Achieving, maintaining and growing sales rarely comes easy for either sales people or business owners.
Winning new clients, whilst balancing delivering to and retaining current ones, requires constant time, effort and focus. Hopefully, once rising business operating costs are covered, shareholders and employees will earn some bonus remuneration for their year-round efforts, and the company can retain some profits to save for a rainy day (such as a sudden shutdown due to a global pandemic – who predicted that at the start of 2020?) and invest in improving working conditions for valued employees alongside increasing resources for growth.
I’m not going to promise to permanently fix your sales and customer retention challenges in one blog post. But I can provide some pointers from my own experiences of improving sales and customer service in large, medium and small businesses.
For My Top 10 Sales Boost Tips, read on.
Sales training. Investing in specialist sales skills training to include presentation and relationship building techniques could start to boost your results straight away. Look for credible providers who have had success helping others in your position in a similar marketplace.
Grow the average customer spend. How could you add value to your customers?
Increase how often customers purchase from you. Look at your after-sales service methods and think about how you could continue to nurture relationships. Then, importantly, draft a regular activity planner to give you a clear path of action towards increased sales.
Improve your brand positioning. Markets, competitors and customers change over time, so you need to keep checking that you are communicating the right messages and driving the right actions. Talk to your existing customers and research prospective new ones in the wider marketplace. Don’t forget to take action to put those new insights to good use in boosting your sales!
Develop customer referral incentives – there are many creative and innovative ways to do this. Run a mind-mapping session with your colleagues to brainstorm ideas. Maybe offer some prizes for the best campaign ideas to get those imaginations going!
Do you know what your unique proposition is? To stand out from your competitors you need to be clear in your messages and ensure your product or service offerings are relevant to their needs. Pick someone in your team with a flair for research and task them with looking for your competitors, and then put forward a range of ideas for how you can do better.
Refine your ideal customer profile. Make sure you understand which are your most profitable products; probably those with the shortest sales funnel and lowest cost of sale. Then look for trends across your customer base in terms of regions, age etc to prioritise those perfect customer prospects.
Improve the quality of your marketing and lead generation activities – with digital technology constantly evolving, this is a broad and fast-changing area, so don’t try to become an expert in all aspects of marketing. Hire people who specialise in marketing and have the expertise you need. There is an army of capable, reliable marketing professionals out there, so if you’re not ready to hire full-time, you’ll find plenty of part-time or freelance expertise.
Talk to your sales team to better understand what motivates them. Then tailor their remuneration to drive their motivation levels even higher. It starts with talking and listening to them before taking action!
Finally: hang on to your existing customers! Most companies have marketing and sales strategies. Far fewer have a customer strategy, and that is a significant missed opportunity. The hardest, and most expensive bit is winning those customers in the first place. Keeping them is statistically much easier, yet so often under resourced or even overlooked! Draft a plan within your broader company business plan dedicated to customer service. Your customers deserve it and so do you!
Once you’ve read through this blog, your first step could be to plan a short meeting with key colleagues.
Together you can discuss and pick two or three of the 10 strategies which you think will bring you the best and quickest results.
Then set some performance growth goals for those 2-3 priorities, and focus on implementing them with clear actions initially over a three to six-month period.
During that time, keep reviewing your progress to keep you focused and assess ways to continually improve the results from your efforts.
Once you feel you’ve achieved close to your potential from those initial focus areas, then you can revisit the list to pick out the next best two or three priorities.
Good luck with this and do let us know how you get on.