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Business Growth

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

All Bar The Selling

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One of the most common issues we see in organisations is the lack of focus on actual selling. Before you start thinking, “this isn’t for us,” then let me add that we see it across all sorts of organisations, large and small.

There is a lot of talk about selling, particularly among management. There are platforms, methods, reports (usually ad infinitum) tools, add-ons, KPIs and metrics a-plenty. But, sadly there is often a lack of selling. Too few in the organisation are actually ‘doing’ any selling, and sales slip when that is allowed to happen. Here are some reasons, and logically what you can do about it.

Firstly, it stems from the top. Nobody is singularly taking responsibility for the selling or lack of it in an organisation. Too few are out with the team, making sure that selling is actually taking place where it needs to. There is a lack of coaching, mentoring, assessment and generally getting alongside the team. When that happens, there is no accountability and we all know what occurs next.

Next, if the selling is shared amongst other jobs, then I can almost guarantee that the other jobs will win priority every time. After all, how hard is it to pick up the phone and make some sales calls, as opposed to answering emails or manage inventory? Almost always, there is a lack of ‘the buck stops here.’ Selling needs to be intentionally carried out.

Finally, there simply isn’t enough selling going on. One of the first things our Sales Directors look for in a business is, where is the rhythm? What is happening daily, weekly, monthly and so on, such that there is real responsibility being taken on by those doing the selling. Are the right conversations being had that are clear and to the point, are we taking orders on a regular basis, are we constantly on the hunt for new business (the #1 indicator incidentally, for business growth). I could go on, but basically, are we selling?

Quite simply, there is a lack of selling in many, many businesses that we see. People just don’t seem to focus on it. If you’re in any doubt at all how important it is, then when we were able to recently implement some of this into a client of ours, revenues doubled in 9 months. Don’t let your business become all bar the selling.  Changing things around in this area is one of the best things you can do in your business.

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 384 733

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