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Not Getting Your Market Share? 5 Reasons Why.

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Your product or service could be reaching new heights of sales growth but perhaps it’s not. Understanding how to achieve top sales performance is both challenging and rewarding and it doesn’t solely come from passion. Often, it is a single, thought-out change that will make all the difference. The following factors must be addressed in order for the business to reach its full potential. We are constantly working with organisations who are lacking in one or two, if not more of these areas.

Here are five reasons you are not achieving the sales growth you believe you should be getting.

1-Strategy and Leadership.

An effective strategy comprises of the business vision and mission. The financial and operational objectives; the business or marketing strategy and the tactical plan on how the strategy will be executed. We have seen many gaps in strategies; often the problem lies with having too much information or too much detail. Other times, the strategy has not been built top down and bottom up; sometimes the problem is that no one knows about the strategy or indeed doesn’t identify with it. Without an effective business plan, your organisation will have different goals that will probably not line up with the Leader’s goals.

Hence the second half of the equation; Leadership. It takes leadership to build and execute an effective strategy. This means Leaders need to be on top of communication, priorities, KPI and activity measures to align with the strategy.

2-Sales Centric Organisation.

This is a significant point and is one of the biggest gaps in businesses wanting to get the sales growth they desire. This means that the entire organisation (sales, marketing, production, logistics, accounting, engineering etc.) is focused on supporting and achieving sales revenue from new and existing customers. This does not mean they all must do sales training and become deputy sales reps! On the contrary, it is a culture or a business mind set. Often, individuals’ roles will unknowingly sabotage sales growth, with the belief that ‘sales reps should be the only ones who are concerned with selling’. This can lead to a dip in sales growth and eventually, can see the demise of the business’ profitability.

3-Aligned Activities, System and Processes.

An organisation is going to be hard pressed in achieving the objectives if these essentials are not effectively in place. It means that the tasks that people carry out in any part of the business need to be aligned and coordinated to the common cause. The system(s) need to be integrated and visible across the entire organisation; The system must be a tool to expedite every department’s function that will ultimately drive sales growth. Likewise, processes (the alignment of activities) must be relevant to the strategy and promote visibility and cooperation through the entire organisation.

4-Skills and Knowledge.

Seemingly an obvious point but so often neglected. For people in the sales profession, skills need to be constantly honed through training or even just reading. This refers to sales skills plus market and product knowledge. Acquiring sales people who already have the skills and knowledge can be an effective strategy but it is not enough, as they need to up-date and refresh. For a Sales Centric Organisation, non-sales staff also need to have the pertinent sales related skills and/or knowledge.

A few years ago, on an inter-city flight, I sat next to one of this country’s greatest football coaches. After a quick chat, he excused himself because he wanted to read. He pulled out an old, well used book and went to a pre-marked page and began reading and taking notes. The book? Football coaching-an essential guide-written about 20 years before this day and obviously well used by this guy for as many years. It’s a good case study to highlight that this coach was not one of the best because he was born talented! Research has shown that salespeople often have not read a book, watched a video or referenced any material on sales, let alone taken a course ever. You would be right to question whether they are at optimum performance.

5-Structure, People and Motivation.

In many encounters, I have seen subtle glitches in these elements that are enough to stagnate the organisations sales revenue or inhibit the market share that it should be achieving. The wrong people in the role is a classic scenario. Motivation refers to the incentives that are in place, the team dynamics and having the tools in place to help people achieve their goals and manage the process. A big trap is believing that incentives alone will be enough to motivate people.

A sale’s Centric Organisation must have a structure that can execute the strategy. This involves the company’s internal structure as well as the value chain to sell and distribute the products and/or services. Getting the right mix of employees and agents/distributors/re-sellers; the right mix of digital, sales people and bricks & mortar; the right mix of company owned and outsourced.

I have written this article based on my experience plus the combined experiences of my colleagues across the Strategic Specialists Group; in Sydney, Newcastle, Central Coast, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. By all means get in touch if you would like to know more.

Written by Tony Collett – Regional Director for Central Coast, Newcastle & Hunter Valley.

Ph: 1300 384 733

Surprising Sales Techniques…All About Responsiveness

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Effective sales techniques have long been the subject of discussion. Cold calling, door knocking, email marketing, direct mailing – there are a myriad different ways to get customers’ attention… but how do you convert them to a sale?

While the debate rages on about the most effective sales process and medium, some enlightening statistics have emerged:

  1. 30-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.
  2. 80% of sales require 5 follow up calls after a meeting…44% of sales personnel give up after 1 follow up.
  3. If you follow up on online or phone leads within 5 minutes, the likelihood of conversion is 900% more.

So while we may spend our time strategising and agonising over the best ways and means to reach our target market, it seems that what customers want is attention. Like a jealous girlfriend they want us to prioritise them, respond to them immediately, take one overture as a sign for renewed contact. Customers want to feel like we value them enough to keep pursuing them (in a non-stalker way of course!). But its more than that – it’s about how responsive we are to our customers and prospects, and how timely our responses are.

The digital age and the advent of smart phones, has only amplified what has always been around – people look for responsiveness. We knew of a client who would step out of meetings to take or make calls to prospects, so that he could speak to them within 5 minutes of them sending a query. His sales were off the planet from this single factor alone.

Why then, when we go into sales teams, do we find fresh enquiries put into the in-tray, while we decide to work on admin functions.

Let these facts about responding to customers provide the basis for all future engagement with prospective customers. So the next time you hear a *ping* or a *zzzt zzzt*, no matter where you are, stop and respond. Give yourself every chance to make that sale.

