This article originally appeared on Forbes.

Optimizing sales should be an ever-present, number one priority for all organizations. How do you test and validate your sales process? You need to understand the complexity and potential holes in your revenue generation system. A revenue generation system includes the people, tools, technologies and processes used in the sales process. To evaluate how your approach is performing, you need to break it down and analyze each part of the system.

First, list the people you have and the people you might need who have a touchpoint with the customer — from demand generation to customer services. To assess gaps, consider your sales funnel. Do you need more selling opportunities, or would you increase close rates if you had more seasoned team members with subject matter expertise? By breaking out sales activities and evaluating who owns each part of the process, you will see both training opportunities and what you might be missing entirely from a human capital standpoint.

Tools include things that enhance and educate during the process, like lead generation campaigns, your website and content such as blogs and white papers. Break down the prospect journey and record each touchpoint. Do you have a lead generator that introduces your product or service, positioning that differentiates you from competitors, case studies that provide testimonials from happy clients? As you get closer to a buyer’s decision, these sales tools should become more personalized to address a prospect’s need.

Technologies should incorporate automation and tracking systems, like CRM, email or marketing automation, and AI. Companies leveraging technology can eclipse their competitors by automating sales followups and customer revival communications and using behavior insights to prioritize their sales team’s time. The process should detail everything from list-building to demos through the close. Do you see any gaps? Use a 1-5 scale or red, yellow, green color system to rate each section’s effectiveness.

Exceed Customer Expectations

How do you build customer value and experience into your revenue generation engine? Include the external insights and feedback of customer expectations and their buying journey with how you train and enable your sales, marketing and operations teams.

Interviews, surveys and review data arm you with the information you need to enhance your customers’ experiences with your product or service. Think about Google, Yelp or Amazon reviews and how much they influence your buying decisions. In a B2B company, customer and employee feedback is just as important and will become an increasingly visible part of your brand’s reputation.

But great experiences don’t just happen. It requires involving your employees at all levels and functions in masterminding and managing an exceptional experience. I recommend establishing a documented and visual statement of how the experience should look and feel. Make sure it becomes part of your onboarding education with new hires and gets reviewed regularly to evolve with your customers’ changing needs.

Customers want to be heard and included in their relationships with your brand. Creating a consistent feedback loop improves satisfaction and gives insights into opportunities to expand a product line, offer something that a competitor does not and increase customer stickiness.

Measure It

There’s a famous quote that says, “What gets measured, gets managed.” How does your organization measure its sales success beyond revenue and profit targets? If you do not measure sales and marketing at specific funnel stages, you will not start optimizing. You need to establish the marketing and sales funnel steps and set clear metrics for each phase and tactic. Creating a dashboard measures the impact sales and marketing is making on acquiring new customers and provides a direct link between your efforts and business results.

Without sales, there is no growth. Investing in improving sales effectiveness will have a substantial impact on your business. Creating a revenue generation system, capturing customer feedback and tracking results will build a scalable process that evolves with your business.

Kathy Steele


Meet The Author

I am passionate about people, obsessed with helping businesses grow, and love to support the underdog cause in my community. As a business leader, I'm an educated risk-taker who persevered through challenging economic conditions and a business divorce to be a two-time honoree on Inc. Magazines Annual List of America's Fastest-Growing Private Companies.

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