A high-performing sales function is the driving force behind business growth, helping organizations to invest in talent, equipment, and innovations. So, it’s a concern that two-fifths of organizations missed their revenue targets in 2020. If your business is falling short of its sales goals, it could be time to carry out a sales audit.
A sales audit is your opportunity to evaluate your sales process and identify ways to fine-tune your approach to help your business hit its revenue goals.
While the word “audit” makes the task sound a little intimidating, in reality, it’s relatively straightforward. While carrying out your sales audit, you’ll scrutinize the various elements of your process – from initial prospecting to product demos and pitch meetings – to discover the bottlenecks or missing parts that are preventing you from closing more deals.
Despite its name, the sales audit shouldn’t solely involve the sales function. Marketing needs to be involved, too. While your marketing strategy isn’t part of the sales audit, input from both teams can help to build stronger bonds and encourage more effective collaboration, which in turn can improve sales performance.
By design, much of the sales audit is based on quantitative data. You want to use cold, hard numbers to understand exactly where prospects are dropping out of your sales funnel. But many organizations also introduce a qualitative element to the sales audit, speaking to customers and prospects who’ve been through the sales process (either successfully or unsuccessfully) to gain an outside perspective.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to sales audits. Rather, they should be tailored to fit the specific goals and requirements of your business. However, the following steps should be included in every sales audit:
No matter how detailed your sales process is, there will almost certainly be gaps between the moment you first identify a prospect and the point when they sign on the dotted line. Actively look for problems at every step. For instance:
Today, virtually every sales team relies on a wide range of tools to perform essential sales tasks. An average sales team might use:
Be honest. Is your sales stack up to standard? Or do you need to invest in new technology?
Content plays a crucial role in the sales process. Consider the following statistics:
In other words, without high-quality case studies, testimonials, ebooks, and webinars – and various other content types, too – it becomes much harder for your sales reps to convert prospects into paying customers.
Examine your sales content as part of the sales audit. Is it of a high enough standard? Are you missing any key assets? Is it effectively personalized toward your buyer personas?
In an ideal world, your reps would spend the vast majority of their time and effort speaking to the leads who are most likely to buy.
However, in reality, this might not be the case. Plenty of sales teams waste a lot of resource answering questions and dealing with objections from prospects who just aren’t a good fit for their product. They might not have the budget, they may have an overly complex buying process, or they might not have an immediate need for a solution.
Rate your current lead quality. If it’s missing the mark, consider introducing a lead-scoring system (or if you already have one, consider tightening it up).
Don’t rely solely on your own analysis and opinions – listen to people who’ve actually been through your sales process, whether or not they ultimately bought. Find out how the process looked from their perspective, and where they feel it could be improved.
Ready to run your own sales audit, but aren’t sure where to start? Use the following questions to guide your direction:
Think of the absolute best-case scenario: you carry out your sales audit, make some key changes to your sales process, and see an immediate upturn in performance.
Even if that happens, it doesn’t mean your sales auditing days are over. Make audits a regular part of your sales process, committing time every year to review it in full and iron out any kinks.
After all, your product and personas, and the wider competitive landscape, all change over time. Your sales process needs to keep pace.