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We’ve worked with a lot of door-to-door, canvassing, and field sales companies to use our sales app to solve some specific problems they’re encountering, which means they are also looking for a specific feature: lead tracking, area management, or something else along those lines.
We’re happy to say that our sales app offers these solutions, but usually when we start working with these companies we quickly learn that they have much deeper problems than a lost lead or an unorganized territory.
Instead, most of these teams are dealing with problems we’ve already discussed, with one big one in particular-- they’re approaching their business without any significant strategy or plan. They think that a sales app’s individual features will make up for these deficiencies, but in reality that’s the same as trying to treat the flu with a band-aid.
Instead, they need to target the source of the problem, and the best way to start doing that is to identify existing issues, then build a comprehensive, adaptive sales process, ideally accompanied with technology that can structure and guide that process.
Simply put, a sales process is the series of steps a prospect takes to become a customer.
More importantly, it’s the most defining characteristic of a mature company. Most major sales maturity models identify “lack of system or process” as the main reason that a company is “immature” or “chaotic.”
This process will be different for each company, but there are universal steps that every door-to-door or field salesperson goes through as they successfully convert a prospect to a customer: they go out and knock doors, make contact, and close the sale.
By focusing on these basic steps of your sales process, you can start to measure your team’s performance in more specific ways, allowing you to adjust, strengthen, and personalize your process as you go along.
There are several reasons why you should have a sales process, especially in the world of door-to-door and field sales:
Some wonder whether a sales process or script is beneficial for a rep, complaining that processes limit the capabilities of talented salespeople who do their own thing, and replace personality and charm with a cold, robotic demeanor.
Don’t think of the process as a mold designed to make everyone identical, but as a framework that they can build on and adjust, though still in a guided, repeatable way. It provides direction for the rep, allowing them to more confidently be themselves in sales situations without forgetting their objectives. The structure is actually enabling them to be effectively unstructured when they need to be.
Uniformity in sales process will also get the entire sales team speaking the same language, which means you can make organizational adjustments quickly. This is essential when you’re working to get accurate data that represents the performance of several different reps who are reporting on several different interactions.
A lot of sales companies deal with high turnover rates. Part of this is the seasonal nature of their work, but part of it is a culture that doesn’t always encourage loyalty or commitment.
Employees are 58% more likely to stay longer than 3 years at a company when they’ve completed a successful onboarding.
If you are naturally a high turnover company, a strong sales process will lower downtime and get reps up and running fast. If you’re trying to lower turnover, develop a strong onboarding system that works with your sales process to build a stronger relationship with reps early on, communicating and encouraging commitment.
When your process and app are established, they will be among the top reasons why people join your company and why they stay. The maturity of your process reflects the maturity of your company.
Because of this, we’ve seen many of the best sales reps refuse to work at companies because they have poorly designed sales processes and don’t reinforce them with the right sales apps. When you properly onboard a new rep, the outcome should be excitement to put your process in play and get to work.
You should always make it a goal to obtain actionable information from your field teams. Without it, you’ll only know one thing about a rep-- whether or not they’re selling. Even if you have reps reporting on a basic field sales process, you’ll still know much more about their performance: Are they working hard? Are they working an area strategically and talking to people? Are they getting in the door? Are they closing at an appropriate rate? Great sales processes (and smart sales apps) reveal information about rep’s behaviors so that leaders can guide their reps and teams to mastery.
Once you have gathered this information, you can start making improvements that target the key problems. Instead of trying to help a rep “sell more,” you’ll know why they aren’t selling more and provide specific training solutions that address the root problem. In fact, the Harvard Business Review published a study showing that companies that clearly defined their sales process saw 18% more revenue growth, evidence they were improving faster than those who didn’t.
The best sales processes are created with the customer in mind, and you should always be improving your process to match the needs of the customer. But even with a basic process, you are improving the experience of the customer by sending out reps that are prepared to meet their concerns in an educated, comprehensive way. Reps who are prepared this way are less likely to be dishonest, make false promises, or deviate from company plans. They’re also more confident, communicative, and helpful, which signifies that you are a modern company that’s smart to work with.
In our experience, most door-to-door and field sales companies are in two camps. The companies in the first camp have put off building a sales process, usually because they aren’t sure how to start or they think that they have enough raw talent to compensate for one. Companies in the second camp know that they have a general sales process but they freely admit that they don’t really use it or that it’s severely outdated.
There are those rare companies who have put effort into building a sales process, but even they start to struggle after a while because they’re not open to adapting it or are resistant to accepting that it could be drastically improved when accompanied by mobile, customizable technology. They have a mentality of “set it and forget it” but in reality sales processes need continual optimization and improvement to encounter for changes that happen in the company or the market.
This is obviously a problem. Any business hoping to be successful needs to know that there is no replacement for a smart, evolving, scalable sales process. Let’s talk about crucial steps that have to take place as you build one.
You’re not going to start out with the perfect sales process, so just jump in.
Start by making everyone participate in data gathering. Reps need to be reporting what happens at every single interaction with a customer. This will give you a perspective of what’s happening in the field and a picture of what reps are currently accomplishing, succeeding at, and struggling with.
Don’t let your reps be lazy about this. They may think that it “doesn’t really matter” or that they “didn’t get the sale so who cares?”
In reality, it’s the foundation for everything that you’re doing. Incentivize it in team meetings and reward those who are reporting every interaction. Or, disqualify reps from participating in competitions if they are failing to report anything other than their sales.
Work to build a company culture that demands this behavior. When you show your reps that they are also going to reap the benefits of an intelligent sales process, they’ll start doing it because they want to and they will come to expect the same behavior from each other.
