Navigating big deals through to closure is complex. Multiple decision makers, influencers, and big dollars can make these anxious waters. It’s easy to get lost. To help you find your way follow the Sales Roadmap.
The Sales Roadmap is an inventory of sales actions and corresponding buyer commitments that move a sale forward step-by-step to closure. This roadmap isn’t something you buy at a store, it’s something you build.
Building your Sales Roadmap provides instant clarity into where your sales process is healthy, and where it’s weak. It gives you insight into why you’ve achieved the level of sales success you have, and precisely where to focus to improve those results.
How do you start to build your Sales Roadmap? First you need to be aware that generally there are four classic phases which any sale passes through on its way to being secured:
Suspect: You suspect this company has a need for your products or services.
Prospect: You have met with this company, confirmed they have needs you can satisfy, and confirmed that they would actually spend money to resolve those needs.
Target: The company has your pricing in hand, and at least 75% of the issues that stand between you and closure have been successfully dealt with.
Closed: Pricing is agreed to and implementation dates are set.
With this groundwork laid, you are now set to begin building your Sales Roadmap
Step One: Capture Your Baseline Sales Roadmap
Gather your sales people together. Ask them to plot and document the sales activities and corresponding buyer commitments that must occur to move a typical large deal through each phase, from ‘Suspect’ through to ‘Closed’.
For instance, to move a deal through the Suspect phase, sales must first reach the right buying contact and request a meeting [sales activity], and the buyer must say ‘yes’ to that meeting [buyer commitment]. Follow this thought process through for each of the four phases. Capture all sales activities and buyer commitments within each. When this task is complete, you will have your Sales Roadmap in hand.
Step Two: Optimize Your Sales Roadmap
Optimizing your Sales Roadmap brings you great value. Not only does it increase top line revenue and eliminate waste in the sales process, it also improves sales velocity, simplifies the closing of complex deals, and makes the company healthy for the long term.
To optimize your Sales Roadmap look at the sales activities in each phase and ask:
- Is this the right activity to be doing at this time in the sale to get it closed?
- Have the right things been done previous to this sales activity to set the stage for its success?
If your answer to either of these questions is ‘No’, look at your Sales Roadmap and begin optimizing it. Here’s how:
- Move your sales activities to their optimal place in the Roadmap. An insurance provider found they were issuing price quotes too early in their sale, before all the buyer’s needs had been identified. This explained their poor ratio of closes to quotes issued. By doing a more vigorous needs assessment up front and quoting later, they were able to close more deals.
- Insert sales activities early in the Roadmap that will make closing the deal later a little smoother. A transportation company discovered large closes were being stalled by last minute objections from the buyer’s warehouse staff. By engaging those buying influences earlier in the sales process they eliminated late stage glitches.
- Delete Roadmap activities that bog down your sales process. A biotech company identified having Sales hand off system demonstrations to the Field Service Technicians team was slowing down sales velocity. With some training the sales team was able to perform demonstrations on their own, and Field Service was able to focus on their customer care duties.
Documenting and optimizing your Sales Roadmap is a straightforward way to improve your team’s effectiveness and efficiency in closing large deals.