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