AS A SMALL-BUSINESS OWNER, I’M ALWAYS SCARED WE WON’T HAVE ENOUGH SALES. LAST MONTH I NEEDED HELP IN THE OFFICE AND HAD TO PULL ONE OF OUR SALESPEOPLE TO HELP OUT IN THE OFFICE. THE WORK NEEDS TO GET DONE AND THERE’S NO ONE ELSE TO DO IT. BUT I’M SURE THAT WE’LL PAY A PRICE IN TERMS OF LOWER SALES A FEW MONTHS FROM NOW. HOW DO WE GET IT ALL DONE AND KEEP OUR EYE ON WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT?
THOUGHTS OF THE DAY: Define what’s most important and live by that. Calculate the cost/benefit ratio of each task and figure out the payoff you’ll get from each assignment you hand out. Prioritize sales – that’s where money comes from to solve problems. Don’t let people hide behind excuses.
Often business owners jump from one priority to the next and say they feel like they’re trying to plug holes in a leaky dam. Step back and take a look at what really is a top priority. Use the measures of revenue and profit. That means customers and more customers come first.
When thinking about assignments, consider what each assignment actually produces in terms of revenue and profit. Look for activities that only produce small amounts and see if you can eliminate them.
I see people spending time on things that won’t get them where they want to go. If a company needs more money, the opportunity to solve the problem is right in front of them. It’s called sales.
If cash flow is short, get your people out talking to more prospects. Staying back in the office to help with paperwork won’t do anything to bring in additional revenue. But sales calls most likely will. And with additional revenue you’ll be able to hire more office staff. In the meantime, ask existing office staff to put in a few extra hours of overtime and explain that they’re doing their part to keep salespeople out on the road looking for more revenue.
Make sure your people have a sales system that works. Look to top performers, read books, meet regularly to brainstorm best practices, get experts in to help you. Maximizing output for the time that people put into sales and organizing support – people, systems, tools — will make a big difference in the payoff your company gets. If you’re going to dedicate yourself and others to working in sales, do everything you can to get the most out of it.
Sometimes people will volunteer for “extra” duty as a way to avoid doing the things they find difficult to do. Make sure that priority assignments you hand out get done first. Track top-priority activities. In sales, track how many contacts are being made, how many introductory meetings are completed, how many needs analyses and proposals get prepared as well as the frequency of scheduled and completed closing meetings.
Not sure how to track sales activities.
Get your sales team together and brainstorm. Look at what your top performers are doing. Use a standard software program to set up rows of prospects and columns of activities and ask people to put dates in when they complete each task. Set goals for the number of activities to complete each month. Meet a couple times each month to review progress and talk about what else needs to happen. Keep the spotlight on the things that are most important and only accept volunteers when the basics are on schedule or ahead of where they need to be.
BOOK RECOMMENDATION: “Raise Your Standards: The Definitive Guide to Building Seven-Figure Sales” by Mark Evans.
Andi Gray is president of Strategy Leaders Inc., StrategyLeaders.com, a business-consulting firm that teaches companies how to double revenue and triple profits in repetitive growth cycles. Have a question for AskAndi? Wondering how Strategy Leaders can help your business thrive? Call or email for a free consultation and diagnostics at 877-238-3535 or AskAndi@StrategyLeaders.com. Check out our library of business advice articles at AskAndi.com.