What opportunities and risks are there for sales growth in your business in 2015? Planning for the new year is more vital than ever in an economy that continues to tighten. Now’s the time to take the pulse of the field, and understand what seems to be working or not with the current plans.
Here are seven ways to get the best out of 2015.
1. It’s worth going back to basics and starting with a gap analysis.
Compare your sales organisation’s actual performance with potential or desired performance. If a company or organisation does not make the best use of current resources, it will perform below its potential.
The reality is that we do not have the leeway to tolerate and survive below par performance. That’s why, in 2015, more than ever, your primary focus should be on aligning resources to your market in the most effective way to ensure maximum return on investment.
2. A spend analysis of your total market,
By each existing customer and identified prospect, and according to product, industry, size, and location will help you decide whether you should be aiming to grow your sales in certain areas with certain customers, whether you want to hold them to what they are currently buying, or whether you want to divest your business of them because they are unprofitable.
3. The next consideration is the structure of your sales force, which should be intensively aligned to the prospects you seek to convert into customers.
Based on the fresh analysis of the distribution of all your accounts, you will know how many major, large and small account executives you need to have in place, how many product specialists are required for the new year, how extensive your telemarketing department should be, and who will be responsible for customer care and service and new acquisitions.
Remember that you do not want to have your most expensive employees focusing on customers whose spend is limited. The size of the team will obviously be determined by the number and size of your accounts.
4. must be aligned to each specific customer,
According to the markets or industries in which they operate. To entrench your organisation into the client’s business, your sales team should comprise people who are able to deal with different levels of representatives up and down the management chain. A buyer, for example, will be more concerned with the price of your product or service than a user will be.
If you are selling products that are used in different ways by different customers, you also have to ensure the expertise is there to fulfil each customer’s requirements.
5. Ensure that your CRM system outlines the process that each level of sales person or service consultant is managed by.
The system should also offer the opportunity for evaluation and feedback on every instance of interaction with the customer – from the first sales call though to after-sales service and product support.
6. You need to guarantee that your sales and services teams receive the right incentives…
So that they are motivated to exceed customer service expectations. This is critical, because retaining customers is non-negotiable.
7. Bear in mind that from a strategy point of view, customer retention is more critical than ever before.
You need to apply your mind to that vigorously because growth in the market is slow, and you will therefore have to rely a great deal more on retaining the business you have.
That requires an intimate knowledge of potential spend so that you can allocate resources in line with what you expect to get out of the deal.
A careful balancing act
Ensuring that you do not lose accounts while, at the same time avoiding investing too much effort for too little return is a complex balancing act.
In cases where customers are buying less, you need to allocate time and effort appropriately in order to obtain the maximum spend. Also, be prepared to negotiate. You may well find yourself in bargaining situations with clients who are under pressure. In many cases, compromising on cost and retaining the client will serve your business better than losing the entire sale.
An astounding 92% of resolutions fail every year: a risk no business can afford to take when considering sales strategy for 2015. To protect against the risk of failure as we strive to move forward as part of the economic recovery, the key to achieving business growth lies in the specifics – whether you are seeking to increase market share, drive up profits, or retain valuable customers.