When working with customers we see that what interrupts the growth of sales is the attitude towards decision making and task completing. These errors, negligence and omission will prevent your sales from growing even if you hire the best sales representative in the world. In this article, we are not going to concentrate on important details of marketing and sales but on things that must be done so the attention to detail may help you to boost your sales.
It happens quite often that the level of sales in a company is different each month, and it is difficult to notice the regularity and even to name the reasons for its fluctuations. If the reasons are not that obvious then finding them may take considerable amount of time and may include a lot of tedious work.
Which sales opportunities are the most profitable? What do they have in common? Why are you losing potential customers? To answer these questions you need data from well configured CRM. Probably you will have to analyse the data for hours. Probably you do not have this information and you will have to develop a systematic process of implementing the data. And drawing conclusions without the figures means generating opinions, not facts.
Why do customers value your company? The best source for an answer are your customers who need to be questioned. It may require making a phone call to each of them and then analysing the collected answers. And that means minimum dozens of calls.
Some of your duties are important but it takes months to see the results of your actions. In the short term, these duties cannot compete with urgent issues, e.g. with an upset customer who needs to be contacted immediately otherwise, they will terminate the contract. The less exciting your obligation is, the easier it is for you to postpone it.
Today’s problems derive from no proper action being taken few months ago. For example, if we examine the project’s possible margin and then we compare it with the analysis of the length of the sales cycles then we may learn which sales opportunity we shall concentrate on, and which are of no priority.
“We are different than all the other companies” – this is what I heard multiple times when talking to B2B business. Very popular explanations were that: “we are the only company that focuses entirely on customers’ needs”, “we deliver results”, “quality is our aim”. When browsing the websites of these companies it usually occurred that every one of them is unique…in the same way. “We are innovative and we strive to understand customer’s needs.” It is quite obvious that these values are just, but they do not make any company exceptional because more or less they all try to act that way.
In practice, it occurs that the majority of problems, bad habits and misconceptions are repeated in many enterprises (this is why, among other things, this text has been written). It is a standard, not an exception when you care about your customer service, when you would like to have more clients and when you notice that you have less time and more tasks to do. The one thing that distinguishes other companies is that they do not just make promises. They keep them.
You have met a potential customer to discuss future cooperation. You find it successful. Then you send the materials promised. No further contact maintained. You try calling or sending next text messages. Yet, no response. You find it extremely difficult to comprehend the reason. What would have happened if had asked during the meeting your interlocutor: “I understand you need more time to process our offer. Can we have another meeting on December 15, at 2 p.m. to discuss questions that may arise? Your possible reaction is: “no, that doesn’t happen in this type of business”. Or you think: “that’s a brilliant idea”.
To find out whether or not it is a good idea to make the next appointment to discuss the offer, when this meeting hasn’t been declared closed yet, you need to try to do it. It is not the feeling that arises when you think about a particular sales/marketing strategy but the particular effect they produce that matters the most. Obviously, it is good to analyze every single idea and to think about the possible consequences but you should remember that unless you test something your point of view is just your belief, not a fact.
Potential customers contact your company via your website contact form. You have never had a chance to talk to some of them. The problem may be that they do not have to leave their phone numbers so the only way you can reach them is their e-mail address. If you are suggested that it might be worth trying to have this (i.e. a phone number) option in your form you are reluctant to do so as you have already made that decision for you care for your customers’ wellbeing. Will it make any difference, will it make it easier to reach your customers if you ask them for a phone number?
To learn the consequences of your decision you need to simply put your ideas into practice. One thing that will not improve your situation is the lack of changes in the way you bring in new customers. You can also increase the number of meetings with potential customers by resigning from some of the appointments outside your headquarters. Then you spare some time you can devote to having video conferences.
A potential customer sends a request via your website. It means that they might have browsed it, thought about the problem they needed to solve, remembered your company and it is still possible for them to be near their computers and to be able to answer the phone. The later you contact them the less possible it is for the above mentioned circumstances to occur. It means that the quick respond to your customer request is in your favour. It also means that it is worth calling leads quickly and that will influence time you may spend on working peacefully. This is the cost of getting ahead of your competition. It may also cause your customer after you introduce yourself, says: “wow, you have reached me really fast”. Reorganization of your work often involves some effort because some things you need to do faster and more precisely. It is not magic to increase sales. It is investing your time in areas that are of potential profit.
Meetings among your employees are an everyday element of work. It is good to take care of a proper information flow in your company and also to discuss things with involved parties when necessary. It is bad if you only discuss something with no further actions taken. A meeting that is not concluded with further steps that designated people should follow will not solve the problem you have already talked about. This is the only way such a meeting can be of the positive outcome and the time invested may not be wasted. The more important person takes part in a meeting the higher cost for the company it is (one-hour meeting of 10 people means a loss of 10 working hours of a company). The next meeting about the same problem should be started with updating the status of the steps that were taken during the previous meeting.
“We are working on it” – such statement often means: “when we handle the most urgent issues and then we have some time we will try to do something”. The concern about solving a problem is important, but in most cases, it is insufficient if your employees are overloaded with responsibilities. Every task needs to have an owner, i.e. a person who is responsible for it, to be successfully completed. It is this person’s duty to complete the task, to get the missing information or to gain their supervisor’s permission, if necessary. It happens often that you can’t move forward with the task not because of employee’s ill will but because of the diffusion of responsibilities and the feeling that…”we are working on it”.
A: “Which sales figures do you measure?”
We live in times when there are tools to measure everything that can be measured, yet, such an answer occurs quite often. If we have no specific data on our sales than we rely on the picture that might be distorted by a sales representative who shouts loudest, by a potential customer who has never become an actual customer, but still, it was good talking to them, therefore their opinion and objections should be taken into consideration or by your better or worse mood. To learn why you lose your customers or which sales representative is the most efficient you need to have a well configured CRM. If you want to know how to do it, please check the following article: “Best practices of using CRM as CEO”.
One month later: “Yes, I wanted to improve the offer but at the moment one of our most important employees is on sick leave and that causes a little disturbance, but I will handle that in two weeks.”
“I’ll take care of this as soon as I have some more time.”
Is there a perfect moment to take on an ambitious task? There isn’t. And there won’t be as we can be even busier. There is always something else that leads to postponing an important, yet not urgent, issue. It is naïve to believe that there will be a better or more peaceful time because your ideal moment may never come.
The thing that prevents the sales from growing is not a sales error but an attitude towards things that happen in your company. You should choose one out of nine factors mentioned above that constantly block your company’s development, then try to implement it in your company this month, and check its execution. In the following months take another factor, one at a time. As they say: Ideas don’t work unless you do 🙂
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