In my work, I sometimes hear: “We’ve never seriously analyzed our sales, but great people deal with customers / production, we’re in the black, so we don’t have to worry too much about the nuances of customer acquisition, right?” Unfortunately not. Let me explain how sales relations with other areas of the company look. Contrary to what you may believe, it’s not just about structured sales meaning more cash in your account.
Sales figures and time production
Let’s assume that about 170 dedicated offers were sent to potential customers during one year. Each of them was tailored to the situation of a specific recipient, and it took the time of a specialist who performs the service on a daily basis.
In addition, you had to talk to the company that received the offer, arrange a meeting and exchange a few emails – it took about 2 hours of work. After analyzing the data, it turned out that 40 offers were sent to leads where the contact person was not a decision maker.
Only 3 leads out of these 40 eventually became customers of this company, and the revenues generated by them barely covered the costs invested in servicing the entire 40. This meant that if the talks were ended whenever there was no contact with the decision-maker, the company’s profits almost wouldn’t change, but it would “recover” an additional 80 hours of work (40 dedicated offers, 2 hours of work needed to bring leads to the stage of the sent offer).
What does 80 hours actually mean?
80 working hours is 10 working days or 2 working weeks, i.e. additional:
- 2 weeks vacation,
- 10 all-day visits to the best customers, during which you can get to know their needs, expectations and offer them new services or ask for recommendations to other companies,
- 80 1on1 conversations with employees during which you can learn more about their motivations and fears,
- 80 recruitment interviews with potential employees,
- 80 hours to improve the PDF offer, add case studies to the website, prepare unique, dedicated offers for the best companies you work with or collect your debts.
As you can see, order in sales can “produce” time that can be invested in HR, marketing, sales, finance and any other department of the company – all thanks to, for example, decisions supported by numbers and more conscious preparation of dedicated offers. Usually services are priced by a higher class of specialists, which is why we aren’t talking about the time of the intern. Sometimes we even mean the time devoted by the CEO.
How else can sales produce time?
Creating dedicated offers, only when it makes sense, is not the only way to organize sales – there are a number of factors that can help B2B companies assess the potential of each lead.
At individual companies with whom we had the opportunity to work, we have noticed that:
- 67% percent of subscription revenues came from 28% of customers, and each company belonging to this small group had a number of employees greater than X (a service company, traditional industry),
- companies that previously used a similar service decided to start the cooperation 3-4 times more often (a service company with a very time-consuming valuation process),
- customers who previously had no opportunity to use a similar service, ended cooperation faster than others (a service company, new technology industry).
Each of these companies could ask the first question for a potential client and, depending on the answer, determine how much effort should be invested in further talks.
“I have sorted out the sales, now what?”
Let’s assume that by ordering sales, we’ll be able to identify companies with the greatest potential faster and better convince them to cooperate. As a result, the customer service department will more often work with the clients they actually like working with, which can result in:
- more testimonials, case studies and instructions (marketing),
- lower cost of customer acquisition (marketing),
- stronger brand that will help you attract valuable employees more easily (HR),
- stronger brand and more cash on the account, which will facilitate negotiations with potential customers (sales),
- stronger position in negotiations — less need for concessions on payment dates (finance),
- fewer reasons to agree to cooperate with clients who treat your employees badly, which should increase their job satisfaction (HR),
- greater accuracy about what the salespeople can promise a potential customer — i.e. no tolerance for representatives who, by too optimistic promises, place customer service in a difficult situation and contribute to complaints from clients (customer service).
The company is a system of connected vessels — some of the problems of each department in the company have its source in sales supported only by intuition and experience. The sales mess creates not only additional costs in the company, but also additional efforts for other employees.