Growing revenue is the never ending goal for all sales leaders. Consistent upward trends are very hard to come by and a flattening trend won’t get your organization where it needs to be. Revenue growth is the engine that provides the funds for any organization to reinvest in itself, whether it is research and development of new products and services, new people or more and better marketing. Without growth, organizations will die. Grow or die – those are the only options.
The causes of this trend can come from your clients’ perception that your product or service isn’t what it used to be; your sales people are using outdated sales techniques that don’t work with the buyers’ journey today; you don’t have enough sales people to bring in more sales; you don’t have a defined sales process or what you have isn’t effective or goes unused; or your sales managers aren’t providing the training or feedback to help their team succeed. Any one of these can cause sales to stall; more than one of these can present major challenges. In every case, your sales team could benefit from sales training upgrades so they are in tune with their buyers and providing feedback to the organization that can help to alleviate these problems and get everyone back on the right track.
If there seems to be a lot activity around creating proposals only to have them go nowhere, it’s worth taking a closer look at the reasons why they go nowhere. If your sales people have a difficult time connecting the value of your product or service to what the customer values, all that work will be in vain. If your sales people can’t articulate the unique selling proposition that makes them stand out from their competition, they become one of many options that all look the same to the buyer. This too becomes a missed opportunity. Since there is only so much time in the day, and time is spent on proposals that go nowhere, other revenue generating activities fall by the wayside. And as a result, revenue declines
One of the easiest ways to improve revenue is to increase the spend of your current customers. The relationship you have with your existing customers is key to them continuing to buy from you. If they feel under-appreciated or abandoned, they will soon abandon you. All the work spent in trying to get a new customer in this case only just makes up for the lost business; that is if you win the new business. It is hard to increase revenue if you have a revolving door of clients.
Without a clear strategy for increasing revenue, you are putting your trust in ”luck”. It’s important to identify what activities will help to accomplish your goal. Do you have the right people? How many times have you hired a sales person who didn’t work out? What opportunities were lost during the interim to hire a new person? Are you calling on the right companies; right people in those companies? Getting a lot of new business from the wrong kind of customer can cost your company money. Growing revenue is very difficult if your sales people aren’t always focusing their efforts on serving the ideal client that buys early and often, spends the most money, is willing to pay a premium for the value you provide and will spread the word about your company.
Confidence matters, especially when it comes to increasing sales. Confidence comes in having the right skills to be effective with customers, knowing the value to your customers of your offering and it comes with experience. To emphasize the importance of sales training to get the right skills and learn the value of your offering, here’s what the Huffington Post says about companies who invest in training: they can see 24% higher profit margins. Training is the most direct way to improve sales performance.
An unsure sales person could, without meaning to, project a lack of confidence in their offering, causing the buyer to doubt if it is any good. On the other hand, the most confident of sales people could “sell ice to Eskimos”!
Do you have a formalized, standard sales process that is being used consistently? It is vital that you have a formalized, standard sales process that is communicated to everyone involved in sales or sales support and that it is being used by all. According to the Harvard Business Review, there is an 18% difference between companies that defined a formal sales process and those that didn’t. Sales people who follow a proven sales process are better focused and better able to move their buyers along the buying journey. Adherence and consistency using a standardized formal sales process results in 26% more revenue per sales conversation with a 21% better conversion rate.
Another tool that may not be used effectively is a pipeline (or sales funnel). Sales pipelines are the beating heart of your business. Bad pipelines, whether they be smoke and mirrors or poorly managed, are like a bad heart, always in danger of killing you. Sales managers need to help their sales people manage their pipelines to move opportunities up, following the sales process defined by your company.
The third biggest challenge that sales people have is following-up. Today the number of sales calls needed to close a sale is more than doubled what it was just five years ago. This follow up is especially critical in a longer sales cycle. Most sales people stop their follow up once the sale is closed. Some sales people quit calling on prospective buyers too early. Both of these actions hurt future sales and stifle growth.
Strategic Enhancement Group has been helping sales people learn the skills to be able to differentiate since 1984. We can help you and your sales team learn what they need to be successful growing their sales by:
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