So much depends on a sales quotation: making the sale, generating revenue, and driving the customer relationship forward.
But they don’t always get the attention they deserve. We leave it up to the salesperson to do what they will and often, they’re never heard of again. And your sales, revenue, and relationships all suffer as a result. Here are four simple steps to improve your sales processes from the quotation stage, to ensure this never happens again.
Step 1: Get visibility of your quote-to-revenue ratio
If there’s one number that will motivate you to optimise your sales quotation process, it’s the quote-to-revenue ratio, a.k.a. your closure rate. Do you currently have visibility of how many quotes that get sent out actually translate to revenue?
When you’ve worked your closure rate out, you may realise that there are a lot of quotations going out that don’t lead to a customer purchase. There are likely a number of reasons for this… but more often than not, it may come down to a lack of follow up.
Step 2: Implement a sales follow up process and stick to it
Without a defined process for follow up, sales quotations can fall through the cracks. What we’ve seen happen is that high value quotes may be followed up once or twice, but without the diligence needed to help customers make the final decision. Given conflicting priorities, low value quotations may never be followed up at all.
Especially for new customers, the sales process is an indicator of what the relationship will be like going forward. Therefore, in many cases, the lack of follow up can take you out of their consideration set for the purchase.
Address these issues by defining specific guidelines around the sales quoting process. For example:
- Set the expectation with your sales team that all quotes must be followed up a specific number of business days prior to their expiry, either automatically or by a salesperson;
- Prioritise follow up based on a combination of factors such as customer-type, value of the quote, or likelihood of closure; and
- Have quotations above a certain value escalated up to the Sales Manager or even yourself.
All these guidelines (and many others) can be easily facilitated through automation – see step 4!
Step 3: Hold your Sales people accountable to their performance
Once you’ve shared your expectations with your sales team, you can hold them accountable to their performance against some well-chosen Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The metrics you collect through sales and quotation tracking will inform these KPIs and give a quantitative indication of their success. This will also help you identify which of your team are exceeding expectations, and which others may need a little more help.
Step 4: Automate your quoting process
You can implement the points above and reduce the workload of your team by equipping them with the right tools to support them. Automating processes will drive your team to work more efficiently, close more deals more often, and build better customer relationships. The tools to automate this processes are designed to take manual tasks off your team’s plate, and allow them to focus on more important priorities – such as selling!
Using a CRM like HARMONiQ CRM, you can achieve:
True visibility of the quoting process:
Using a CRM can help you to generate, track, and report on your sales quotations and will help you easily achieve real time visibility of your sales team’s progress. All your quotations will be stored and accessed centrally, and your closure rate will be one of the many metrics you’ll finally be able to monitor.
Automated follow up for low value quotations:
With some clever CRM automation, you can automatically send out pre-crafted follow up emails with the quotation attached, a specific number of days before the quote expires. This will significantly reduce the number of emails and calls your sales people have to make, and also ensure that even the lowest value quotes receive some attention.
Automated processes, alerts, and triggers:
Instead of relying on your sales team to remember and follow your processes, rules and guidelines, you can let your CRM do all the work for you. HARMONiQ CRM allows you to set up a range of automatic alerts and triggers that are completely customisable to your needs. You can go about your daily tasks and count on HARMONiQ to send out automated follow up emails for low value quotations, remind your sales team of their outstanding follow ups, or alert you when quotations above a certain value go out.
Leverage existing customer information to make more informed follow ups:
Making the information your business has collected about your customers over the years easily and centrally accessible to your salespeople will help them make more informed follow ups and build more meaningful, long lasting relationships with your customers. For anyone who’s lost a salesperson and the history that goes with them, you’ll understand how valuable this information is!
Use the sophisticated reporting tools in your CRM to help you define meaningful KPIs for your team, and then track their success against these indicators.
I hope these thoughts will help you when you work towards optimising your sales process. If you are dealing with any of the issues I’ve written about above and would like to discuss, book in a demo. We’ll take you through a customised demo, showing you exactly what HARMONiQ could achieve for your business. Click here to tell us what you’d like to see more of.
Drew Arthur is the Managing Director of Micronet Systems and is focused on helping business leaders overcome inefficient sales, inventory, and customer relationship management practices by leveraging cutting edge technology. If you want to gain better control of the sales processes in your business, click here to organise a demo to see how HARMONiQ Business Tuning Software can make a difference to your business.