There are 3 major mistakes small business owners are making in their marketing and sales process that is preventing them from converting their leads into sales. Read this article to see if you’re making these mistakes and how you can prevent them.

As business owners, our main priority is maintaining the health of our business. We must care for it and make sure it is getting the proper attention it needs for it to be successful.

The lifeblood of our business is our sales. It is what keeps our business alive and thriving. The number of sales that we get determines how much profit we make, what resources you can afford, and improvements you can afford in the future.

In order to achieve great success in sales we must have every aspect of the marketing and sales process optimized. We must be detailed and organized so that we or our salespeople can land the sale. There is no room for mistakes.

Unfortunately, many business owners make mistakes in their marketing and sales process that are preventing them from converting their leads into sales. This can prevent growth and affect long-term success.

Try to avoid these mistakes in your business’s process.

1. Not Defining Sales Goals

The importance of defining sales targets lies in that it gives you a picture of how much revenue the business needs to support the company functions. Ultimately, it is used to guide your sales team by giving them goals to meet on a regular basis. You can then work with them to create a plan of action to achieve them.

To do this, calculate your average close rate for leads. You do this by taking the number of leads for the last 12 months. Then determine how many of those leads converted into sales. This can also be called your “win rate”. Once you’ve determine the rate at which you convert leads, you can then begin forecasting for the next 12 months and then set your goals based on that information. Break down financial goals by the year, month, week and then defining a daily sales target.

Also, define them by region and by sale representative so you can track your actuals vs your target. When determining the number of sales needed by the sales team, it’s a good idea to pad the number a little. If you determine that the number of sales needed by each member is 15, that may be enough to hit your yearly goals but not enough to see a significant increase in profits.

Meet with your team on a regular basis to define and track progress against these goals. Make sure they understand the expectations you have for them, why you set them and how they can achieve it.

2. Underdeveloped Marketing and Sales Plan

You may have set your goals with your team, but if you have not created a plan to achieve them, it doesn’t matter. If you have developed a detailed sales implementation plan you are putting your business at a disadvantage.

Here’s why:

  • You can improve your team’s win rate by 24%
  • You can reduce your sales cycle length by 20%
  • And you can increase your average sale price by 15%.

(via. Sales Benchmark)

First, you want to define your marketing and sales process. Here’s an example:

  • Step 1: Define Ideal Customer
  • Step 2: Marketing / Lead Generation
  • Step 3: Prospect Qualification
  • Step 4: Proposal
  • Stage 5: Negotiation
  • Stage 6: Land Sale
  • Stage 7: Post-Sale

Once you define your marketing and sales process, you then add tasks to each step. This can include things such as making a phone call, email follow-up. Once these tasks are completed, then you can move onto the next stage of the process.

Within this process include scripting and defining procedures. This is something many business owners don’t consider, but having scripts can make the sales process easier. With scripts we can know how to start the conversation, how to transition to other points, list out key benefits of your product or service, how to handle customer objections, how to answer common questions.

Once you have determined your sales implementation plan, you can then assign leads to your salespeople.

We should also define the sales call cycle, how to handle new business opportunities, and how we plan to convert those opportunities into sales in the process. We should also define our Key Performance Indicators (or KPIs) for the company, team and individual salesperson.

3. Not Tracking Marketing and Sales Pipeline

Think of the sales pipeline as a picture of where customers are in the sales process. We should  track the progress of each lead in the pipeline. Some people use a CRM system to manage this, or we can use an excel sheet at the minimum. This will give us valuable knowledge of where we are gaining and losing customers.

Are we losing customers at the initial call? At the sales meeting? Or, at the closing? This will let you know what area of your sales process you need to improve.

It can also tell us where we are gaining customers. This will be helpful because once we know where we are getting most of our leads from, we can then allocate more money or resources to that area so that we can gain even more. Additionally, we can learn which areas are not getting us as many leads so that we can stop putting money towards that effort, saving us some money.

If you are not tracking your pipeline you are missing key opportunitites to improve your process and business. If you want to learn how to improve your pipeline, this article has some handy tips to guide you.

These are just some of the mistakes that many small business owners make in their marketing and sales process. When you are just starting out or haven’t had formal business training, it’s hard to know everything you need to learn to maintain a successful business. Mistakes happen, and that is okay. I make mistakes all the time, that’s why I have a business coach to keep me on track.

We work with many business owners who find themselves in this position but through proper coaching and guidance they are able come out on the other side. If you’d like to learn more about business coaching or how to improve your sales process, schedule a free business strategy session with one of our certified business coaches.