Let’s face it. Reaching your sales targets is already a challenge. And, when the playground has changed with regards to the economic environment and even buyer behavior, that challenge increases ten fold.
Here are four tips, either used separately or in combination, to help you to revitalize your sales efforts in today’s economy.
1. Define your target market
You won’t do business with everyone. And, even if you did, you would still need a place to start. Creating a list prevents you from spending time chasing targets who will do little to help you. Pick a target market where your business is the most strong, or has the most reference customers, so that you can build momentum quickly.
You can also use the data in your CRM to help you identify opportunities. Take some time to analyze the data to find out:
- What kind of customers do you have?
- Which customers are more profitable and which are less?
- Which customers have a growth possibility?
If you apply segmentation to your customer base, you will immediately discover which customers have potential and which do not. This will help you to maintain focus and tell you where you should focus your energy the most.
2. Stop selling
With information so readily available on the internet, today’s potential buyer is much more educated and informed than the buyer in the old days. This type of customer is called the Buyer 2.0.
When you talk to this type of customer, it’s really important not to talk about yourself. By this, we mean don’t use words (even if you do it nicely) like: one stop shopping, industry leader, user-friendly, scalable, best-in-class, robust, or innovative. Instead, try to:
- Demonstrate your knowledge of what's happening in their firm or industry.
- Align your message with their issues, goals, objectives and concerns.
- Bring them ideas, insights and information about highly relevant topics.
- Sound like a colleague who's been thinking about their business challenges.
That's what it takes to capture your prospect's attention today.
3. Target your sales teams for growth and retention
To grow your business, you have to look at customer acquisition. To maintain your business, you have to look at customer retention. Both are extremely important to the livelihood of a business. And when you look at your sales team, those sales professionals who are highly rewarded for bringing in new sales, don’t particularly enjoy nurturing and taking care of disgruntled customers, which provides no rewards.
Instead of forcing your sales teams to do something that doesn’t give them any joy, split your sales force into two groups – each with unique skills:
Group A – hunts for, tracks and closes new customer deals –
… then transition them to …
Group B – who nurtures and cares for the customers to ensure that the customers’ expectations are met and the experience in dealing with your company is positive.
Each group is hired for specialized skills and compensated according to its primary goal. Group A is rewarded for new sales and Group B is rewarded for renewals.
By doing it this way, you’ll provide more focus and much more efficiency.
4. Sales coach your team to success
Every sales team needs a coach. It’s the coach’s (usually the sales manager) job to make sure that people are practicing the skills taught and there is improvement. If the sales manager isn’t helping his/ her sales people and guiding them in the right direction, then the team, more often than not, fails.
- Do you talk with your sales people about strategy, goals, outcomes and potential obstacles?
- Do you check with them to make sure they agree?
- Do you address the "how" of the strategy? In other words, what will they say, what will they ask, and how will they respond to the potential challenges?
When your sales people either don't know what the "how" should sound like, or have a sense of it but it isn't on track, it’s always good to have some help to get back on track.
Sales is hard work. But, with a little luck and a lot of hard work, there’s no reason that it can’t be a success!