In the last post of our #gxmxp Series, we started building our Market Foundation with a review of your current team and talent roadmap.
We completed an exercise using our Resource Review and Talent Roadmap spreadsheet to understand how your team was aligned to support market versus product development.
This step highlighted whether you had the right resources working on the right tasks in order to deliver critical market milestones. We also used that template to proactively build a talent pipeline to de-risk the significant capital expense of a bad hire.
The objective of the entire Market Foundation phase is to create a roadmap of the people, processes and technologies necessary to create and support a functional learning organization.
In this post, we’re going to continue the resource review by taking a look at your current marketing and sales processes.
Your goal today is to map out how you are currently attracting, engaging and supporting your customers.
We’re going to uncover what you’re doing with the resources you have today in order to get a better grasp on the gaps that exist, what tools and resources you may need to eliminate or may need in the future, and which events are going to compel you to have those needs.
Keep in mind that most early-stage companies don’t have a formal sales process to begin with. Their customer acquisition process just happens without any actual planning.
It’s crucial for you to hit the pause button and actually figure out what your process should be.
By taking the time to do this today, you’ll be able to develop a clear and tangible sales process for your team and your customers.
Before reading further, scroll over (or down if mobile) to the Resources / Downloads area and download and open the Marketing and Sales Process Review Template.
Step 1: Marketing & Sales Funnel Metrics
Start by reviewing and breaking down every stage of your marketing and sales funnel to pull out both quantitative and qualitative data on what is and is not working today.
The reason to start with metrics is that any hard data that we have available will be an invaluable tool to discovering the path to sustainable and repeatable revenue.
Working your way down the worksheet, you’ll start at the top of the funnel to identify what you are doing to attract new conversations and customers.
As you answer each section, it’s important to push yourself and your team to be honest about the facts. For most companies, the initial review of the number of leads, opportunities and in some cases customers looks healthy and promising. “We have 100 leads per month! We’re ready to IPO!”
However, in most cases even a brief examination at those leads will identify a qualification problem.
Great companies know that it is better to have 5 qualified leads to work with than 500 unqualified leads to have to sift through.
As you go through your sales funnel, you should be asking yourself, “Are these numbers / leads / opportunities real and most importantly qualified?”
Without knowing your true pipeline metrics, it will be very difficult to build a sustainable, repeatable and profitable strategy.
But, we don’t have any customers or any data…
For pre-revenue companies, often times there is very little if any data on sales and lead generation to go off of. That’s ok.
Use these exercises as best you can to capture any and all conversations that you have had related to your business.
Those conversations could be with advisors, investors, colleagues or friends. What you are trying to identify are trends that point you towards where you are getting the most amount of qualified interest.
You don’t have to force feed information into the template if you don’t have it. Keep in mind that in future posts we will be helping you to create sales targets, pipeline stages, pricing models, etc.
The purpose of resource review is to take what we have today and throw it all on the table to see what we can use.
Reviewing your metrics and processes
Now that you have completed the first section of the exercise, here are some questions to ask yourself as you review the information sales and marketing metrics:
The answers to these questions will help us build your sales funnel and strategy later.
If you come out of this section with several blank spaces and even more questions about how to execute on what you’ve discovered here, don’t worry, we’ll get there soon.
Now that we’ve covered the sales and marketing metrics, it’s time to look beyond the numbers and start to understand who we should be talking to.
By understanding who our buyers are, how they solve their own problems today and who your competition is, we’ll be better able to identify who your customers should be and what they care about moving forward.
Keep in mind that companies don’t buy products, people do. As you think about your target buyer, the more specificity you have the more targeted and in turn successful your approach will be the further you go through the program.
As you move through this section we’ll start to explore what is unique about your product or service.
By taking a holistic view not only of the competitive landscape but also of your customers current solutions to their problem, we are able to start the process of identifying which of your ideal customer types are the best and most logical fit for your product or service today.
Just like the first section of this exercise, the goal here is to collect hard data and put everything on the table to identify where we have been so that we can accelerate where we are going.
Everything is now on the table
When you’re in the weeds trying to generate revenue, it’s easy to forget to zoom out and look at the larger trends occurring in our business.
Most companies take a reactionary approach to their go-to-market strategy and as such, they miss the opportunity to stop and take an inventory of what is and isn’t working for their business today.
Your completed Marketing and Sales Process Review Template is a resource to help the entire team quickly grasp how you are currently attracting, engaging and supporting your customers.
You’ll want to digest this organized information and pay attention to any gaps that exist and make a note of any action items that will require those gaps to be filled.
By doing so, you’ll be able to identify a tangible list of low-hanging fruit that you can implement right away to improve your ability to win new business.
If you can do that, you’ll be on track for our next post in the #gxmxp Series in which we will complete the Market Foundation phase by reviewing your technology stack.