how to build a free Revenue Generation business process;
Because, your present process is not converting leads to revenue, and someone else's process won't fit your context!
If you don't quantify a business process it won't be;
So, if you think you need one, where do you start?
By understand the job of a manager, of Quantification, Orchestration & Innovation. Then, YOU can start by implementing one based on this free Quantification. Once you’re happy with it, you can Innovate to your hearts content so that it fits your context. However, all this work will be wasted if you don’t get to the rubber-meets-the-road aspect of Orchestration. For a fuller dive into this aspect of creating a successful business, jump to this session in our free on-line course.
Quantification is all about specifying the process you will follow in delivering a desired outcome. There are many characteristics to this step, but we will concentrate on just 2; The quantitative aspects of workflow and touch on the qualitative aspects of the Standard Operating Procedure, the "SoP!" Here the notes for the music we are playing are recorded. The technicians follows these notes in their score and the conductor places their own special emphasis & nuances on the notes to produce a unique, personalised & emphasised offering that fits YOUR context.
filter the input
All process rely on the fundamental truth that rubbish in = rubbish out, so an early gross filter will;
Anecdotally; halve CoS for the same amount of revenue; double revenue for the same resources deployed; increase from 1:3 to 1:2 i.e. (30% to 50%) closing ratio of qualified engagements; keeping the front of the funnel supplied decreasing the cost and disruption of “Feast & Famine” ~ very often funded by borrowing; saving greater than 50% of management time by focusing on helping rather than policing sales efforts;
Finding leads is a function of marketing, but, if they are not effective then without leads no one can sell and it becomes the responsibility of the sales process to generate this raw material.
the “WORK” of bringing a lead > suspect > prospect
Hard and sustained work must be undertaken to continue to fill the “hopper of raw material” so that the rest of the sales process has “stuff” to work on. Finding and nurturing a suspect from the 1st base to 2nd base on this stylised “Baseball Diamond,” which is a representation of a process, is vitally important. On the one hand, the enterprise is not even interested ~ and you certainly don’t get paid for the effort ~ while, on the other, unless you keep your pipeline of raw material in great shape, management will take you to task. So the enterprise is interested in the raw material ~ but not just any raw material ~ the Right Stuff, that you match with your business nowse ~ that will represent good business. So this is an iterative touching, teaching and questioning of a suspect until, you feel, that they represent a legitimate prospect for your company.
Trust and Credibility, brings a Suspect > Prospect
So we use the first of the free tools promised. Download and Install Evernote, which works on iOs, Android, Windows and MAC. This great sophisticated bit of software will allow a one-man-show as well as a group to work together to build the fundamental building blocks of a Revenue Generation system. The emphasis here, should be the discipline of using the tool, not just installing & reviewing the tool ~ as that enthusiasm will disappear with the next rising sun.
Our first job, is to capture the static data that belongs to a suspect. Not trivial stuff but the beginning of dedicated research into knowing the customer. We have a saying ~ to find “everyone who has a positive or negative influence on the outcome of our sales project.” To cover those bases, we use the acronym AS-MÚD-I ~ if you want to know more about these 5 important people in your new prospect ~ have a look at this BLOG post. Now we can start building a CRM note for the company we want to engage with.
Download the Evernote template #3 z-CRM template, then just IMPORT to your instance of Evernote. Keep the template either in a “templates” notebook and copy it to your CRM notebook every time you have a new suspect, or, have it “sitting” in your CRM notebook ~ that is why the name starts with z- and it will ride to the bottom of all the notes in that notebook.
Once we have answered the fundamental question, “we want to business with them - and they want to do business with us,” we can start the process of moving them from suspect to prospect. We do that by employing a Sales Work-style Management (SWM) tool. This tool helps us to gain fundamental knowledge through using inquiring questions that will define “the completeness” that the suspect displays as they go through the stages; Allowing CONTACT with us > showing an OPEN-ness to sharing and receiving relevant information > ENGAGING as a interested contact, who will share their burning need ~ to read, digest and show comprehension of selected valuable knowledge from us. They see us as an advisor ~ an industry source of knowledge ~ to lastly, enable them to fulfill their Buying Process that will concluded & deliver their project in this Financial Year/Period. We can then PROMOTE them to full prospect status and start the real work of selling.
This image, a screen-shot of the NURTURE process that we LINK to the static data of the SUSPECT. There is some misunderstanding of the word CRM. It is Customer Relationship Manager or Management. In our view, it has no other function than to become a repository of the transactional data we collect between ourselves and the suspect. (download, unzip and IMPORT to your Evernote this template #1 z-PIPE-template-NURTURE
So, every time we touch the suspect we have 2 objectives 1) to LEARN more about them and 2) to enhance their perspective of the value we have and can supply to them through this building relationship. The CRM template must record these two dynamics, (it's not minute taking!) What we learnt and what value we delivered. This contact is dated and forms a paper trail of our ongoing transactions. It becomes an enterprise source of value. It is priceless quantitative information (like contact information) and qualitative knowledge (like their needs, their objectives etc.,) for which the enterprise pays good money. This is part of the variable cost of the Cost of Sales.
