Regardless of how well your website performs on Google or how effectively it converts its visitor traffic into new sales enquiries, if your follow-up process is poor, at the end of the day – you don’t get the sale. So, what can you do to ensure that you have a solid follow-up process? Map it out to 20-30 micro-steps or more!
Mapping out your online sales process isn’t just about defining steps that are digital in nature. It is about all the steps, online and offline, that move a prospective customer closer to the sale – from point of first contact with your website (perhaps through SEO), through to final close.
The process you go though to define a rock-solid sales process is very enlightening. It is a high value activity for your business and should be an inclusive process that involves senior management as well as your direct sales team. PraxisNow provides a consulting service in this area which will help you through this process if you wish to enquire about it.
Here are some guidelines to get you thinking.
Core concepts in your online sales process
- Much of the online steps in your sales process can be automated – e.g. a pre-programmed sequence of scheduled emails. You should have a goal to apply as much of this automation as is relevant to your business and anything that improves efficiency or takes manual steps out, is a good thing!
- There are ways to connect an online process with an offline process – e.g. the call log of a dedicated telephone number on your website can be used to identify the enquiry source, or providing an online coupon code to be quoted on the ‘phone can also connect an offline activity (call) to an online process (place or process on your website)
- There are also ways to connect an offline process to an online process, eg. provide the coupon code in reverse, where a person receives the code by ‘phone and enters it as part of an online process.
- In general, the online sales process can be extremely sophisticated (and expensive) or relatively simple. Sophisticated processes are capable of linking it to your website analytics and “scoring” leads based on what content / pages (eg. pricing?) they have viewed online. There are automated solutions available to do this, such as Marketo, Salesforce.com and other CRM solutions. The question is, for the size of your organisation, is this level of process definition and software infrastructure worth it or not? For most SME’s, you are often better off sticking with the simple (which is still challenging!). For larger enterprises with bigger sales forces, the sophisticated solution should be a serious consideration!
OK, that’s the core concepts out of the way, Here are some areas you might delve into:
- Your Value Proposition – its clarity on your website. Is it clear what your company does? Have you articulated compelling reasons why a visitor to your website should choose you?
- Lead Capture – physically, how are you doing that? A form? A telephone number? An opt-in proposition? Are you clear about what exactly you want a visitor to do on a particular page? Have you given them very good reasons to do it?
- What happens when a lead is captured? Does someone in your company receive an email notification? What do they do with it? Is there an automatic email sequence triggered to the prospect? What “value” is being provided in each of those emails? What is the purpose of each one?
- At which stage is a lead ready to receive a person-to-person sales contact? If such a contact is made and the lead is not ready to buy yet, what do you do with it? What additional side-process kicks-in?
- How is a lead progressed from it’s initial enquiry to ultimately becoming a customer?
- Do you have a referral system built into your online sales process? Is it effective?
- What lead information are you capturing up front? What information is captured later in the process? How is that information used?
- Are you measuring the effectiveness of your process? What’s working well? What’s not working?
There are many more consideration to be looked at in your sales process. The considerations listed above are just to get you thinking!