Nicolas De Kouchkovsky, the principal at CaCube Consulting, helps B2B software companies with their go-to-market strategy and marketing execution. Many of the companies he works with have multiple customer-facing roles, from Sales Development to Customer Success Reps.
“To have all those different roles collaborate effectively, they need to be tied by something,“ says De Kouchkovsky. “That something is a process. As companies start to implement a sales process, they find that it becomes a key differentiator — their secret sauce — unique to them.”
De Kouchkovsky works with companies at different growth stages. Early stage companies typically bring him in once they reach their first ten customers. “Half of these early customers tend to be friends while the remaining half are true wins, acquired on the merits of their technology and people. They are getting to the point where they think they are cracking the recipe,“ says De Kouchkovsky. “I help build an execution machine to get past their first million in annual recurring revenue.”
The main way he does that is by talking to the company’s clients. “After three to five interviews, I get a very good sense why people decided to put cycles and money into a solution and why they chose a company.” That’s the starting point for building a repeatable sales process.
You should be able to place your offering into one of three categories: improving how things are already done, doing things differently or doing completely new things. Each category needs a different sales process.
“Transformative offerings usually transcend department’s boundaries,” says De Kouchkovsky. “You need to accommodate in your sales process the dynamic of figuring out who is going to own the solution within the company and what other stakeholders need to vet the decision.”
Another important parameter in a sales process is the deal size. “The average deal size is a very good proxy for the project complexity, the numbers of decision makers involved and the validation you have to go through.”
Sketching a sales process is often an iterative process. “People start from a blank sheet of paper and draw a process like an engineer would draw a flowchart, with stages, decision blocks, and things like that,” says De Kouchkovsky. “Laying out these elements allows identifying very quickly handovers between the various roles”.
A defined process also sets the foundation for measurement. Once the process is instrumented, the remainder of the game is about monitoring, understanding, and improving.
Once a process is in place, updating it by reviewing what works, what needs to be changed and what can be improved is essential. Most Inside sales organizations have adopted the discipline of weekly meetings to share this information. “In addition, good companies have a formal quarterly review.” says De Kouchkovsky. “That is often when changes get documented.”