. This is powerful, but wait, there’s more! The same list of qualifying criteria gives us a powerful process for moving deals through the funnel to closing. For example, what shall I do if I’ve just given the customer a product demo? Confirm their preference for our solution over others, of course. I need to do that to satisfy the qualifying criteria for the Demo stage. Otherwise, that deal has to stay in the Qualified stage until I do. You can see how easy it is to define a process to move a deal from Qualified to Demo Complete, for example:

  • Schedule customer demo.
  • Conduct customer demo.
  • Ask for questions and record objections.
  • Confirm customer preference for our solution.

Once these steps are done for a deal, we can move on to the proposal stage, which might have these steps:

  • Map decision makers
  • Confirm customer’s requirements
  • Establish statement of work or deliverables (quantities, timing, etc)
  • Establish pricing proposal
  • Internal review and signoff on proposal
  • Submit to customer
  • Review proposal with customer and ask for questions and record objections with each decision maker.

This example process may not be exactly right for your company or product, but you get the idea. By having a process that’s defined, you are able to establish a sales process. A process that works can be repeated, and scaled because you can train people to conduct it.

In the next post, we’ll talk about the funnel metrics and sales automation tools.