Controls are the specialized systems that you implement in your company that make sure that your team is doing the right things, at the right time, to produce the desired results.
The best controls make the default behavior the right behavior. And they empower your team to get better results with less effort by giving them immediate feedback and a more defined playing field.
You don't want your controls to be a police officer hiding in a speed trap to catch and ticket an unwary team member. Rather, you want your controls to be more like a speedometer or cruise control system that helps individual team members autonomously do better work.
Building strong internal controls is not about you, the business owner, being in control, but rather enhancing and giving control to your business.
To scale your company, you want your team to have the authority to get tasks done without running everything past you. To do so, you want to make sure there are safeguards in place to protect the business and give your team the feedback it needs to make adjustments and stay on course.
Here is a quick list of 10 of the most powerful sales and marketing "controls" that will help your company be more consistent with its sales and marketing efforts.
1. Strong tracking with an easy to use scoreboard to SEE how your marketing and sales strategies and tactics are performing. As Ted, head of marketing at my company Maui Mastermind constantly reminds me, "David, we need to see what the data is telling us, not just go off on a feeling."
What are your winners? What are your losers? If you don't have actual numbers to look at, you're flying blind.
2. Clear, written contracts with sales team members that your attorney has reviewed. If 20 years of building companies has taught me anything, it's this: your highest risk for potential disputes or HR issues comes from your sales team. Get these contracts clear and bulletproof.
3. Control of database. Who has access to what sections of your database? Can they "view only" or "download"? Does your database create a clear audit trail of who does what?
Also make sure you have clear "proprietary information" agreements in place protecting the confidential nature of your database from any team member, internal or external, who has access to the database. Also, require sales people to use only company-controlled contact phone numbers, email addresses, social media accounts, etc. with clients. They should never be expected or allowed to give out personal contact information, all contact should flow through company controlled contact mechanisms.
4. Control of social media accounts. Do you have your staff posting to social media sites? Who owns those accounts? Do you have a log of all key passwords? Do you control the email addresses associated with those accounts? Do you have a written policy about ownership of social media accounts used for the business? Your company should own all your business accounts and those used for business of your staff.
5. Standardized sales paperwork. This includes boiler plate language in your proposals. It also includes clear and attorney-reviewed sales contracts you use with all clients.
6. Written master marketing calendar. Perhaps no other marketing control is as powerful as this simple visual control. By creating and following your Master Marketing Calendar, you've got in one place the key deadlines and review dates to make sure your marketing campaigns stay on track.
7. Standardized scripting. Ever wonder what you sales people are saying or how they describe your product or service on the phone or at an in-person sales meeting? Think of how much money you invest to generate these sales opportunities, don't leave the sales outcome to chance. Model your best sales person and create your baseline sales scripting.
Over time, test various components of the sales scripting to see which converts at the highest level.
8. Standardized order terms with a formal policy for approval of any variation. If you've ever felt overwhelmed trying to fulfill on the "special deals" your sales staff has made to close business, or frustrated that they've given away too much of your margin, a formal order terms and preapproved list of concessions, with a formal approval process for any variation will help you.
It gives you a balance of some flexibility for your sales team to adjust to close the sale, but also respects you're company's need to ensure any new work is profitable.
9. Require completed sales paperwork before any commission owed. If you pay a commission to your sales staff, and hope they'll go back to collect the signed paperwork and collect on any down payment, you'll find yourself frustrated and angry. Instead, make all commissions payable only after initial payment and paperwork has been collected.
10. Set minimum performance levels for sales team. Make sure to give yourself the written flexibility to change these minimum performance levels at any time with written notice to your sales team. (See point 2 above.)
If you enjoyed the ideas I shared, then I encourage you to download a free copy of my newest book, Build a Business, Not a Job. Click here for full details and to get your complimentary copy.