Operationalize Your Sales Strategy and Processes

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Your task is to create a new sales strategy and the sales process to support it. To accomplish this task, you have spent countless hours, interviewed product managers, marketing and sales teams, spent thousands of dollars and reviewed hundreds of best practices to build a winning sales strategy. 

Now that you have completed your task, you take it to the VP of Sales (Sally) with a big smile on your face and the conversation goes like this:

You (Travis) – Hi Sally I’m done. I completed my assignment. Here you go.

Sally – This looks impressive!  But I don’t want it in paper form, I want it in Salesforce. You need to operationalize it and I want you to train our team the 2ndweek on next qt. Which is in 3 weeks.

You (smile gone) – In Salesforce, 3 weeks, ok Sally you got it. You leave her office, shoulders slightly hunched over, head down mumbling to yourself. Operationalize it in Salesforce and train in 3 weeks.

Bill walks by and says hey Travis, you continue to walk head down mumbling, operationalize it in Salesforce and train in 3 weeks. Bill walks into Sally’s office and asks if Travis is ok. Sally says yep, he did a great job on the new sales strategy and sale process to support it. I just told him, I need it operationalized in Salesforce and train our team in 3 weeks.

Bill walks out of Sally’s office, hunched over, head down mumbling to himself. Poor Travis, operationalize it in Salesforce and train in 3 weeks.

Ok, fun is over, let’s get down to business.

So being the true professional, you dove into Salesforce and after a few hours of poking, you discover there is no way you can put the sales strategy and sales process in Salesforce. So, what do you do now? You search the Salesforce AppExchange and find a gem (Strategy Mapper).

Your sales strategy is comprised of generic Strategy to Win, Tactics and Value Proposition, sales coaching in every stage along with sales process broken down in milestones.

The steps in operationalizing the strategy and sale process in Strategy Mapper:

Step 1 – Create a template.

Step 2 – Populate Strategy to Win, Tactics and Value Proposition (these can be changed to exactly match sales terminology).

Step 3 – Populate sales coaching to each stage of the opportunity..

Step 4 – Create milestones for each process to support your sales strategy.

Note: The milestones can be linked to a stage, assigned to the responsible team member and proposed completion date. In addition, each milestone can be tracked based on a color code. Of course, all of these are dependent on the solution or product your selling in the opportunity.

With 2 1/2 weeks left your mission is complete. You meet again with Sally and demo the operationalization of the new sales strategy and supported processes in Salesforce. This time you leave with your shoulders back and a big smile. What is better than both of those is the big fat bonus check, in your bank account and your upcoming week vacation.

10 Benefits of operationalizing sales strategy and the sales processes to support it in Salesforce with Strategy Mapper.

  1. Allows for easy modification as your products/solutions change, customer dynamics change, and the competitive landscape evolves.
  2. Ensures the preservation of sale training and extends the ROI.
  3. Speeds up on-boarding new account executives and sales engineering.
  4. Teams make quota faster.
  5. Increases and preserves your investment and the value of Salesforce.
  6. Increases win rate and reduces selling time.
  7. In the event of team turnover, new members know exactly what has been completed and what is outstanding, there is no lose in momentum.
  8. Reduced opportunity reviews with management.
  9. Team members know exactly what is expected of them and when, so they can plan accordingly.
  10. No one operates in a vacuum, team collaboration is paramount.

Best Practices for Connecting with Executives at Fortune 500 Companies

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It’s good business advice to shoot for the stars. We’re so quick to sell ourselves short in everything we do. Go after the big fish. And in the business world, the “big fish” have a name:The Fortune 500.The name alone can strike fear into entrepreneurs and seasoned pros alike. Reaching out and trying to land one is playing in the big leagues. It feels like skydiving without a parachute.

The Fortune 500 represents the most profitable companies in the United States. In 2017, the top 10 included the likes of Walmart, Apple, AT&T, CVS Health, and Berkshire Hathaway. The 500 represented two-thirds of America’s GDP, $12 trillion in revenue, and $890 billion in profits. And then there’s the Fortune Global 500, too ($27.7 trillion in revenue, $1.5 trillion in profit).

Scared? Don’t be. They need assistance, tools, support, and more just like everyone else. If you have a service or product that can simplify and improve something for them, they want to speak with you.

You ready to go big or go home? Here’s how to set yourself up for success.

Your Best Bet: Cold Email

Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? But cold email is the most effective way to get your foot in that proverbial door and reach the decision-makers. We all use email. We send and receive billions of emails every day. It’s the great communication equalizer.

Knowing that, here’s the insider secret sauce that’s going to separate you from all the other cold emailers: if Employee A is the woman you need to speak to about your SaaS, you don’t email her directly.

Still with me?

The Trickle-Down Introduction

Quick question: are you more likely to open a cold email from a complete stranger, or one that comes with an introduction or referral from a colleague?

If you need to speak to Employee A, you begin by emailing someone one or two spots above her in the corporate hierarchy.

Why? Because if you’ve written a compelling subject line, it will likely get opened. And if you’ve written a brief, personalized email, you may get a response. And that response will typically be something like “You need to talk to Employee A about this.”

Digital intro.

You can now write Employee A – your original target – and tell her that Employee B (her boss or supervisor) asked you to contact her. That gives you instant credibility, and her a powerful reason to trust and reply.

You can find the names of those up the corporate ladder with a little research. A service like Zoominfo makes it easy. If you have names but no email addresses, try Voila Norbert.

Craft a killer cold email, mention the referral, and send.

The Three Fs of Cold Email

Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.

Even with a referral from someone at the company, you might not get a reply.

A full 70% of unanswered email chains stop after the first one, while 21% of those that continue see a reply after the second one. In fact, senders see replies on up to the tenth email sent. It pays to follow up.

While there’s no concrete rule about how often to send your follow-ups, wait at least a few days between them. Explain why you’re writing. Give them an easy-to-agree-to CTA. Keep them short and to the point.

It’s not rocket science. Cold email works, and can work magnificently when you follow this simple workflow:

Stick to cold email best practices.

Do some research.

Personalize your text.

A/B test whenever possible.

Use the trickle-down intro technique.

Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up.

Do that, and cold email becomes your hottest lead gen and sales machine.

Have you been able to connect with executives at Fortune 500s? Let us know what worked for you in the comments below:

Written by Sujan Patel
Sujan Patel is the co-founder of Web Profits, a growth marketing agency helping companies leverage the latest and greatest marketing strategy to fuel their businesses. In addition to running his marketing agency Sujan is also a partner at a handful of SaaS businesses, including & Mailshake. His SaaS companies help 10,000+ marketers scale their social media, mobile marketing and content marketing efforts.