For most SME’s growing sales is often seen as the holy grail. Steeped in mystery and shrouded in myths surrounding the art of selling and ‘gift of the gab’. In reality sales are like any other business process when approached in a systematic manner.
With a structured sales process any business can improve their sales performance. They can also better understand the critical issues inhibiting sales growth. Then identify specific improvements in their product or service delivery to align their offering more closely with their customer’s needs and ultimately get their customers to ‘buy’ rather than be ‘sold’ to!
So what are the 5 key areas that a structured sales process needs to address?
Generated from marketing activity, they are the raw materials at the very start of the sales process. They are potential customers who have indicated an interest in buying your product or service. The sales process will determine how many of these become sales.
How good are you at converting leads to sales? Having established a stream of potential customers the sales process should aim to keep as many of these to achieve the ultimate goal of generating a sale. The sales process should be continually evolving to improve the proportion of those leads that convert to sales.
Average Sales Value
Once you have a customer the sales process should optimise the total revenues from each and every one by ensuring that the needs of a customer are fully understood; by so doing you will maximise your sales opportunities by meeting those needs before they go elsewhere. How many times have you discovered that an existing supplier has products you need but were unaware and thus bought elsewhere?
Number of Times Customers Buy from You
Once you have a customer who has by definition shown they need and want your product or service don’t be complacent. The easiest sale is a repeat sale; don’t let your competition lure them away. Make sure you are still delivering what they need; get continual feedback to ensure that there are no problems in the delivery of your product/service. Have their needs changed? The cheapest sale you will make is a repeat customer…just don’t assume!
Are you optimising your sales revenues? There is no point in generating high volumes of sales if the costs associated with those sales results in low profits. Concentrate on those products or services that have least costs associated with them. Regularly review your cost base to ensure margins are optimised.
The effects of even relatively modest gains in each of the last 4 Key Areas above will generate exponential gains to your bottom line. By improving each by just 10% would result in an overall increase in gross profit by 46% . Improve your leads by 10% as well and your gross profit would be up by a massive 61%!