Recently, I was doing some sales automation consultant work designing a workflow, and it got messy.
“Messy” in this case means “ambiguous”, and that ambiguity in a sales workflow costs time and performance, since it then means reps leave leads in “stalled” status, unclear as to what, precisely, to do.
“Stall Status” is as important in sales automation
as is zero in base 10 mathematics.
By distinctly clarifying, we can help engineer success, and create a platform for useful, powerful, and effective sales automation. Below is a series of steps that may help you work with any sales automation consultant – and these are not respective to any tool.
Paper & Pen is the best tool here.
And a few colored highlighters.
- First, map the steps of your general sales flow from “prospect” or “suspect” – someone who you think is a good match, but may have not even raised their hand and said they’re interested, through to paid, closed and referring you business as a raving fan.
- Add in the possible outcomes (i.e. left voicemail, and thus trigger a loop to call back 3x or 5x or 20x), also things like interested or not interested, need to sell an additional stakeholder (i.e. wife, husband, biz partner)
- Separate previous-dispositions from the next steps. In Swift CRM‘s configuration files, we have “stall status” as one possible outcome – file does not advance, client didn’t answer phone, didn’t review proposal, etc., so that disposition then triggers a loop – call back in a few days or pre-scheduled time. Currently, our CRM / sales automation software is configured on
- Next Steps – General steps to the sale – i.e. initial call, needs assessment, product-needs fit, verbal commit, paperwork, closed transaction, etc.
- “Stall Status” – some outcome happened that did not advance the file i.e. left voicemail. This is an outcome, but needs to be tracked – but it stalls the sale. Frankly, stalled sales is why you need a CRM, but it’s usually part of the game for any sale over a few hundred dollars.
- Simple “goto” style commands – if the prospect got the proposal, is she qualified and interested? Stuck on price? Ready to apply? If you don’t know your best next step, your sales reps have to slow down and invent their own flow. Our XML is simple logic like “goto 200”, but you just need to always clarify what is the next step. If there is no next step, then it’s move on to the next deal, or work on marketing.
- Note contextually relevant needs – usually the calendar. If a callback is requested, the specific date to call back is immediately scheduled. Looping call backs, with attempt-number-logging, can be built in – i.e. try 5x then abandon lead, which gets escalated to company “shark tank” anyone can later take over and is also incubated via email.
By clarifying previous disposition (left voicemail, 3rd attempt) from next step (confirm contract receipt) and “stall status” loop-triggers (deliverable X is not yet ready, credit repair, gathering funds, etc.) you can help your sales team close more deals.
Our deep philosophy at SwiftCloud is that software should conform to human patterns, not the other way around. Whether you call your clients “patients” or “borrowers” or “patrons” is how your software should look to you – and this includes the sales flow. Whatever your culture, don’t make your team conform to software.