After you’ve started collecting data, you’re going to want to organize that data in stages to match your process. Let’s refer back to the basic sales steps mentioned earlier: doors knocked, contacts made, and overall sales.
The data from each of these steps tells you something unique about your salespeople:
This number tells you how hard a rep is working in the field. It’s straightforward-- if a rep isn’t knocking enough doors then they’re not going to be selling anything. The number of doors knocked doesn’t tell you anything about skill on the porch or the rep’s expertise. It just tells you whether or not the rep actually cares about trying to be successful and is putting in the effort to achieve that.
This number tells you how strategically a rep is handling an area. Say you’ve got a rep who knocked 100 doors in a day but only had a 10% answer rate. Meanwhile, you have another rep who knocked 50 doors at a 50% answer rate. The first may seem to have worked twice as hard, but he only talked to 10 people while the second reached 25. Obviously the second rep is doing something right; he’s tracking his interactions and using that information to adjust his routes so that he can get the most out of an area instead of simply knocking through it.
Finally, the number you’re really concerned about and the number that you’ve probably been tracking already. But now that this number is accompanied by numbers that tell you how motivated and efficient a rep is, it also can tell you something unique about their performance-- how good they are on the porch. Without those other numbers, you’d be forced to make broad assumptions about a rep’s performance and the reasons why they’re succeeding or struggling. With them, you can start to understand things like close rates and other performance metrics.
Once you’re tracking these main actions, you can start to add additional fields that fit your company’s needs.
Maybe your company has a specific product presentation that is part of your sales pitch. If you incorporate that pitch as part of your sales process and data gathering, you’re given a new set of information about your rep’s efforts.
Let’s say, for example, that you have two reps who are struggling to close sales. You know (thanks to your process) that they’re working hard and talking to a lot of people, but they can’t manage to sell. After adding a “presentations given” step to your sales process, you learn that one rep is giving a lot of presentations but can’t close them and that another does poorly getting in the door to give those presentations but that he has a high close rate when he does.
Now that you have this knowledge, you can take decisive action. There are several good ways to train sales teams, so figure out what works best for your team. You could pair the reps together to strengthen each other’s weaknesses. Or, you could have two trainings at the next team meeting addressing each rep’s problems. You could also meet with them one-on-one.
The point is that gathering data and organizing it to match the actions of your reps can help you understand and change their behaviors. It’s only when you start making deep changes that target the behaviors of your reps that you will start producing the results that you’ve been wanting.
Top marketing platforms like Hubspot claim that the highest level of sales process is reached when you transition from a salesperson-oriented mindset to a customer-oriented mindset. While most mobile sales companies don’t use the kind of inbound marketing approach that Hubspot does, you can still learn from the principles that drive their success.
The first thing these bigger marketing companies do is identify their target buyer. Ask yourself “who is my ideal customer?” What is their situation? Their income? Their credit score? What needs do they have and what is creating those needs?
Once you’ve described your ideal customer, ask yourself how you can best reach them. For example, where do they live? If you’ve got limited time and resources, then obviously it’s best to spend those resources in areas that are most likely to produce these ideal customers.
It’s also important that everyone in your company recognizes the key characteristics of the ideal customer. If your rep is working with someone who is an ideal customer but isn’t able to close them, then he can mark their home as one that has potential in the future. Add that address to a mailing list or email nurture with other ideal customers and you may earn their business in the future.
Continue to update your process in a way that makes your customer’s experience better, not just your reps. As you learn more about their personalities, the things that matter to them, and their common objections, you can update your process to better prepare your reps to meet their needs. This will also help the rep identify when they aren’t working with an ideal customer, helping them move on and spend their time with someone who actually is.
The top teams all know that they need to invest in a mobile CRM that will support their workflows and give them a data-supported vision of their company’s performance. Salesforce’s “State of Sales” report showed that high-performing sales teams are implementing a “smarter, faster sales process,” and are 2.7x more likely than under-performing teams to be using process automation.
For most of them, this technology is mobile: “High-performing sales teams are 3.5x more likely than underperformers to rate their mobile sales capabilities as outstanding or very good.” If this is important for most sales companies, it’s especially important for door-to-door and field sales companies who work with employees that are actually mobile themselves.
There are a lot of benefits to following the example set by these top teams. Mobile CRMs are essential to your data gathering as you start to build out your sales process. They’ll help eliminate all the time you’re currently wasting on other inefficient processes. The best door-to-door mobile sales apps will sync with other services and CRMs that you’re currently using, bringing all your data to the same place. They’ll also help you better understand and cater to the customer experience.
But be careful making the transition to mobile, if you haven’t already. Too often these CRMs take a hands-off approach to their business. They just design the app, let you download it, and charge you for it. This will only reinforce a company’s current behavior instead of helping them manage those behaviors more effectively.
True, most CRMs give you vision of your team’s performance, but they don’t provide any actionable solutions to the problems evident in the data they provide. This is the opposite of what you want. You don’t need your current behaviors reinforced or optimized, you need them eliminated or adjusted.
This requires investing in a CRM that will provide you with attention, direction, and expertise to accompany their technology.
No matter how good or bad you think your current sales process is, you should always be measuring and reevaluating your approach. Keep an eye out for trends that you and your reps are discovering. Be willing to subject your process to experimentation and trial and error.
These steps will get you on track, but the truth is that it’s hard to give general advice on developing a sales process.
We’d love to talk to you more about a process that fits your team and show you the tech we’ve built that directs you towards stable growth.
Schedule a demo with us and we’ll show you how to build a sales process that’ll tackle all the problems your company is facing.