At SalesEvolve, we help businesses of all sizes and maturity that are spread across many different industries. From manufacturing and high tech solution companies to professional services and environmental firms, our understanding of their sales struggles continues to grow. With all this exposure and experience, we see trends emerging that can often transcend the boundaries of industries and product or services markets.
The most common questions we encounter is “how do we increase our sales?”. Of course, this is a great question that’s often indicative of a company that is looking to innovate and make improvements to their sales process. We appreciate people who have ambition to grow their business and it is our privilege to help them.
The challenge with asking how to increase sales is often a question a scope. Companies pondering how to increase sales will often try to solve the problem by augmenting the sales staff and their performance by engaging outsourced business development or lead generation firms, making changes to their sales team or placing additional pressure upon the existing sales staff to produce more. Again, these activities may produce some short term results but often they are not long lasting, forcing executive staff to address the issue of how to increase sales all over again some months down the road.
Therein lies the most common problem we encounter when clients ask us how to increase sales. Lead generation services, increased targets and pressure on the sales team seem like logical solutions to the immediate problem. But unless they are tied to an overall strategy that helps you become a sales oriented organization, the investment is not going to reap acceptable long term returns. That’s not to say these programs aren’t valuable, but rather that they must fit into and be a part of an overall organizational strategy. And when it comes to sales, you may be surprised how many different departments are actually involved.
We find that many sales problems extend beyond the sales department. A lack of high level executive direction for sales can filter down to the departmental level and leave your team unsure of where to focus. Product or services development teams can sometimes be too internally focused to link product innovation and customer demand. The result can be that sales people struggle to demonstrate value in a world that doesn’t demand or understand how to apply the products or services being offered. A mediocre or negative customer experience with your services or support team, your sales process or with an under performing product will shut down your sales team’s ability to close recurring sales within the account. We consistently see organizations that have inefficient or impractical processes to manage legal contracts, credit checks, quoting processes, pricing approvals and the like. The result can often be that opportunities go stale and close rates suffer due to a frustrating customer journey with your sales team.
To address the question of how to increase sales, you need to look at your entire organization including each of your departments as part of the sales team. Evaluate each team to determine if the tools they use, the processes they adopt and the strategy they work toward aligns with company goals and supports the sales department. If all staff work together in concert to remove the barriers of winning sales and driving a highly positive customer experience, your company is becoming a sales oriented organization and you will see results.
In the end the question of how to increase sales will be answered by providing your sales team with the support and sales structure they require to be successful. Without proper strategy, tools, processes and training maximizing your team’s potential will be a continual struggle.
Here’s a few questions to consider when evaluating your existing sales structure and support.
- Do your sales staff have personal sales plans that help them focus their efforts and work towards targets that align with company vision?
- Do you have a sales plan at a departmental level as well?
- Do you routinely have sales meetings exclusively focused only upon deals in the pipeline and progressing them to close?
- Is there accountability within your sales team to ensure top of the funnel development occurs?
- Do you routinely work with your sales team to review objections and how to overcome them within the sales cycle?
- Are customer references, case studies and solution use case stories exist to help the team position real world value to potential clients?
- Is your CRM set up to properly to align with your sales process and reduce the administrative burden on the reps as much as possible?
Believe it or not, this is just a partial list of vital supports that need to be implemented into a winning sales strategy. We understand that this is a lot of work, however like any investment, once made, the dividends continue to be paid over time with much less effort required.
If your sales team is struggling with how to increase sales, you need to look at what they do every day and judge the value of that activity in relation to your goals. We often observe that sales is a nebulous role that incorporates marketing, administration, customer service and support, legal, accounts receivable and more. When the roles become too broad, a sales department can’t focus on what you need most: more revenue. In order to truly excel and increase sales your team needs to be comprised of specialists instead of generalists. Remove the distractions so that your sales staff becomes focused and efficient at developing and closing new business.
So if you are reading this and it’s hitting close to home, you’re not alone. Every executive we’ve encountered understands the struggle to balance working “in” the business vs. working “on” the business which we deem to be the more valuable, strategic and improvement centered activity. Sometimes we get too close to things to see what’s really happening. Be encouraged to work with someone you trust that can offer a fresh perspective to your business and someone who has a track record of helping companies in an honest and transparent way.
When looking for business development, sales outsourcing or lead generation support, think hard about what your actual needs are. They are probably more complex than simply addressing how to increase sales. We suggest that you invest in services that give you more than just qualified leads or outsourced sales staff. Look to partner with companies that help you to become a sales oriented organization.
As a revenue growth company, our goal is to simply maximize business revenue potential while emphasizing your unique reasons for being in business. That’s often done through adjustments to corporate strategy, staff skill set development, implementation of efficient process or structure and of course, developing opportunities to close. Contact us today if you’d like to learn how we can help you truly understand how to increase sales with an organizational approach.