2. New Business Opportunity : Mapping the Sales Cycle of Your Best Customers
Just what is a business opportunity? That question has plagued a great many people trying to decide whether to buy a current independent business, a franchise, or what we’ll refer to in this text as a business opportunity. To allay the confusion, we offer a simple analogy.
You should begin by documenting how the process works in your organization. We recommend interviewing some of the more productive members of your sales team — including direct sales and channel partners to determine best practice follow up methods. See “Ask the right questions” below for the types of questions to ask. Draw out a simple flowchart to illustrate the process.
This mapping exercise will help you determine your process options and discover what works best for your organization. It will also help you uncover the largest gaps. Common process disruptions include overlooking leads due to perceived quality, slow follow-up timing and lack of time for ongoing contact.
Ask the right questions
To assess the strengths and weaknesses of your current sales process and to find New Business Opportunity, ask your sales team:
- Who are the key decision-makers and influencers in the sales process?
- What key criteria do you use to determine if a lead is worthy of follow up?
- How do you define a marketing qualified lead?
- How do your leads decide whom to buy from?
- Which support materials do you use at each step?
- What questions or objections arise at each step that help either move the contact long, or take it out of the cycle?
- What is the typical length of time between steps?
- For longer-term prospects, what is the typical time frame for future follow up, and how do you keep in touch in the interim?
- What are the biggest “blockers” to aggressively following up on sales leads?