“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” - William A. Foster, U.S. Medal of Honor winner
Scaling a business is no joke. Here at Lucid Software, we’ve been in full-scale mode over the past few years as our products, Lucidchart has reached the five million users mark. As we’ve scaled, one thing has become abundantly clear. Scaling a business is about process. Developing a process, training team members how to execute on that process, and making the necessary adjustments to the process…oftentimes over and over again. This has been one of the hardest things to do, requiring discipline, executive and team member buy-in, and minimal ego (for all the times that you realize your process needs improvement!). This blog post will highlight one of the ways that we’ve been able to develop and institute an effective sales process.
Building an inbound sales process
One of the great benefits of having the most popular application in the Google Apps Marketplace is that finding users of our product hasn’t been a problem. In addition to our position in the Google Apps Marketplace, our award-winning marketing team has positioned Lucidchart well within the Atlassian Marketplace, iPad App Store, and Slack marketplace, among other locations. In 2014 we started receiving a lot of sales-related inquiries through our regular support channels. The inquiry volume increased to a point where we couldn't respond to customers in a timely manner. We made a strategic decision to build out sales processes focused on fast response time, frequent follow-ups, and a more aggressive sales approach. The first step was to understand our current support team members’ process when responding to sales leads. We quickly documented this process in a Lucidchart diagram:
As you can see, we were following up with a sales “lead” once a week for three weeks before we were “solving” the ticket. There was rarely any phone interaction, and we weren’t tracking these prospective buyers independent of our normal support ticket workflow. We concluded that our once a week follow-up was leading to a significant loss in interest from many of our inbound lead sources. As big fans of the InsideSales.com methodology, we knew that if we could speed up our response time and follow up more frequently (at much shorter intervals), we would see greater satisfaction with our customers and prospects and see a corresponding increase in revenue as well. Our next step was to design a new and improved process within Lucidchart:
They key process changes we made that led to tangible results:
- Responded as quickly as possible to inbound tickets/leads (with five minutes as the goal)
- Shortened the follow-up cycle considerably (to one day)
- Increased the follow-up cadence to six follow-ups instead of three
We dedicated a full-time sales resource to executing this process and saw immediate results. Our response time on inbound sales-support tickets decreased from an average of two to three hours to ~30 minutes. Furthermore, our response rates increased dramatically, with over half the incoming sales-related tickets resulting in a revenue generating outcome. The successful implementation of this process led to fantastic results at Lucid Software and created new and exciting problems. One such problem was deciding how our new sales professional would track all of the opportunities that he was chasing. The answer to this problem? Read all about it in the second half of our “Lucid Software Process: Building a Sales Organization” series.