5 Elements of a Sales System

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I recently bought the book entitled “Harvard Business Review on Sales and Selling”. I just read the chapter called “Manage the Customer, not just the Sales Force” by Benson P. Shapiro. He wrote about a sales management team that decided to “step back and take a fresh look at the entire selling effort” when a dress line failed to increase in spite of know appeal.

Reading Shapiro motivated me to take a step back and reflected on my firm’s sales system. There are a lot of online sales options. I call it noise. It was high time to step back and get organized.

I am a very analytical, organized, task oriented task master! I believe in checklists and outlines.

So first, I drafted a sales system outline which included: (1) Product Policy and Pricing; (2) Distribution Channels for Online Training Content Sales; (3) Communication Methods; (4) Qualifying Prospects and (5) Managing Customers.

Distribution Channels include an ejunkie shopping cart on our firm’s website; a Facebook storefront; an Amazon store; a Scribd Store; Clickbank; Ebay; Lulu; Moontoast; Zazzle store; Blog for Pay via Media Bistro and the Examiner; and training videos for pay via Demand Media.

Communication methods include the 3-A’s – Advertising PULL; Appointments for personal selling PUSH; and Attending Networking Events.

Advertising PULL include Facebook ads; Google adwords; Youtube videos; direct mail marketing; email marketing; and social media posts via Hootesuite and Ping fm.  Our social media posts are distributed to Twitter, Facebook, Facebook business page, Linkedin, Myspace, Google Buzz, Tumblr, Friendfeed, Identi.ca, Brightkite, and Yahoo Profile.

Appointments can be set with Facebook friends, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and Linkedin connections using online tools like Tungle.

Networking events include Meetups; professional trade organization meetings; vendor outreach sessions; and trade conferences.

Qualifying prospects involves having a Contact Relationship Management (CRM) system that includes lead scoring.  Prospects get higher scores if they are warmly engaged with us open our newsletter; comment on our blog; LIKE us on Facebook; or otherwise communicate with us.

The Customer Management component includes Opening New Account Relationships; Closing Deals; Servicing Accounts; and Maintaining Account Relationships.                                              

Second, I created a e-file folder for each component of our sales system. The idea is to use this outline as our strategic plan.

Third, there is nothing left to do but to deploy. You have to be motivated to launch and consistently deploy!

What would you add to this system? What works for your organization?

By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with nearly 30 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans, intellectual property, social media marketing strategic plans, and other services. Contact Clovia at:
■ Web: http://www.lemongrassplanning.com/
■ Blog: https://cloviahamilton.wordpress.com/
■ LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/cloviahamilton
■ Twitter: http://twitter.com/lemongrassplans
■ Email: chamilton@lemongrassplanning.com

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4 Responses to “5 Elements of a Sales System”

  1. Patrice Hinton Says:

    Clovia, great blog post and very good business development information. I plan on comparing this to my own business plan. One thing I believe is missing are Case Studies. I don’t believe this said anything about the importance of case studies which really can showcase not only the work you’ve done for other clients, but the level of expertise you have to over to potential clients. It can really be an aid in reaching target audiences, thus adding more resources and reading materials on your website. Although to a company/consultant that is just starting out, case studies may be a bit difficult, but not impossible. I have heard of some start-ups offering free and/or discounted services in exchange for testimonials, references and case studies. A satisfied customer saying great things about your services can make a world of difference.

    • cloviahamilton Says:

      I agree Patrice! I will indeed add Case Studies to the sales mix as a form of advertising. I’ll post some on my webpage and print some to give out during presentations! I wen to a trade conference in April and came back with 4 or 5 research ideas to pitch. I counsel start up biz owners and advise them to volunteer to get some customer testimonials. There are local government procurement staff that advise volunteering in order to get your foot in the door.

      I think white papers on relevant current affairs research might be a good sales system element too. My concern is how time consuming they can be. I will have to hire student interns to help with the research.

  2. @sellwithpower Says:

    Great article. I think too often people skip over the planning portion and instead focus on the skills. (Most people don’t try to improve either…but that’s beside the point). Really great way to organize a sales policy/plan.

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