Sales Audit Process: 5 Sales Audit Steps to Better Forecast & Plan Spend

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Is your sales audit process working for you? Does your business even have one? Do you find it difficult to identify the best way to plan and forecast?

You’re not alone.

Business forecasting and planning go hand-in-hand. Without an end of year revenue goal, it’s difficult for your teams to build plans that hit those growth targets. Moreover, without solid forecasting techniques, it’s difficult to make a business cases for marketing expenses and activities. 

Most businesses want for at least every dollar out to generate two back in –– the 2:1 return on spend ratio. But you can get an even more golden ratio than this, and the secret is in your sales team. 

Sales revenue depends solely upon the sales team, right? (Wrong).

Your sales team’s ability to pitch leads, qualify them, and close not only drives revenue for you business, but also gives your marketing organization the ability to justify spend for events, ads, and more based on how many leads and therefore how many customers the spend will produce. 

For instance, if investing in a podcast sponsorship section, the marketing team estimates the business will generate 150 leads, the sales organization will need to pull on historical performance to help the organization understand how many of those leads will turn into customers.

Say, on average, the team gets 50% of the leads on the phone and closes 25% of those. That gets you 18 new customers. Based on your margins and business model, you can more accurately predict if those 18 customers will generate enough revenue to make the spend on the podcast worth the investment. 

To get this information, you’ll need to do a sales audit. 

What is a sales audit?

A sales audit is a deep dive analysis into historical sales and marketing data to get a full look at the sales funnel from prospects to customers. Many organizations combine this quantitative audit work with qualitative audit work in the form of win/loss calls. 

It’s important to stress that both your sales and your marketing organizations be involved in this. 

Questions to ask in the sales audit process

During the sales audit process, your goal is to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the average number of leads we generate in a given time period?
  2. How many of those leads are we able to qualify via marketing activities?
  3. How many of the marketing qualified leads are we able to pitch? 
  4. Of the leads we are able to pitch, how many become sales qualified leads?
  5. Of the sales qualified leads, how many do we close?
  6. On average, how long does it take for a prospect to become a customer? Does this vary by acquisition channel? 
  7. Which marketing nurture streams are engaging the prospects the most, and which have underperforming open and click rates? The goal here is to increase the number of marketing qualified leads.
  8. What content might be helpful to increase the number of marketing qualified leads that we are able to pitch? The goal here is to increase the number of sales qualified leads. 
  9. What content might be helpful to improve the sales qualified lead to close rate? 
  10. Do we have enough leads coming in for our sales team to work?
  11. Do we need additional sales team members? 
  12. What is each individual team member’s own stats look like? How can this information help them to improve or learn from others? 

How do you do a sales audit?

There are various sales audit methods and techniques based on the CRM software you use, your business model, and more. In general, there are five overarching components you want to evaluate. 

1. Your sales process and road map:
This is an analysis of the process, flow or funnel you have built for leads on their path to becoming a customer. Is this current process helping your team to hit their goal? Where are the cracks that customers are falling through?

This is where the percentages of visitor to lead, lead to marketing qualified lead, marketing qualified lead to sales qualified lead, and sales qualified lead to close can help you spot gaps.

2. Your sales tools and content assets:
Are there manual tasks your sales team is doing that is disrupting flow or distracting them? You may need a new tool, or to optimize and better organize the tools you have. The same is true with content built for the marketing team. Is it still relevant? Does it need to be updated? And, is it easy to find and share with leads when needed?

Finally, are there additional assets your sales team for the year to fill in the gaps –– maybe a webinar, or a tweetchat?

3. The quality of your existing leads:
Be sure to account for possible low lead quality when looking at sales percentages and gaps. Maybe prospects are being handed from marketing to your sales team too early and your lifecycle marketing funnel needs to be adjusted.

Or, maybe the team heavily invested in PR the year before, which drove a ton of visibility, but was more top of the funnel and leads need to be better nurtured and have their trust for the company built. Whatever it is –– both sales and marketing are responsible here and have roles to play in improving lead quality.

4. Your reporting:
This is a deep dive look at your data and the reports you use to measure success at every week and month. Are these serving the team well? Are they accurate? Do you need to do a data clean up to get a better picture and help keep the team on track?

Do you have the tools you need to provide sales (and marketing) with robust reports and analytics that help them know your leads inside and out? Does the sales team need training on how to best use the CRM and the gathered prospect information at the contact level?

5. Sales effectiveness:
Some people call this sales synergy, but we’re not going to use that word. What this means is how is your sales team working with prospects, each other, and the overall company.

Your sales team isn’t on an island –– neither is your marketing team. How are individuals performing? What is that performance archetype? How can they be better motivated? The people side of sales begin with an internal lens at who you have on your team, if people are in the right roles, and how to enable folks to succeed. 

Don’t forget about customer service!

The last and final step in the sales audit process is to look at customer service. You’ve built a lead nurturing and conversion machine within your sales and marketing departments, and you are investing time to do a serious audit to update tools, build more content, and evaluate team effectiveness.

All of this work isn’t to just get more leads in as customers –– but also to encourage repeat purchases from your existing customers. 

The best way to drive and increase in qualified leads at the marketing level is word of mouth. Make your existing customers incredibly happy through an amazing funnel and customer service experience, and your pipeline for the next year is in the green. 

More sales, faster.
Happier reps. Happier customers.
The future of configure, price, quote is HERE.

Tracey Wallace
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Tracey Wallace

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