February 11, 2019


For the majority of B2B companies, a formulated sales and marketing process is a must. There are simply too many moving parts in each deal to simply “go with the flow” or rely on someone’s instincts. The same applies to government sales, where winning just one contract can keep a firm flush with revenue for years to come. Why not maximize the chances of winning the bid by sticking with a winning formula?

To this end, in addition to our flagship sales training seminars, we also offer a specific sales and marketing process improvement workshop. It’s a hands-on event that covers a 20-step sales process our clients customize for their own businesses. In this post I am going to provide a checklist help you develop or improve your own, but first let’s explore what the key ingredients for successful processes are.

5 Key ingredients for successful sales and marketing processes

  1. Written down so they can be studied and referred to again and again
  2. Not dependent on one single person’s performance, but rather emphasize teamwork
  3. Assigns responsibility for tasks to specific team members or groups in order to foster accountability
  4. Provide specific, actionable steps — but not so rigid as to prevent creativity
  5. Progress trackable by sales manager or other oversight mechanism

Is the work necessary to develop a formal process really worth it, or is this just some nice administrative exercise? As we explain to attendees of our sales and marketing process improvement workshop, sales processes not only keep salespeople from reinventing the wheel, but also engender accountability for tasks and provide a way to monitor progress for the key accounts you are trying to win. It is for these reasons that we strongly advise our customers to use the five key ingredients and our 20-step template to work out their own.

Checklist: basic sales and marketing process

Here are some of the most important items that we stress in our sales and marketing process improvement workshop. Included are some questions intended to inspire deeper thinking on each point.

  • Identify the needs of each type of buyer in the organization
    • What are the economic buyer’s needs as far as payment terms, budget, etc.?
    • How do we satisfy the end user, the one who will actually utilize our offering in their day to day work?
    • What technical specs will IT/engineering require from us?
    • Who is our insider, or how can we develop one? What’s our strategy for them to help us land the account?
  • Assemble the key players who will work as a team to land the account
    • Who has the best “connection” (rapport) with the decision makers we’ve identified?
    • Who has had success with this type of account before?
    • In addition to our salespeople, do we need to involve someone from marketing, operations, or the C-suite to present a compelling case?
  • Analyze your competitors
    • What are our strengths when compared to our top competitors?
    • And our weaknesses?
  • What will it cost us to pursue this opportunity?
    • What bespoke marketing should we do specifically for this account?
    • How much will it cost to produce a prototype?
    • What will our travel expenses and entertainment budget be?
  • What is our offer to the buyer(s)
    • From our line-up of products and services, what is the best package of solutions to satisfy their needs?
    • What items can we upsell and cross-sell, either now or in the near future?
  • What is our expected ROI?
    • Specifically, what is the expected revenue for the first two years?
    • Is this deal worth pursuing from a financial perspective?
  • Develop arguments for choosing us
    • We have done this before (prepare case studies and testimonials)
    • Who we can partner with synergistically to help fill in any gaps in capacity or otherwise improve our solution?
    • What is our USP?
    • Why should they choose us and not the competition (without bad-mouthing them)?
  • ROI Analysis for buyer
    • How soon will our solution pay for itself, or reduce costs?
    • Why should they fund this?
  • What are potential objections and how can we address them?
    • What objections do we face most often from this type of buyer, and how do we address these?
    • How can we “brag“ about our weaknesses to turn them into benefits?
  • Design the presentation and strategize the contact
    • What messaging is going to resonate most with these specific buyers?
    • Did we write effective scripts and role play multiple scenarios?
    • Should we produce a video or other presentation tool?
    • How will we break the ice and get the appointment? Can we bring our insider into play here?
  • Review/Forensics
    • If we closed the deal, what did we do right?
    • If we didn’t, what’s our next step?
    • What can we do better next time?

This checklist provides a rudimentary process for B2B deals which you can use right away. If you would like further guidance, please inquire about our sales and marketing process improvement workshop.