This morning I read Scott Belsky’s Why You Should Be Optimizing blog post on one of my new favorite sites for ideas and tactics, The 99 Percent. In the article, Scott writes about how technology or web design companies are constantly optimizing their projects. Or marketing companies are optimizing your web content. And he asks the question, why limit optimization to just technology projects?
“Good question!” I thought. Because we all know that change doesn’t happen overnight. To really improve your sales process (or really anything), you’re not going to do a complete overhaul in one day. Rather, you’re going to make small improvements and tweaks over time. That is, of course, unless you don’t have a sales process at all (in which case, we need to talk). And having a sales process in your head doesn’t count.
I believe we often think of optimization at a high level of simply “make it better,” when it’s so much more technical than that. There are a lot of articles out there about optimizing…well… just about everything, but what Scott brings to light is that in order to implement “make it better” you need to have a process in place, make tweaks, and then test!
Unlike the majority of the sale optimization posts out there, we’d recommend not focusing on lead management, some sort of funnel, or your web traffic. That’s not whale hunting. Instead, focus on mapping a process to go after bigger customers. Once you have exact steps and players at each step defined, go about making incremental improvements to what’s working. As Scott said in his article, you should focus more on what’s working than on what’s not working. A truly great sales process will come from continual improvement of what’s working… not just fixing what’s broken.
Let’s say you are a web development company that would normally bring your senior developers (subject matter experts) to a client meeting on your 4th step in your sales process. Set up a test for having them on the qualifying call in step two or test bringing different people to those meetings. Change just one variable to mitigate the risk. And then diligently track the results. Or think about introducing a new case study into your process at step one to see if that changes the dynamic of the conversation with your target customer. Track and compare the results. Think about the old adage, “Whatever is measured, improves.”
In order to truly be amazing, we have to continually push the envelope and constantly improve. Comfort zones are for the mediocre.