Tuesday 19 April 2016,

For organisations to thrive, they need to keep their clients happy. But first, they need to win them. And, although the word ‘sales’ is still frowned upon by some, selling is key to success. So how do we ensure we’re making the most of the sales process?

At the April London PM Forum event, John Moss and Paul Welling of JA Consulting, both with professional services backgrounds, gave us some valuable insight into the sales cycle and how we, as marketing and business development professionals, can help make a difference in our firms.

During their presentation, John and Paul focused on the sales process map, the sales funnel, how clients buy, and some key sales success factors.

JA Consulting 's Sales Process Map

Fig 1: JA Consulting’s sales process map

They also provided examples of ‘what the best do’ (i.e. what partners and fee earners should be doing) and ‘how to help’ (i.e. what we can do to support our partners and fee earners). Their presentation was full of great ideas and useful tips – here are the points that resonated the most for me.

Ways to improve your sales cycle

  • Be clear about the key stages of the sales cycle, and who is responsible for what.
  • Make sure marketing is doing what it should be doing to support the sales cycle, and likewise for BD.
  • Use the sales process map to visualise the journey to acquire new clients, and identify any particular ‘trouble spots’.
  • Use the sales funnel and do the maths – do you have enough of the right prospects at the outset, and throughout the journey, to hit your revenue targets by the time they convert to client wins?
  • Think about and communicate the benefits you offer, not the features.
  • Do a bit of PR in your organisation on behalf of the word ‘sales’ – it really isn’t that dirty, if it’s done with the client’s needs in mind.
  • Make sure the people doing the selling have the right skills to sell.
  • Focus on starting conversations with prospects when they’re shaping their needs/problems. And then be a part of the solution.
  • Nowadays, prospects are doing a lot of research online before you get anywhere near them. So make sure your partners’ website and LinkedIn profiles are easy to find and good.
  • It’s all about developing relationships. Business relationships, not ‘buddy’ relationships.
  • Don’t pester, but be persistent.
  • Ask for the business.

Top tips for sales success

  • Think about and communicate the benefits you offer, not the features.
  • Do a bit of PR in your organisation on behalf of the word ‘sales’ – it really isn’t that dirty, if it’s done with the client’s needs in mind.
  • Make sure the people doing the selling have the right skills to sell. 

Make the most of client buying behaviours

  • Focus on starting conversations with prospects when they’re shaping their needs/problems. And then be a part of the solution.
  • Nowadays, prospects are doing a lot of research online before you get anywhere near them. So make sure your partners’ website and LinkedIn profiles are easy to find and good.
  • It’s all about developing relationships. Business relationships, not ‘buddy’ relationships.

And finally…

  • Don’t pester, but be persistent.
  • Ask for the business.

Judy Armstrong
Thirdperson – Great content, made simple