Working with a Lean Crew? Get Shipshape with a Better Sales and Marketing Process. Jessica Lunk When you started your small business, you scrambled to stay afloat – stomping out fires and reacting to immediate challenges. With a bare-bones team, everyone pitched in and wore as many hats as needed. As your SMB has grown, you’ve been able to add more team members and normalize some of your processes. But you aren’t quite the well-oiled machine you’d like to be. You could add more employees to decrease the overlap between roles – but new team members are a big investment for small businesses. Your challenge is to continue to serve and grow your customer base without adding hefty expenses. For small businesses teetering on the edge of hiring more employees or doing more with less, intelligent growth is vital. It’s all about putting together the best people, process, and technology to help your business run at its highest efficiency. When you’re pushing your resources, but not ready to add extra workforce, a better sales and marketing process can help fill in the gaps. Start by defining roles within your team: Marketing: Marketing feeds your database with quality leads and opportunities through engaging campaigns. Sales: The sales team divvies up sales opportunities between them, qualifies leads, and converts opportunities into customers. Fulfillment: Fulfillment delivers upon the agreement made during the sales cycle. Service and Support: The support team handles customer issues. In many small business scenarios, the same people may fill more than one of these roles. That’s why defining roles and responsibilities is even more imperative. When everyone on your team knows their part in the bigger picture, they can prioritize their day and less stuff falls through the cracks. Next, define your process: Marketing: What qualifies as a lead? How can marketing warm up prospects through lead nurturing? When does a lead become an opportunity? How are opportunities handed off to the sales team? Sales: How are new opportunities qualified and assigned to team members? What is the process for following up with opportunities? What does a needs analysis look like? Fulfillment: How do implementation or order teams receive the information they need from sales? Support: How is sales and marketing alerted to customer issues? Ironing out your process helps identify areas where tasks are being duplicated, and sets the stage for implementing technology to further automate processes. Now, automate your process with the right small business CRM: Can you automate or eliminate manual tasks to free up resources for revenue-driven activity? Can you add value to customers through organization and personalization, keeping them engaged without draining your resources? Can you score leads so that the sales team is engaging with prospects who are ready to buy, instead of spending lots of time trying to sell to people still in research mode? Can picture your sales cycle as a whole so you can see if you are hitting your targets? For small business owners, the goal is always growth. With an optimized sales and marketing process powered by CRM, your small business can really open its sails, growing your customer base without growing your team.