Ten Ways to Grow Sales Now

CartoonDespite the improving unemployment rate and positive economic indicators, many B2B companies are stuck in slow and no growth modes.

How can these companies re-kindle growth and increase sales?

  1. Instill passion into the business
    1. As the leader, exude energy, urgency and speed and demand it from all your other managers.
    2. Your example will be contagious.
    3. But, don’t be a dour taskmaster; instead, along with the urgency and healthy tension, maintain a climate of fun and humor.

 

  1. Perform with current customers
    1. Operational fulfillment – give your current customers what they want when they want it.
    2. Simple and accurate billing.
    3. Accessible and excellent customer service with a “can do” attitude to solving the customer’s problem then and there.
    4. Responsiveness – return phone calls quickly, respond to E-Mails promptly, do what you say.
    5. Reach out and speak with the customer – a simple phone call or visit will work wonders in ensuring that your good customers do not feel forgotten or neglected.

 

  1. Grow current customers
    1. The easiest customer to sell to is the one that is already buying from you
      1. Increase share of wallet
    2. Make it easier for the customer to buy from you
      1. Custom shopping lists
      2. Reach out over the phone
      3. Buy on the website
  1. Build a robust pipeline of new customers by developing, executing, and tracking a list of new prospects
    1. How do you determine good prospects?
      1. Customers that used to buy from you and no longer do so
      2. Customers that your competitors sell to
      3. Customers gleaned from scrubbed (the job of marketing) lead lists
      4. Customers that you read about in local business magazines
    2. Choose 20 of the most promising
      1. Get in front of the prospects
        1. Drive success with the short term prospects
        2. Nurture the medium and long term prospects
    3. Track visits and activities
    4. Keep the pipeline visible to all levels of management

 

  1. Management throughout the organization focuses on creating selling time (and capacity) to allow the sales managers to manage and the salespeople to sell
    1. What distractions can be reduced or eliminated to ensure that sales are in front of customers?
      1. What reports can be eliminated?
      2. What meetings can be shortened or eliminated altogether?
    2. How can management take problems away from the sales team?
    3. Communication is kept short, simple and to the point
      1. Long, detailed explanations are usually irrelevant
    4. Measure the percent of time that sales management is focused on growing sales and the amount of time that the sales team is making sales calls.

 

  1. Upper management leads by example in setting clear targets and holding accountable
    1. In creating urgency and accountability, upper management will often feel like they are being “nags” or micro-managers.
    2. But, that is necessary to ensure that what needs to get done is done and a culture of accountability and “no excuses” permeates the company.
    3. Upper management ensures that the sales managers are truly managing their sales teams.
      1. Managing people and process, not tasks

 

  1. Sales managers create accountability with their sales teams
    1. Set clear and achievable targets and objectives
    2. Follow up
    3. Hold accountable for doing the activities and behaviors that will help the sales team reach its targets and objectives

 

  1. Sales managers focus on improving their core salespeople
    1. The best salespeople just need to be pointed in the right direction, given the proper incentives, and allowed to go out and slay dragons
    2. The under-performers need to be acted upon immediately
      1. Analyze their under-performance – their actual results and the activities, behaviors, and selling skills that caused their poor results.
      2. Cut under-performers loose or give them a short time frame to improve their activities, behaviors and results.
      3. Bring in aggressive, hungry salespeople who are eager to learn and excited to win.
    3. The middle 80%, the core performers, need to be the focus of management attention and time.
      1. Improving the sales effectiveness of this group will pay the largest dividends.
        1. Through coaching and training
        2. Sales ride alongs
        3. Holding accountable

 

  1. The good salesperson leverages every company resource possible to help grow sales in their territory
    1. Customer service
    2. Operations
    3. Sales support
    4. Telesales / Telemarketing group
    5. National / corporate sales resources
    6. The company website and on-line business team
    7. Sales management, up to and including the President
      1. For advice and mentoring
      2. To lend support or sufficient authority to a sales call when needed to close a sale

 

  1. The salespeople are coached to enhance their effectiveness
    1. They have a strategy for their territory focused on the most important customers and product lines
    2. They have a plan of action to execute this strategy each week
    3. They have a plan of action for the day
      1. Maximizing customer visits while minimizing drive time
    4. They have a plan for each call
      1. For what specific problem does the customer need your solution?
    5. They listen to the customer and focus on the customer’s hot buttons
      1. WII-FM – What is in it for me (the customer)?
    6. They follow up with the customer
    7. They track their activity
      1. To record what they have said to the customer
      2. To know when they need to get back in touch with the customer

That’s All.

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About David Shedd

David has been a President - CEO - COO of an up to $350M group of manufacturing, distribution, specialty retail and services companies, having led 22 different businesses from turnarounds to start-ups to fast growth companies.
This entry was posted in Growth and Strategy, Improve / Turnaround, Sales and Marketing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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