If you want to grow your business, you can’t count on new clients falling out of the sky.

It takes a concerted effort to acquire new customers and to grow existing accounts.

And if you want to get the most out of the efforts you put forth, you need to establish a sales development process for your agency.

This is arguably one of the most effective ways to ensure you’re targeting the right audience while eliminating waste.

Let’s take a closer look at how to develop a sales process that really works – and why you need one in the first place.

What is a Sales Development Process?

Before we dive in, let’s talk about what a sales strategy development process even is.

You’re probably very familiar with the concept of a sales funnel and its stages. Basically, a sales development process is a set of procedures or steps that will bring a prospect through the sales funnel – a best practice that you can use to guide them along their buyer’s journey.

More specifically, the sales development process helps your team to identify the best leads and get them ready to convert to customers. It involves vetting potentials and transitioning those who qualify from one stage to the next.

As you can see in the graphic above, we’ve given examples of ways to move your prospects from stage to stage. And as you might have guessed, a sales development process has repeatable (and relatively predictable) steps. It’s your roadmap that you’ll use to help the customer along the conversion path.

Why Do Successful Agencies Need a Sales Strategy Development Process?

You might say to yourself, “I’m naturally a people person. I have sales experience and I know what I’m doing. Why do I need to put in the extra work to hammer out a sales development process?”

All of those things may well be true – but that doesn’t mean you can wing it.

Even the most successful seasoned salespeople have a specific process or formula to follow.

What’s more, your sales team doesn’t exist in a bubble. The work you do has a direct impact on (and is directly impacted by) your brand’s marketing efforts.

Knowing how to develop a sales process – and follow it! – can help your agency coordinate its sales and marketing strategies for a more cohesive approach.

Think of it this way: without a sales development process, everything your marketing team does to reach the right leads will be all for naught. You could also be leaving your newest sales team members out to dry.

By giving your sales team a solid foundation and framework, they’ll help you build your brand.

To break it down, here are a few specific reasons why you should develop a sales process for your agency:

  • You’ll be more effective at identifying qualified leads
  • You won’t waste time on leads that don’t convert
  • You’ll have a consistent, agency-wide process to follow
  • You’ll be able to troubleshoot and address missed opportunities
  • You can train your sales team more efficiently
  • You’ll get the most possible out of your marketing efforts
  • You can experience expedited growth and profitability

Having a sales development process can help your operations run smoothly while minimizing waste, maximizing resources, and improving close rates and client satisfaction. Implementing this type of process can totally transform your ability to grow your business.

With that in mind, how exactly do you develop a sales process for your marketing agency? We’re giving you a step-by-step guide below to get you started.

How to Develop a Sales Process: Your Step-By-Step Guide

Your sales development process doesn’t have to be overly complicated. In fact, it should be easy to understand and follow!

Let’s say a lead has come in. For us, that looks like someone filling out a contact form, downloading a resource or business tool, or signing up for our newsletter.

It might look slightly different for your agency – but a potential customer has expressed initial interest in working with you. So what comes next?

Step 1: Connect and Qualify

If you have a Sales Development Representative (SDR), they’ll be the initial contact for this lead.

Assuming the lead hasn’t taken the step to book a call quite yet, your SDR will schedule a call with the lead – but only if it’s determined that they are a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). Alternatively, your marketing department can make this determination.

Being an MQL simply means that the prospect gets through the first stage of qualification and is considered to be “sales ready.” For you, that might mean they’re a current business owner in your area. Or it might mean they’re operating within a certain industry anywhere in the United States.

Some research goes into this qualification and the lead will need to meet a basic set of criteria to be considered an MQL. If the SDR decides the lead does meet that criteria, they’ll schedule a call with the lead.

Step 2: Pass Them Along

From there, the SDR will determine whether the lead is a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). SQL criteria are a bit more advanced than with an MQL. They might need to meet a budgetary threshold or they may be looking for the specific services you offer, for example. Being an SQL essentially means that the lead is primed to become a potential customer.

If the lead is an SQL, your SDR will pass the lead along to your Sales Engineer (SE). If the lead is not an SQL, another action is taken to potentially ready the lead for sales qualification at a later date.

Regardless, both your SDR and SE should take careful notes to assess which leads are of the highest priority and to remember important details from each call.

Step 3: Personalize and Present

Once your SE takes over, they will perform thorough research on the lead. They’ll use that research to create and present a personalized deck to the SQL.

This deck can contain more information about what differentiates your brand, as well as specific recommendations or takeaways for the client.

Your SE should reach out to the lead before the deck is presented to ensure their questions, concerns, and top priorities are included in the presentation.

Step 4: Create a Transition Plan

Let’s assume that the prospect likes what they’ve heard so far and wants to move forward with you to the next step. This is when you’d enter the proposal phase.

Your SE will create a proposal that you’d theoretically follow to get the campaign started. For us, this involves a transition plan that covers the specifics of onboarding end clients and the SEO activities (or deliverables) we’d recommend for success.

The SE will share the proposal with the client and meet with them to review it.

If this final step goes well, you’ll move forward with onboarding. For us, that involves setting up a call between the client and their new account manager at Semify, signing off on paperwork, and getting the client set up in our white label SEO dashboard.

These four simple steps can help your team get organized and zero in on the leads that matter most. In the end, that will translate to a quicker and more successful sales process.

Solidify Your Sales Process For Long-Term Success

If your sales strategy development process is severely lacking or your approach to sales is only loosely defined, putting the work in upfront can make for smooth sailing later.

With all of the benefits in mind, it simply makes sense to take these few extra steps. By developing a solid sales process, you’ll get more out of your marketing efforts, see increases in closed deals, reduce time spent, and maximize profits for your agency.