These questions are examples only, and the first work that must be done, is to contextualise them to your needs. The basic function is, to move a found LEAD to the point that they are a PROSPECT. At that moment, we can promote them to the big league and start the process of selling.
Go back and click on the flow diagram and see how they fit into the process of filtering a basic business raw material. This FREE implementation has one drawback, our CRM and SWM are discreet forms/pages/notes and we need a way to link them firmly together. See the “Actions TODO” at the bottom of the nurture template, this is where we think of our next call, of the next contact; what we want to LEARN and the VALUE we need to deliver. To do this, we use a very cool hyperlink that Evernote gives us. At the top of your CRM type - MySWM. Then, duplicate the “z-template”, rename it to be refer to the suspect we are working on. Now, right click the note and copy the > Note Link, then, jump to the relevant CRM and highlight MySWM. Right click and on the dropdown & select >LINK and >ADD. Now, no matter where we have saved the “z-PIPE-NURTURE template SWM” we can jump directly there from our CRM to that support document. You can also create such a link at the top of the SWM to be able to get back to the relevant CRM document. If you can't visualise this important step, drop us a line!
Evernote allows us to collect notes within a notebook, so the best practices here is to have all the SWM in one notebook and all the CRM notes in another - up to your likes and dislikes, but, it is important to have the two documents easily and seamlessly available as we work on our rapport with the suspect.
deep knowledge & differentiation moves a Prospect > Qualified
So, we’ve done the work to bring a Lead to a Suspect, and based, not on emotions, but on a business decision, we promote the contact to a Prospect. At this point it becomes visible to the enterprise and the amount of work we also need to do becomes much more detailed. The SWM link to the short nurture note is broken (or maintained) and a new link is created to an Opportunity LONG SWM. (download Evernote #2 z-PIPE-template-LONG)
There is an interesting aspect here. Many sales managers and salespeople put a prospective client on their pipeline, but in fact, the thing we work on, the object that goes “IN” the pipeline and may generate revenue for our enterprise is ~ an OPPORTUNITY! Linked to our CRM document can be MULTIPLE LONG SWM notes, one for each opportunity within that PROSPECT.
Why? Because each opportunity may have its own dynamics like AS-MÚD-I, as well as the rhythm of moving from ZERO to DEAL and therefore we may work at a different stage within each opportunity. The flow diagram shows just this, a “virtual paperclip” like 1 or many opportunities, linked to a single prospect ~ governed by a single CRM relationship definition.
Evernote allows us to share, view and even give edit permission, to a team via sharing either the notebook or individual notes within a private notebook with others. A further Evernote feature that helps the collaboration of the enterprise team is Work Chat. Asynchronously you can chat with a colleague to get information, request help or warn of pending actions with Work Chat, right from within the work focus of your CRM/SWM space.
Whereas the short nurture SWM had stages like CONTACT, OPEN, ENGAGING and PROMOTE, the LONG SWM we use to move a prospect through qualified to home base ~ an order ~ is longer. Longer and a more detailed engagement. Again the questions are examples and should be critically edited to create the ones that serve your purpose in your context.
work ~ not luck, moves a Qualified > Home base - & Order!
We have moved beyond nurturing short SWM and started working on the more complex template PIPE-template-LONG. Delete your links (or keep them, your call) from your Prospect’s CRM and create a duplicate of the LONG set of questions and work influencers in the template. Link this next to (the old nurture SWM) or replace the link. The next question is; how do we get FROM ~ salespeople doing all the right stuff ~ TO managing this business process to produce repeatability, quality and forecasting outcomes that meet enterprise operational targets?
One little helpful addition. You have the questions and work-style indicators in the template-LONG, but, we also start qualifying that promotion through the application of the Project Qualification Profile. The PqP (#4 z-PqP-template) can be used to further understand the opportunity and can be helpful when that opportunity is complex. Both the LONG SWM and the PqP are overkill with simple deals, but, we can honestly say ~ that every deal we have ever lost, was because we became complacent ~ even arrogant! We have all heard salespeople say “they will certainly buy” “they love us and our product to bits” ~ and then the deal either is LOST or NEED-GONE-AWAY (statistically as high as 70% of lost deals are when the prospect has second thoughts!) and we didn’t catch the warning signs because we didn’t formally and religiously apply the LONG SWM or PqP!
These 5 steps are; SUSPECT > PROSPECT > QUALIFIED > CRAFT a SOLUTION > CLOSE
How do we get FROM; salespeople doing all the right stuff, TO managing this business process to produce repeatability, quality and forecasting outcomes that meet enterprise operational targets?
