Case Study: Sales and Marketing Process Engineering and Automation
A small, well established software company had introduced a new mid-market software offering that was experiencing good results with early adopters. The company was investing heavily in sales and marketing initiatives but finding that results were erratic and unpredictable. They needed to establish a process to insure more consistent success in their sales efforts and better predictability for revenue.
We were engaged to consult and develop mechanisms that would help them achieve these goals.
We came in and studied their sales and marketing tactics and found that while marketing programs were being executed in a programmatically well managed manner, sales efforts were largely seat-of-the-pants activities dominated by one or two star performers. We deconstructed the sales process during deep-dive discovery sessions with the full team of sales and marketing personnel and were able to elicit a consensus around a few key steps in customer engagement practices that could be identified as leading to high confidence deals.
We focused in on those steps and how they could be executed in the most efficient and effective manner. For instance we discovered that prospective customers were often unaware of the full breadth of the product’s capabilities and that education was a key component of getting customers engaged with the product.
We then went on to develop a recipe for success that was debated further by the team before being finalized as an initial starting point. The recipe included the articulation of timing, frequency, and identifiers for confidence levels and exceptions. We then looked at the each of the elements with regard to automation. Once the initial recipe was complete we integrated the company web site with a CRM system and mapped each task into the lead management process within the CRM platform. Many of the tasks were automated and each step had a time window indicating when it should occur in the process.
Reporting systems were then set up so that sales and marketing personnel had full visibility into each opportunity and where it was in the process. Sales personnel were guided by the road map with the opportunity to log exceptions where needed. Marketing personnel could track their lead flow by source and profile demographics to measure how well each opportunity was proceeding. Sales managers could monitor pipelines, behavior and results at each milestone in the process, identifying exceptions when they deviated rather than after they became lost opportunities.
Sales and customer engagement increased three fold with the introduction of new touch points that had been identified during discovery. Each step in the process was tracked against benchmark goals and reviewed on a continual basis for further refinement. The company quickly leveled out its sales performance and booked several months of consistent performance and growth.
The company was then able to go out and present its product and recipe for success to the investment market and subsequently closed on a venture investment of $6 million dollars from a well known VC firm.
The take-away: Sales and Marketing Process Automation is the Most Important Action Emerging Mid-Market Companies Can Take to Increase Sales. Success in sales not about good sales people, its about good sales process. According to Modern Distribution Management “A well executed sales process engineering initiative can generate an 8-12% annual, incremental increase in sales performance.” The value of business process engineering and automation goes beyond cost savings through improved efficiency. Adoption of business process automation involves standardizing processes which in turn helps to insure the consistent execution of defined methodologies. Standardized execution of business process provides the foundation for tracking and measuring actions and outcomes and tuning business process for success.