The world is facing the need for digitalization. The world’s pandemic is having a profound impact on our social life and the economy. Companies that did not invest in digital tools, now experience difficulties in their everyday work.
Businesses need to not only adapt their activities to the current situations but to improve their sales and marketing processes (if their business activity allows it). That is the only way to survive through these times.
Digital transformation is happening and the crisis fuel is driving companies in that direction. As a digital company, Limacon understands that and intends to help other companies with guidance to accelerate the pace. With the expertise that we have gained through our work as a solution provider for HubSpot, we feel that this is the right time to share that experience. On April 7th we started our newest online event series – The Inbounds. Monthly webinars on which we will be inviting exclusive guest speakers – professionals working actively with HubSpot or operating in the field of inbound sales and marketing.
In the first episode of “The Inbounds” our special guest speaker was Kyle Jepson – Inbound Sales Professor at HubSpot who you may know from the sales and CRM courses at HubSpot Academy (HubSpot Sales Software Certification and Sales Enablement Certification).
Or as HubSpot defined it:
A method for growing an organization by building lasting relationships with people and helping them reach their goals. Because when your customer succeeds, your business succeed.
In other words, HubSpot’s inbound way is doing business in a human way. See it as a business philosophy based on helping people. Creating special relationships with strangers, prospects, or customers is your top business priority to involve people with your activity. From the attracting of your prospect all the way through of becoming your customer, you should not be driven by the idea of selling your product or service, but be led by helping, supporting, and empowering your customer. We have discussed the inbound methodology of HubSpot in a previous article on topic Limacon’s golden approach to successful marketing strategy and case study of international production.
The way of doing business is changing. Instead of looking at the sales process as a funnel, HubSpot combines their inbound philosophies of attraction, engagement, and delight in the Flywheel Model. These 3 phases are common in Marketing, Sales, and Service. The ultimate goal is to give your customers the best experience ever. Because closing a deal should not be the end of your relationship with the customer. You need to engage him with the product and delight him during the customer journey. If he is happy with the relationship that you maintain, not only during the attraction but closing too, he would be more likely to promote your business. Your customers are so delighted by your services that they could attract new customers for you. To make that process effective and to have a positive impact on your company growth, your marketing and sales teams should focus on keeping the flywheel spinning and remove as much friction as possible.
The Flywheel Model stores rotational energy. Any force that drives sales will push you through its phases. This could be a product, your marketing team, sales rep, or anything that could help your sales team succeed. A big part of your sales strategy is focused on the force. But sometimes you might experience friction which will slow down the sales. For instance, friction could be caused by confusing internal processes, miscommunication between departments, or slow manual data entry.
Adding force is no problem for your company as salespeople are goal-driven. It is in their nature to do everything they can to close the deal even through hard times. So when you think of your sales strategy, especially in times that are changing so fast, you should start looking for places to remove the friction.
Frictionless sales is a concept that HubSpot came out last year. It is a way of rethinking sales to make it more convenient for both the buyer and the seller. As a leader of your team, you need to find ways to remove some obstacles that cause friction during your flywheel phases. You may agree with us that now this framework is more relevant than ever.
The first phase of the frictionless selling framework is to enable your sales team to spend more time in actual selling. To do so, keep them informed about the people they are reaching. The best possible way is with a tailored approach. Encourage team collaboration, make your reps share their best case practices, and you will notice the improvement in your team. Letting your reps do things that can be easily automated, is friction you can easily remove by implementing a system with automatic data entry. Try to have a systematic prioritization. Emphasize on clear ways of how your reps can reach to the most engaged leads. Focus on the quality of the leads, not the number.
As a leader, you should know best that the daily tasks of your sales team are linked to a lot of researches, updating records, writing notes, etc. Hours of work that is not directly related to sales. If that’s the case, you should think of monitoring your sales process and tools. Make a list of the things that aren’t running as smoothly as it should. As Kyle Jepson said in his presentation:
“You don’t have to change everything all at once. Honestly, I encourage you to change one thing at a time so nobody gets confused.”