We have seen enterprises “steal” someone else's best salesperson and put them in charge of their revenue generation team ~ supposing, we need more skill! But, what you need is more management! A competent manager can orchestrate the process without knowing a single thing about selling! Those you hire to sell, are supposed to be able to sell ~ if they can’t delete them, if they have potential, up-skill them. But, we have yet to see someone, who is a super salesperson, be a super people/process manager! (of course there are always exceptions)
managing the process for success
We’ve got to the point where;
now, we need to keep them honest!
We have yet to meet a salesperson who successfully manages themselves! They fall in love with lost causes, they pursue opportunities that are smoke and mirrors, they demand costly support and figure, the more proposals ~ the more chances of making a sale. There is no motive to pursue profit before revenue ~ they are measured by outcome and not by delivering the process.
Evernote gives us the ability to cut and slice the work that is being done. We need to manage that the Sales Workstyle of the participants ~ even ourselves if we are in the process, is optimal. Both the owner, the salesperson, as well as management and executives have unrestricted views using searches by salesperson and/or product, and any other criteria that is influential. But, at some stage, we have to commit an opportunity to a closing strategy. Using Evernote beautiful segmenting architecture we extract those opportunities that we hope will derive revenue.
We need a way to manage personal performance and do everything possible to drive outcomes. For that we use an excel spreadsheet - you can get #6 Sales Funnel GAP Calc-review-v2.
The spreadsheet has a number of important matrices we are trying to collect and influence. When we promote an opportunity and it appears in our review, we want our "close ratio" to be as close as 1:1 as we can get. So we need to keep those statics and review them to increase our efficiency of conversion.
p.s. the locked EXCEL sheet has a BLANK password, just unhide the top rows to change the weighting to fit your context
final executive approval for spending on a proposal
Of course, you can’t ask for the order without some kind of a proposal. If it is only a pricing query, these steps may not be needed. Even the Individual Performance Review can be avoided through a shortcut. However, this must be a firm decision of your process. If it is complex tender, it can consume management, bid team, complex pricing together with assembling a vast multi-disciplined team that have to give input to our delivery plan. This can consume serious additions to the Cost of Sale and so, we create a further sign-off which is normally initiated before the bucket “Craft a Solution!”
This view of just the questioning section allows both the reviewer and the salesperson being reviewed to answer honestly about their understanding of the opportunity. If a salesperson cannot name the personnel with special hot-buttons that apply to the questions, and further, cannot name the end-times playbook ~ i.e. date of close what the buying process outcome is to award the winning bid ~ then, they are just a prisoner of fate and are not in charge of their destiny and the destiny of this opportunity. Should you spend big money, sleepless night and week-end work on a chance?
If you past this test ~ then write the proposal. Of course, nothing is black and white and those grey areas are left to senior management to make the call. If we left it to salespeople, they would write the proposal at the first meeting!
Evernote comes to the rescue again - #5 z-Sales Project - Executive APPROVAL template is created that can be linked to the Prospect and the Opportunity and populated with “hand-on-heart” answers from the salesperson. The questions here are around AS-MÚD-I and MANEACTS, (for further reading see BLOG posts) qualifications to the opportunity. Executive management questioning of the salesperson and their believable answers to these questions, mean that both the salesperson and management must have more than a passing knowledge of these acronyms and the qualitative answers to the questions they pose.
one last Tool ~ Forecast
Forecasting opportunities that close is a process and not a guess. Forecasting the future is a guess, but it is an educated guess. I have a customer, who calls in the Financial Forecasters every year ~ 3 months before their new year. They show 2 things to these influential analysts that tell the market how to invest and what has future value.
Those financial people go away with the sure knowledge that the revenue this customer expects is, with a small degree of error, the value of their forecast! A serious tool in Building a Legacy(™) (Bal). Imagine how, if you had the forecasting working in your enterprise, it would add valuation to the company and could be used for borrowing and to attract equity funding!
The model is pretty simple and it starts with the premise, we sold this number of units of this product last year, and this year ~ we would like to sell this number. Pretty simple, but underlying it is a number of very important concepts;
Our model (#7 Sales-FORECAST_0.1 EXCEL template) has a number of characteristics that help with management of our journey from a guess on the path to accuracy ~ the desired outcome of the year. This behaves it like a GPS, a Positioning System, helping us travel from ZERO to 100% (or more)! Where we are going and how we are doing.
What this achieves is, that the final number, the target is involatile! (not vaporising or capable of being vaporised), because, that last number, the aggregation of all the 12 months is what we multiply by an average selling price and use that value figure in our planning ~ buying capacity ~ hiring ~ expanding to new branches ~ and if the number doesn’t happen we have to use borrowed money to support those plans!
This model also shows a few other things;
We have closed the loop between the future and the work that will make the future happen, the reason for life of a Revenue Generation Process! Without it we pitch up to work every day, do our best and hope that the year will work out. While, the financial people make money budgets and plans, we start spending that budget. Without a closed loop we will never achieve the future and we will spend money we don’t have!
Would you expect a salary business process that delivers a payout irregularly, and maybe about the amount we expect ~ “really!?” Lots of enterprises accept that type of outcome from their Revenue Greeting Process! You shouldn't!