If our Sales Directors can assist in any way, we’d love to help. Give us a call and see how responsive we are!

PH: 1300 384 7331

Written by Rebecca Laskary

You’ve Got Mail

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For those of us who can’t face the prospect of cold-calling, thank heavens for email! Campaigns can be prepared in advance by a marketing genius and sent out via an automated process. It’s a quick, easy, cost-effective and measurable way to market your products and services. It’s often the most popular means of marketing for generating sales as it involves the path of least resistance and is relatively unobtrusive for the consumer – we assume that they will simply delete any unwelcome emails or opt out.. while leaving us with an electronic trail of what actions they are taking. A win-win situation.

If you do decide to go down the route of EDM (electronic direct mail) then there are some things to bear in mind, even if you set up automated process for dissemination.

· The best time to email prospects is either 8am in the morning or 3pm in the afternoon.

· Thursday is the best day of the week to send out sales emails, followed by Wednesday.

· Email is almost 40 times more effective for new customer acquisition than Facebook or Twitter.

And while disseminating information at optimal times is extremely important and can enhance the likelihood of success, the content of the email is what will ultimately determine whether there is a conversion to sale. A smooth and easily transitioned sales process will facilitate click throughs and purchase, but the power-balance of the transaction lies in the content and how compelling it is.

Content needs to be:

· Enticing – containing compelling reasons for why the consumer would want to purchase your products/services.

· WIIFM – articulate the benefits to the consumer from their point of view. Don’t sell – offer them a solution to a problem they currently have.

· Factual – highlight the key features of your product/service.

· Special offer – offer an incentive for an immediate purchase and it will quadruple your chance of securing a sale.

· Attractively presented – appearance is everything and is especially true for sales emails. Make yours stand out by having it professionally designed to get attention.

· Monitor and measure – one of the key benefits to an e-campaign is that every click can be monitored and analysed. Always give consumers what they want – and a digital footprint will tell you what interests your recipient.

Here’s one last thing to think about; emailing with a follow up call, can increase a response by 8x, as long as the email is well constructed and relevant.

If you require assistance with your marketing content then one of our Marketing Directors can assist, or for a fully automated sales process and campaign call our Sales Director Centre.

Written by Rebecca Laskary

Will we ever learn? The 3 defining (f)laws of successful sales

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As anyone who’s ever had to generate sales knows, it takes a certain type and skill set to get on the phone and call prospective clients. Irrespective of whether you are cold calling, or following up on an in-bound lead response, picking up the phone to sell something seems to be anathema in today’s “you don’t need to sell anymore” business culture. We seem to have constructed a “PC-version of how to sell” around business, yet nothing is further from reality foe the majority of businesses still. From the receptionist to the MD, every individual needs to be selling their organisation, or it will fail.

While not many of us have much sympathy for interrupted mealtimes from telemarketers selling us something we really don’t want or need, there are countless times during a business day, when we need to pick up the phone and sell. Personally, I spend at least two decent chunks of time a week on the phone talking to people, selling our proposition – and that’s just with prospective ones.

The statistics we will turn up in the next few weeks are not new, in fact they are extremely well-known, they just happen to be largely ignored. We get asked endlessly by our clients for structure and strategy around their selling, but for many, simply building these statistics into their rhythm would vastly improve their sales performance.

We hope you see the value too and implement!

Recent research has turned up some interesting statistics:

1. 92% of all customer interactions happen over the phone.

2. It takes an average of 8 call attempts to reach a prospect.

3. The best time to call is between 4:00pm-5:00pm; the second best time is between 8:00am-10:00am.

As the statistics show, it can be a worthwhile exercise that’s the best way for some businesses to sell their products/services. However certain skills are mandatory in these circumstances.

Perseverance – You’d need to be self-motivating enough to keep dialling regardless of any response you receive. Even as the resounding “no’s” accumulate, you’d need to keep dialling.

Politeness – Regardless of the way you are spoken to, you’d need to mind your own manners. It’s not a personal call; you represent a company and their reputation is at stake. If someone doesn’t want to talk to you or listen to your spiel, then thank them for their time and wish them a pleasant day.

Respect for the consumer – Sometimes you will go through an entire conversation and not make a sale. Or you will be part-way through your sales dialogue and the consumer will tell you that they’re not interested or that they have to go. You need to respect them and respect their time. You can always ask if you can call back at a more convenient time, but if they decline, you need to wish them well and move on.

Honesty about your product – You may be asked about the qualities and benefits of your product/service. If you don’t know, then don’t make something up. Or if your product/service can’t deliver what they’re asking for, then don’t make any promises it can’t fulfil. For more information direct them to your website or give them a customer service number to call.

A thick skin – Above all remember that these are business calls and you represent a business, so don’t take it personally.  This is not The Bachelor, and you are not being rejected – your product/service is.

If you really can’t bear to pick up the phone and talk to your potential customers, then at least call us and our Sales Directors will help. Don’t forget, good sales people pay the wages of an entire organisation!

Written by Rebecca Laskary

Business Is Booming – Where’s my Money?

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So, your company is at full capacity. You and all your staff are working flat out. You have the number of customers you need to be making a profit… yet your bank balance remains the same.

What’s the deal? How can you be pulling in more revenue and yet your profits stay stubbornly stagnant?
If this is the situation you’re in right now, it’s time to turn your attention to your business’s operational costs, sales process, staff productivity and pricing structure.

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