Helping your team with their workflow through the day will improve their efficiency and make them more organized. Don’t forget that you can use your professional experience to guide them. The best way to streamline processes is to find places to automate. Such platforms shorten the time needed to complete tasks and increase productivity.
Match your sales processes with the buyer’s expectations. Know your customers better than themselves. Know what they want and what they are expecting to get from you. Show them that you truly care about your relationship and make yourself easily available. Find ways to be on-demand. And if you’re about to schedule a meeting, stick to the simple meeting experience. Being very clear and transparent makes you reliable. People often feel insecure when they talk about pricing. If possible, clarify how the price is calculated. If you offer any discounts, make sure that the customer is informed. Bear in mind that people may be discomfort from closing the deal because they feel vulnerable when buying something. That is why you should make your contracts easy to buy and easy to cancel. This will make them feel secure or reduce their doubts. And last but not least – make your sales process buyer-driven. Align with your buyer as much as possible.
Although it is difficult to fully achieve the goal of aligning with your buyer, by chasing them, you can guarantee your business a constant improvement. The most important thing to match your customer’s needs is to be regularly interested in him. Research who your buyer is. Communicate with your customers, ask them why they are buying your product. Understanding their reasons for purchase will make you more relevant in future sales conversations. Focus your sales team on your buyer's needs, and goals. In a period of time, you will see that the close rates will improve. Another benefit of focusing on your customers is that it shortens decision making when purchasing. All of this hard work will increase your customers' satisfaction. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to measure that.
Don't neglect your sales team. Once you cut away the manual labor and successfully align your team with the buyer, it is time to transform your sales individuals through a culture of learning. This phase of the frictionless sales encourages you to invest in coaching and training your salespeople to improve individual performance. Having all of your data accessible in real-time is important. That allows managers to be primarily focused on coaching and helping their new or struggling reps. Playbooks and organized trainings play essential part in the development of your team (playbooks in HubSpot help you document and share best practice around specific selling scenarios). The efforts you invest in the improvement of your work environment will reflect on your customers' satisfaction. After all, sales reps are accountable not only to converting prospects to customers but to keep them happy and satisfied with the complete customer journey.
The first step is to find a way that your sales team and managers have access to the information on how they are performing. Try to develop well-skilled professionals whose main focus is to counsel their prospects, to resolve their customer's concerns, and to satisfy their needs. And the next step is to embed coaching into your operating system. Not only managers coach salespeople, but salespeople should coach one another. If you focus on these actions, you will monitor the following areas improving - customer retention, rep productivity, and employee happiness.
These three phases of frictionless selling can happen one step at a time. It is a matter of progression that your team will need to work through. HubSpot has a lot of tools for helping you through the phases of frictionless sales. It has 441 integration partners which are making the processes more predictable, reliable, and time-saving. The available tools can help you improve your sales processes, let your team grow and develop, and make the internal and external communication a lot easier. HubSpot provides you with all the needed information and stores all your customer’s data in one place. It is a complete system that reduces manual labor and makes it easier to close your company deals.
It’s time to rethink sales. Constantly improving sales processes will help business to survive. It’s not what we sell, but how we are selling it. We need to reduce friction in the flywheel and create more convenient experiences for both customers and salespeople. Meet them on their own terms, make them feel comfortable, develop a strong and reliable relationship with both your customers and team. Because after all in sales are the people who matters.
We would like to thank our amazing guest Kyle Jepson for the detailed presentation, the interesting demos, and the valuable advice. A big thank you to the participants in the discussions and its moderator Ivan Bondokov. During the first episode of The Inbounds, we welcomed an audience of more than 60 viewers from all around the world. We had people from New Zealand, Finland, USA, Columbia, and many others.
The next episode of our webinar series will be in May with again a very special HubSpot guest - Tiphaine Amblard. Stay tuned! Don't forget to follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram or subscribe to our newsletter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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