I believe most theories to grow sales are way too complicated. I must be very clear upfront that the focus of any sales strategy must be on profitable growth. Growth for growth’s sake is neither sensible nor sustainable. You must examine every growth strategy from the perspective of contribution to profit before you press “go”.
Sales growth is simply a matter of improving these four things – getting better at marketing, selling, delivery and service.
Growth requires more qualified leads, better sales conversations, superior product or service delivery and exceptional post-sale experiences.
I recommend you take the opportunity to rate your performance in each of these critical areas and come up with at least one strategy or action which will raise your rating. Identify upside opportunities – in what way can you and your team be even better at marketing, selling, delivery and service?
MARKETING – Get better at generating qualified leads
We can measure your marketing performance based on the number of qualified leads generated.
Very simplistically, qualified leads are buyers who need what you sell and who can afford what you sell. They represent a potential ideal client. Make sure that you have identified who your ideal client is and that you understand their buying behaviour.
You must be very clear on who your buyer is, why they will buy what you sell, how they want to buy, where they are and how you will attract their attention. Generating leads for lead’s sake is hard work and erodes profitability unnecessarily.
With this knowledge, you are less likely to waste marketing time and dollars yelling at a market that neither needs nor can afford what you sell.
The key to a more profitable sale is a more qualified lead.
The best way to know if a marketing campaign is successful is to measure the actual outcomes against your desired outcomes.
If you want to get serious, put a number on it!
Put KPIs in place before you finalise the design of the campaign. KPIs not only measure the campaign’s success but also bring a laser-like focus to the design process.
Without clarity around outcomes upfront, the marketing campaign will be less directional, and the outcomes will be what the outcomes will be.
How do you rate your marketing performance? What are the opportunities to improve?
SELLING – Get better at converting your qualified leads to a sale
Do you know what your conversion rate is? How effective are you at converting a lead to a sale? How many sales conversations do you need to have to get a sale?
It is super important that you know these numbers. These numbers indicate your sales activity effectiveness and where you need to do further work.
For example, if you engage in sales conversations with 1000 leads and 100 of these leads buy, your conversion rate is 10%. Without knowing where you are now, how will you know whether you are improving or what a realistic KPI is?
Your conversion rate will improve if:
- Your leads are more qualified.
- The buying process is easy, and there are fewer hoops to jump through.
- You can articulate the value of your offer very clearly, and in buyer speak.
- You know how to build your buyers’ appetite for what it is you sell, and
- You ask for the sale!
There are three main reasons why you don’t win the sale:
- The buyer did not know you sold what they wanted to buy – educate your clients constantly and consistently on the range of products and services your offer.
- You weren’t there – your aim should be that your clients and prospects (prospective clients) think of you first when they decide to buy. You’re not front of mind.
- You didn’t ask for the sale – never assume the client isn’t ready to buy.
How do you rate? Are there opportunities for upside?
DELIVERY – Get better at DELIVERING your service or product
DELIVERY is very much about delivering on your promise – both your brand promise and the promises you made during the sales process.
Ask yourself – how can you do more than you said you would do before you said you would do it? You do not need to add more value at a high cost and erode profit. Get creative and include a surprise that has a high perceived value to your buyer and a low cost to you.
You want your client to be so delighted with their experience with you that they come back and buy again and spend more when they do. You want your client to advocate for you and refer others.
The KPIs which measure how well you do the delivery process are:
- Increase in the frequency of sales per client – they come back and shop again.
- Increase in the average $ per sale – they spend more when they do.
- Increase in retention – they continue to shop with you year after year, and
- Increase in referrals – they refer proactively.
Make sure you have the systems in place to measure these KPIs.
How do you rate? Is there opportunity for upside?
SERVICE – Get better at nurturing your client post-sale
How often have you experienced being courted madly leading up to a sale, and once you agree to buy, it is all downhill from there? It is as if you have no further value to the business until they are looking to sell you something else.
Strong relationships are the cornerstone of every growing business.
If we neglect to build relationships with our clients or potential clients (our prospects), we will become a transaction and commodities-based business. That choice puts us squarely in a highly competitive, often price-driven, short-term, frenetic market.
Building relationships increases your customers’ loyalty to you and your brand. They are more likely to go out and promote you to others – to be an advocate for your business. This is how momentum is built.
A warning: Once you start building and nurturing relationships, don’t stop! It must be a constant and consistent way of doing business.
Perceived indifference is one of the most common reasons clients stop doing business with a supplier. Inconsistent, ad hoc contact will not build strong relationships which create loyalty. What it will create is a state of confusion.
The key is to build relationships based on authenticity – do it because you believe you can make a positive difference – be genuine – add value.
Nurture to grow – if you aren’t connecting with your customers, you can be assured that your competitors will be – be there!
How do you rate? Are there opportunities for upside?
FURTHER READING: A surefire way to encourage client loyalty is to invest in your relationships with your clients, to remind them that they are important to you, and, that you strive to add value beyond the sale itself consistently. Take 5 minutes to read our blog on this topic here.
Upping the number of qualified leads generated, your conversion rate, client delight index, client retention, and the number of referrals as a multi-pronged growth strategy is powerful.
Our 12-Week Business Fit Challenge takes you through a step-by-step process to design your growth strategies, calculate your KPIs, and discover the impact even small changes can have on sales levels and profitability.