A 5 step framework for optimizing your B2B buying process

You want your business to generate revenue, right?

… But have you ever considered that an internal process might be what’s holding you back?

Sidney Waterfall recently wrote about how to analyze and optimize that process, and it’s worth taking a close look…

1) Audit your lead flow process.

Before you can optimize anything, you need to understand what you’re actually trying to improve.

What tools are your marketing and sales teams using? How are they evaluating lead quality and conversion?

2) Review conversion and qualification.

Now it’s time to research the link between website conversions and internal lead qualifications.

This will help you understand how many leads are entering the sales funnel… and falling out of it.

3) Analyze booked meetings.

Next, take a look at how long it takes to book the first meeting with a lead.

Research has shown that fast follow-ups account for more than half of the deals won. Are your follow-ups too slow?

4) Meeting structure and follow-ups.

Once you’ve completed your first call, look back at the call structure and ask yourself some questions.

Were you building rapport? Did you define clear next steps? Do you understand their needs? Also, remember to make timely follow-up calls afterward, too.

5) Create deals that are too good not to close.

Take a look at everything your team does to close a deal. What subsequent meetings and activities are needed? And what can you do to improve them?

As you go through each step, review the people, processes, and technology you use, and figure out how you can decrease friction and improve efficiency.

Finally, don’t be afraid to test different ways of doing things. You might find a better way…

B2B businesses are too focused on volume

If you’ve been trying to purchase B2B software lately, you’ve probably seen how little companies optimize their buying process. Because to most companies, this isn’t a priority. 

As said earlier, their main priority is driving more value. But they have no idea that by not optimizing their buying process, they’re missing out on some major opportunities. 

A study by Navattic and Chili Piper showed that 

  • 35% of companies never respond to demo requests,
  • Of that 35%, 97% didn’t use a calendar scheduler, and 
  • 17% of companies are starting to use interactive product demos earlier in the funnel

So while businesses are keeping busy trying to drive volume, they’re letting tangible revenue slip away, right under their noses.

Top 3 benefits of optimizing the buying process

But optimizing the buying process isn’t only good for practice. Below are the top three benefits that come with prioritizing this element of your business. 

1. Increase conversions

Plain and simple, the time and effort you dedicate to your buying process is an investment in the user’s experience. Making this process as intuitive as possible creates a smooth –  and swift –  path to purchase with minimal friction along the way. 

Additionally, an optimized buying process can also include an element of personalized recommendations. Instapage reports that 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that offers personalized experiences.

2. Lower costs

However, optimization isn’t just about conversion. If you’re doing it right, optimizing your buying process also means taking a deep dive into your expenses and identifying ways to maintain sales, while reducing costs. 

With optimization, you eliminate any unnecessary steps that add hidden costs and complexities. You’ll also have the visibility to identify and remove inefficiencies and reduce any unhelpful repetitiveness.

3. Improve efficiency

With an optimized buying process, you’ll establish a well-defined plan to continue evaluating and improving the sales cycle.

By streamlining this process, you’ll allocate less and less resources to assess the buying journey, saving time and improving efficiency. 

Not to mention, an optimized buying process allows the sales teams to close more deals. In fact, Spotio found that 86% of sales professionals saw an increase in revenue when they began using a sales optimization software.

How do you optimize the buying process?

Tech aside, you can make a huge impact by optimizing your operations and processes. This is where having a solid RevOps (revenue operations) team really comes in handy. 

Reviewing, documenting, and auditing the buying process is the first step. 

I don’t start by creating demand, or capturing demand. I focus on converting demand.

The 5-step framework

Pre-req: Identify and audit your lead flow process

Before beginning any optimization, it’s important to understand the current state of your buying process. This step is essential in maintaining a healthy sales pipeline, and really understanding where the opportunity for growth resides. 

First, get very clear on each stage of your buying process. Then, audit the entire sales journey; which includes:

  • Understanding what tools marketing and sales are utilizing
  • Evaluating lead quality and conversion
  • Reviewing sales data (i.e. number of sales, acquisition, ROI, etc.).

Phase 1: Conversion and qualification

Next, identify your conversion data. By this, I mean to research the link between website conversions and internal lead qualification. 

Here, you’ll get a clear picture of the quality of leads that are entering the sales funnel. According to databox, this is ideally around 10%, though anywhere between 2% and 5% is considered average.

Phase 2: Meeting booked

At this stage, you’ll identify the average amount of time it takes to book the first meeting with a lead. This is a critical step in the buying process, as it can often be an indicator as to whether a sale is made or not. 

In fact, data shows that fast follow-up leads to upwards of 50% of deals won. Conversely, businesses can see a 15% churn rate as a result of a slow response time.

Phase 3: First meeting structure and follow-up

In this phase, you’ll review the structure of the first sales call. Though this varies by industry and sales rep, here are some questions to ask about this process:

  • Are sales reps building rapport during calls? 
  • Are they understanding the leads’ needs and asking the right questions?
  • Do they set a relevant agenda, and establish an appropriate plan for the future?
  • Does the call end with a clear next-steps?

It’s also important to make sure follow-up calls are timely and meet any commitments made during the initial meeting.

Phase 4: Deal created to closed

This stage dives into the intricate efforts the company makes to close each deal. Here, you’ll study all sales activities and any subsequent meetings needed to move the deal to closed/won. 

Focus on any opportunities to improve efficiency and lead satisfaction. Ask: 

What could we have done here to improve this? 

In each phase, you’ll review people, processes, and technology. Observe this data to inform any recommendations on how to optimize the flow. After these are tested and implemented, you’ll decrease friction, improve efficiency, and increase conversion.

In fact, you can increase your conversion to qualified opportunity by 3-10 percentage points! Full article is here:

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** Not another disguised sales pitch. No strings attached. Applicable tips.

Strong coffee and nearby seating is highly recommended, but not mandatory.