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Systemization Series: Core functions of business—sales

March 4, 2015 -  By

This post is part two of Dan Pestretto’s seven-part systemization series. Read on to part three, “Systemization Series: Core functions of business—operations,” here

There are four things every business on the planet has in common. These four things exist in every type of industry—legal or illegal, large or small, service businesses or manufacturing. Every business, indeed.

They are:

  1. Sales: Getting the work;
  2. Operations: Doing the work;
  3. Administration: Running the business; and
  4. Management: Guiding the business.

Sales is all of your sales and marketing systems.

Operations is all of the systems for delivering on the promise made during the sales process, meaning all of the systems that directly relate to what you do for your customers in terms of production and their satisfaction.

Administration comprises the systems that go on behind the scenes, basically all of the financial administration, human resources and IT systems.

Management is the systems for leading the business from where you are today to where you want to go.

Organizing your processes around the four core functions helps make thinking about systemization extremely clear. But it all begins with the sale.

Looking at your business systematically shows the sale actually is the culmination of a lot of processes that went on before it. This is why, this week, we’ll be beginning with that core function that is sales.

We’ll kick things off with a question.

Question 1: What happens in your business to indicate a prospect has become a customer?

How do you know when you have converted a lead into a sale? Maybe it is a signed contract, a deposit or simply a verbal agreement. All of the activities that happen in your business up to this step will be systems or steps of systems in the key function called sales.

There are two types of processes within the sales function. First, you need to attract people interested in your product or service, and getting your message out is the marketing part of it. Second, you need to convert the interested parties to customers—that is the sales part.

Marketing processes message your brand. Essentially, brand is why you do what you do. Finding your brand’s niche in the marketplace and informing people of your brand is the function of marketing.  Attracting people who resonate with your brand and getting them to contact your firm is the goal of marketing.

Certainly your business uses marketing processes and methods to target your ideal customer. These processes are designed to find whom your best customers are, how they think and behave, where they live and more. The information you gather helps you target your niche.

Upselling existing customers is far less expensive and easier than finding and bringing in new ones. Processes that analyze your invoices, your client’s habits and spending patterns help marketing to target your current customers for deeper vertical integration into your company’s services.

Market analysis also is part of marketing, meaning analyzing your competition. What are they doing well? What is it they’re not doing well? How does their pricing strategy compare to yours? Market analysis and the processes involved influence the success of your marketing campaigns.

Now, marketing can be divided into two types: inbound and outbound.

Inbound marketing centers on content delivery designed to position your firm as the “go-to” thought leader in your niche, trade and region. Inbound marketing is getting leads to come to you. You do that through creating content for those leads, which generally is delivered through blogs, social media, white papers, eBooks, etc.

Outbound marketing, on the other hand, is in the form of your logo, signs on your trucks, advertising, cold calling, etc. (As a side note, don’t write off cold calling. It’s old fashioned, but it still works.)

There are process, protocols and procedures for both kinds of marketing and identifying them is part of the first step in your business systemization plan.

Once you have the lead via either forms of marketing, a whole different set of processes begins. When a prospect is in contact with you, what are all the steps you take to get them to the place you identified in your answer to our starting question?

What are all of the methods your salespeople use to “close” or “convert” leads into new clients? How do you qualify leads? How do you schedule appointments? Do you have a needs analysis process? How do you calculate pricing? What is the process for developing specifications if the prospect hasn’t any? Do you prepare estimates? How do you prepare and negotiate contracts? These are some of the questions that will help you understand the conversion processes that take a lead from a prospect to a customer.

Remember, the first step is identifying and naming processes.

To that end, I encourage you to visit Salespeople-On-Demand.com to view a PDF of ideas for your process names. I’ve compiled about 40 processes to help you identify and think about the processes you have or may want to have in your company.

Next week we’ll delve into operations processes.

About the Author:

Dan Pestretto is an Amazon best-selling author, business leader and consultant working with designers, contractors and trade service providers, with his specialty being in horticultural trades. He helps business owners develop, fine-tune and implement their companies' systems and empowers them to increase annual revenues.

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