Considering that avoidable customer churn costs U.S. businesses $136 billion a year, and only one in 26 unhappy customers make a complaint, it’s important to examine your sales life cycle for areas to improve. In this post, we will show common pitfalls during each stage of the sales cycle and how you may better manage yours with a sales engagement platform.
PROSPECTING STAGE PITFALLS:
- No systematized prospecting process. Without a system, your sales representatives will do what they think is best for them. Unfortunately, there are so many variables that make it impossible to gauge actual results when everyone is doing something different.
- Low Salesforce adoption. If you ask two sales reps how they use Salesforce, you’ll likely get two different answers. While Salesforce is an essential CRM tool, some reps use spreadsheets instead. Some use Salesforce, but they use it in different manners. Neither of these approaches lends to the consistency needed to make sales teams more effective and efficient. Here's some of our tips on increasing Salesforce adoption.
- Reps are using too many different tools. Going in and out of different sales tools is a waste of rep time. With 14.8% of an average week spent on administrative tasks and only 35.2% of the time spent selling, it’s no wonder they aren’t getting more prospects to the Lead stage.
SUCCESSFULLY MANAGING THE PROSPECTING STAGE:If you have a sales engagement platform in place that makes it easier to prospect, your sales reps will be more consistent in their prospecting activities, and you can more easily track their progress. For example, in Salesvue, you can speed the process by using automated emails with email templates, one-click dialer, and recorded voicemails. Your sales reps will save time wasted on administrative tasks, and they will know what to say when. Creating follow-up cadences in Salesvue will also help your teams improve conversations to qualification ratio.
LEAD STAGE PITFALLS:
- No automated or timely follow-up process. Consistent communication is key during the Lead stage. When leads want to “pause” the conversation, they can easily slip through the cracks.
- Not knowing who to call first. Leads are at varying places in the buying journey, and it’s difficult to identify who the hot leads are.
- Low visibility into best lead sources. While one lead source may deliver a higher number of leads, another lead source may have higher conversion rates.
SUCCESSFULLY MANAGING THE LEAD STAGE:With a sales engagement platform, sales leaders can get better insight into all stages of the customer’s journey. In Salesvue, you can define any activity or series of activities you want your team members to follow, and then automatically trigger other activities or actions based on the results. Plus, Salesvue's Math of Sales™ can inform your decisions on your sales team’s performance, their capacity and effectiveness, as well as the effectiveness of lead sources and campaigns. Sales reps know where their leads are in the sales cycle and can communicate appropriately, so the leads are properly nurtured.
OPPORTUNITY STAGE PITFALLS:
- Every rep has his/her own process. Without a consistent process, your potential customers are most likely receiving different impressions about your brand from different reps.
- Lack of consistent, timely touches. In any stage, it’s important to consistently reach out to leads. Once they have become an Opportunity, it’s easy to lose to the competition if you aren’t consistent and timely in contacting them.
- Content isn’t being used. The Opportunity stage of the sales cycle is a perfect time to further bolster your value claims by providing relevant content.
- Scattered Opportunity data. Again, consistent processes are important. Some reps may keep their notes about an Opportunity on their desktop or in another tool besides Salesforce. Without centrally located information, gauging where the reps and their leads are in the sales cycle is difficult at best.
SUCCESSFULLY MANAGING THE OPPORTUNITY STAGE:With Salesvue, you can have customized best-practice cadences that take advantage of the best sales behaviors in your organization. And Salesvue can be configured to make sure all native Salesforce fields that are important to your business are consistently maintained, so when sales reps have a call or email task for an Opportunity, the correct Salesforce data is always right in front of them.
CUSTOMER STAGE PITFALLS:
- Lack of consistent, timely touches. Once your reps have closed the deal, it’s important to maintain contact so that churn doesn’t happen.
- Low retention rate. It’s hard to know why you aren’t retaining customers without better insight into this part of the sales cycle.
- Scattered customer information. If Salesforce isn’t being properly used, customer information is often lost or scattered.
SUCCESSFULLY MANAGING THE CUSTOMER STAGE:Follow-up plans provide structure to help your teams more efficiently improve consistency of touches. The Salesvue Sales Pipeline Report combines Salesforce’s Opportunity data with Salesvue’s prospecting data, demonstrating the correlation between activities and conversions all the way from prospecting activities to Leads to Opportunities to Closed Won or Lost, so sales managers can identify (throughout the entire sales life cycle) where the conversion rates are highest and lowest in order to make adjustments to their marketing and sales processes and strategies.
- No systematic approach to renewals and upsells. It’s hardly fair to ask for a renewal or upsell when you haven’t maintained proper contact and stayed in tune with your customers’ pain points, but it’s not easy to systematically make sure you are making the right contact with the right content without a sales engagement platform.
- Timeliness of engagement is difficult to manage. No customer wants a sales rep to call out of the blue, acting like a best pal when they have not been engaged in the customer’s success since the last sale.
SUCCESSFULLY MANAGING THE RENEWAL STAGE:With Salesvue’s workflow automation, sales and marketing teams are able to follow the surest and quickest path to renewal, scheduling call or email touchpoints for the perfect time. Also, the Conversation Recency Report allows sales managers to make sure reps are connecting with both their prospects and customers by having consistent conversations. Sales leaders and reps need full visibility into prospects and customers across the sales life cycle in order to close more deals and reduce churn. To see how Salesvue gives you actionable insights that help you successfully manage your sales life cycle, get a personalized demo.
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