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How to Scale Your Sales

To scale your sales with the rest of your business, I recommend you focus on the following three objectives:

Before detailing these objectives, I want to caution you against the dangers of scaling too fast or slow:

Either way, if you don’t scale your sales properly, you end up wasting resources.

Develop Your Procedures

Before anything, you need a set of sales procedures: repeatable, documented processes for developing a someone from a lead to a prospect to a client.

Procedures are the framework around which the rest of your operations should be built. They’ll be the foundation upon which you can build the actions your sales teams do, and they’ll be the base around which you’ll develop your data.

Without procedures, how things get done exists only in the minds of the people doing the work, so what happens is hard to predict and follow, making any kind of planned growth nearly impossible.

With procedures, how things get done is known by everyone involved the work, so what happens is a direct consequence of what you did, making it easy to do things more effectively and efficiently in the future.

The best way to get started on your sales procedures depends on your situation.

If you’re the one doing sales for your organization right now, the easiest way to get your sales procedures started is by simply writing down what the effects of your marketing are, what you do in response to those leads, and how you record sales and prepare the new client for fulfillment. Then, look at what you’ve written out, and contrast it against what you actually do - see what you missed. Then, give it yet another look, seeing what you should have been doing, that’s clear now that you’ve written out the other steps. Finally, plan on coming back to the procedures after your next sale, because they will definitely have issues.

If your business hasn’t started sales yet, you can either do your best at the attempt at the above, or reach out to a third party who can help you to bootstrap your sales procedures. (I offer consultancy on this topic, send me an email if you’d like more information.)

Regardless of how you get there, here’s a short list of qualities your sales procedure should have:

Develop Your Toolkit

Once you know what it your sales teams need to do, you need to pick what tools you’re going to use. In the beginning, I recommend you start as simple as possible, and add on when you need new capabilities.

And I also want to stress that pretty much whatever you choose to use now, you’re going to grow past later on. That’s part of why I advocate for developing the procedures first: so your actual processes written down before you start using software and let it limit you with its features.

At the least, you’re going to want tools for:

Develop Your Action Plan

Once you know the procedures you want your sales teams to follow, you need to convert that into actions: instructions for implementing the procedure.

Actions are the implementation of your procedures: they’re more specific, giving instructions on how to use the tools you’ve picked to complete the procedures. They should also include the timeline for completing each step, relative to each other, estimates of how long each step might take, and a description of the different roles that people will need to fill to complete the action. They might also contain tags for creating a taxonomy of your organization’s action plans.

Procedures exist to guide your organization, as an entity, while actions are there to guide the people who make up the organization: they provide focus and consistency, which help ease management and build morale.

It can be stressful trying to meet sales goals, and that can motivate salespeople to deviate from the written sales process. By working to complete actions, not meet goals, salespeople can stay focused.

And the concrete action plans will motivate your sales teams to make completing actions inside the framework you’ve built the new focus of their work. With everyone working within the same framework, it’s easy to help each other,. With everyone working from the same plan, your sales platform can stay consistent.

Inside a focused sales team where everyone’s work is similar, management becomes a whole lot easier. Training is easier, but so is generating reports and planning improvements. And the team’s morale is going to be higher, since everyone is able to consistently complete their actions. A lost sale becomes an opportunity to refine the action plan, or procedures and tools behind them: an opportunity to do better with every lead that comes after.

It’s easy enough to say that to properly scale your sales teams, you should develop procedures, develop a toolkit, and develop action plans. And it should be evident that doing so would help you avoid wasting resources, and help you iterate over your successes and failures to build good data, leading to more effective and efficient operations in the future, creating a nice loop of incremental improvement.

But it can be difficult to actually accomplish any of this. I’m adding more writing on these topics to my website every day: I suggest checking the lists for documents tagged Business Growth or Sales. If you’d like to be informed of new documents on these topics, send me an email.

I’ve also put together a reading list, which has my favorite free essays on a variety of topics. Off-hand, Matt Mochary’s “Founder to CEO” is probably a good thing to read.

I’d also recommend considering hiring a consultant to help you plan your organization’s growth. I’m available as such a consultant, simply send me an email introducing yourself. If you have a specific question - even if you have no plans of hiring my services - please also send an email. I’m always looking for feedback on new topics to write about.

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