As part of our Partnering for Excellence Best Practice Sharing interview series, I got the opportunity to sit down with Mark Elliot, President of 3i International to discuss how they’ve developed their sales processes to maximise the opportunities in their market.

3i International are a Xerox Document Technology Partner (DTP) based in Houston, Texas – and I think you’ll agree that Mark has some very interesting insights to share with channel partners. Here is the video interview and you can read the transcript below the video.

TG

Hey Mark, we have been talking about how process and execution has been so important to the success of your business, can you kind of elaborate on some of the processes you use in your business to drive success

ME

Sure, well Tom thanks for having me here today. You know, as we discussed earlier we really feel that in this competitive marketplace you must systematize the sales processes in order to leverage today’s efforts and really be able to maximize them for long term growth and sustainability.

We feel that there are five core components of an effective sales management program and as you define this within your own business, regardless of how many steps there are, we would really encourage you to organise around business function. Then around those functions build systems and allow the systems to run the business and the people to run the systems. People may come and go, but the systems will always be in place.

TG

Are these technology systems, or people systems, or both?

ME

Well I think it comes down to people, process and technology. I think it was said best by Michael Gerber in a book that he wrote called the e-myth. He said that in order for any business to succeed it must first become a system so that that system functions the same way every time down to the last detail

TG

Yes then customers know what to expect from you as well

ME

Absolutely

TG

Are there any best practices that you have within your sales management process that you could share?

ME

So, we feel that the core foundation is a piece of technology within the process and you have to have a CRM – a customer retention program to be able to mine your data, market to your data and that really becomes step one. That then is followed by lead generation, and then pipeline or sales process, management of that pipeline, that leads to forecasting and then probably to the most effective or important matter that’s out there that is cashflow projections.

TG

Absolutely. How about from a customer acquisition perspective – is there anything unique that you guys do?

ME

You know, our system really starts with mining UCC (Uniform Commercial Code)  data, so we know where ripe opportunities are in the market. They are run by an internal marketing development business group, that finds leads, hands them over to the salespeople and then the salespeople start to take over the relationship and that’s really where the sales management process starts.

TG

Obviously, the systems that you have didn’t happen overnight, you’ve evolved them over time. So what advice do you have for other folks out there that are looking to improve their processes.

ME

You know I think you have to document them. Until they are documented and published, they don’t exist. Until you have taken a process and put it in the field and watched it fail, and have the opportunity to correct the deficiencies within the process, you can’t get to the final outcome of something that works effectively every time.

TG

That’s great – well I appreciate the insight, it’s great be able to sit down with you for a little bit, thank you very much.

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