Using sales processes to drive behavior and business value.
Earlier this week I released the latest episode of the Maximize Business Value podcast that I host. Dean Ash was on the program and we had a great discussion on sales growth and having a Strategic Growth Plan. Dean was amazing and shared his wisdom on sales and growth - it’s worth listening to, and you can do so here. It spurred me to write down what I have learned and continue to learn about Sales Process.
When you are working to maximize your business value, size matters. Actually, it matters in a few different ways. First, the larger the business, the larger the buyer pool, and typically the exit multiples. Multiples are the formulas that apply to various business types applied to earnings, or more rarely revenue. For example, a small business (less than $5M in revenue) in a specific sector may get a 2x or 3x multiple on earnings, while a lower middle market business ($5 to $100M in revenue) in the same sector may get a 5x or 6x multiple. Second, a growing business always commands a better exit multiple. For example, a $10M business in a particular sector that has been flat for 3 years may get a 3x to 5x multiple of earnings, and a $10M business in the same sector that has grown 20% per year for the last 3 years may get a 6x to 8x multiple. So it benefits you to be growing your sales in more ways than one. How do I do that?
Side note: Valuing businesses is tricky. We can help with that.
So, as you can see, size matters and growth matters. Growth is more achievable if you have a solid sales strategy and a great sales process. It’s not enough to bring great products or services to the market. You also have to have a great sales process. Most sales processes contain at least the following steps:
Identify and meet the ideal customer
Ask them lots of questions
Apply what you learn from those questions to how your products or services can solve the ideal customer’s problems
Give them proof
Close the sale.
Many years ago, the late sales guru Bill Brooks taught a system called IMPACT selling. IMPACT is an acronym that stands for Identify, Meet, Probe, Apply, Convince, and Tie it up. You can learn more about that in his book Sales Techniques (2004), available here on Amazon. Although I’m a big fan of Bill and the book it hasn’t been updated in a long time, I use it here as an example because I’m so familiar with it. There are lots of other books on sales processes, and most of them are good. I know, because I’ve read most of them. In the end, however, they all have a process based on some steps similar to the ones I outlined above. If you don’t have a sales process, I recommend reading any sales process book, and then relentlessly follow it.
That’s really the trick. Relentless execution of whatever sales process and system you have put in place. Not only does the sales team need to be relentless in execution, but the sales leader also needs to be relentless on holding them accountable. The only way you can do that is to have a written sales process that is easy to follow and duplicatable. I know, it’s a giant pain in the butt to document and use a sales process, but it has to be done if you want to grow and be able to monitor progress. If you struggle with documenting processes, read this blog post.
Training, training, training
Finally, if you have a great sales process (that’s documented) and you relentlessly hold the team accountable, don’t forget that sales, like all other professions, needs to sharpen the saw. Salespeople, even seasoned ones, need to constantly learn and apply new products, services, processes, and techniques. Those that dedicate themselves to lifelong learning can stay at the top of their game. And they migrate to companies that offer great and valuable training.
Drive the growth
Sales growth drives business value. It’s just not enough to have good products or services. You also have to have a well trained, sales team who relentlessly follow a well-documented sales process, and who are held accountable by great management. By solving the growth challenge, you’re well on the way toward maximizing business value.
Call to Action:
So, stop right now, and examine your sales strategy and processes. If you haven’t been growing, put a plan in place right NOW to fix that.
If you’re struggling with growth, just reach out. We can help! Growth is one of the most important drivers for business value! What are you going to do today - to Maximize Business Value?
Tom Bronson is the founder and President of Mastery Partners, a company that helps business owners maximize business value, design exit strategy, and transition their business on their terms. Mastery utilizes proven techniques and strategies that dramatically improve business value that was developed during Tom’s career 100 business transactions as either a business buyer or seller. As a business owner himself, he has been in your situation a hundred times, and he knows what it takes to craft the right strategy. Bronson is passionate about helping business owners and has the experience to do it. Want to chat more or think Tom can help you? Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out his book, Maximize Business Value, Begin with The Exit in Mind (2020).
Mastery Partners, where our mission is to equip business owners to Maximize Business Value so they can transition their business on their terms. Our mission was born from the lessons we’ve learned from over 100 business transactions, which fuels our desire to share our experiences and wisdom so you can succeed.