Implementing new sales processes for continued growth in the B2B tech sector

Established in 2003 by Matthew Stibbe, Articulate Marketing works with clients in the B2B technology sector, driving growth strategies through data-driven marketing initiatives.

After a period of rapid growth that saw an increase in turnover of 30% at the end of the 2021/22 financial year, Matthew recognised that to continue to support the new business pipeline, he needed some help...

The challenge

Matthew was looking for expertise, a second opinion and counsel that could provide him with some impetus to help drive the business forward. While there was a team of three salespeople in place, Matthew felt there was scope to achieve more by looking at implementing new sales processes and considering how skillsets could be upgraded to support both business and employee development.

The solution

The first action the Firestarter team carried out was to work through a five-step process to help articulate the sales proposition. While previously it had been something that existed only in Matthew’s head, getting it down on paper so that everyone fully understood what the business was actually selling, was an important starting point.

Then came the focus on the sales process itself, re-engineering it and looking specifically at different stages such as connect, discovery and proposal calls; identifying what’s involved in each stage, the information needed and how to progress to the next stage. This collaborative process helped to create a sales process manual.

Finally, a series of new processes and tools were introduced and embedded within the team, including sales forecasting, weekly reporting, quota setting, pipeline management and quarterly reporting.

This created a completely new approach to managing sales within Articulate Marketing – we call it ‘rhythm and rigour’, focusing on regular and consistent actions and updates to ensure progress is made. The team took a hands-on approach to this, attending weekly meetings and establishing robust and accurate forecasts and reports. It was this visibility that helped to build trust with the whole team.

This was all established during the first five months of the relationship, enabling Matthew to confidently take on the role of sales manager. Alongside the CFO, who looked after the reporting that was a feature of Firestarter’s rhythm and rigour approach, the processes which had been embedded became a fundamental part of how the business was run.

They’d been given the tools and were now able to implement them.

The result

“As they say, ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ and that’s why I decided to bring Firestarter on board. If you run a business, sales is at the heart of it, but it can sometimes be a worry and I don’t think I necessarily knew how take things to the next level.

“What I really liked about Firestarter was that they listened to what I was saying, recognised it and then offered a solution. They gave us more method, more thought, more consistency.

“The step-change and processes they introduced to the way we did things also helped the team to grow in confidence. We now have the right people on board, doing the right things in the right way.

“The Firestarter team helped to instil accountability, making sure everyone understood their role and how to use data to track progress and make any adjustments as necessary. With them attending weekly meetings there wasn’t anywhere to hide. The outcome has been a team who is accountable and clear-eyed about what’s going on.

“While it might seem counterintuitive that I took the sales role back into my own hands, I needed to spend time in the saddle myself. This then put me in a stronger position when hiring, as I knew exactly what was needed to get results. Firestarter helped me to understand what needed improving, both sales-wise and operationally, and I now have a much clearer picture of how things should be done.

“Ultimately, charm and a little black book of contacts will only get you so far in sales. Bigger business benefits can be found in adopting a sales process that is teachable and also scalable, something Firestarter has helped us to do.”

Matthew Stibbe