We’d like to share our top 4 ways to propel Small and Midsize Business (SMB) sales revenue growth. If your company is generating qualified leads, but conversion is down, you’re in trouble. The top 4 ways we’ve uncovered seem to work well for our clients, and they might for you as well. These suggestions work best when the products or services are multi-stage sales processes, not a one-and-done process. These will work for any businessperson that offers human to human interaction on a routine basis selling high-ticket products/services.
Avoid the Slump to Propel sales revenue growth
To propel sales revenue growth, it’s important to avoid a slump. Sales slumps are no fun, especially when you have hungry mouths to feed, a mortgage to pay, and a staff that is facing the same concerns. Boosting revenues and reversing the downward trend should be on everyone’s mind, not just the gal or guy whose desk the buck stops.
Let’s take a Look and Find What Might Work
- More personalized Communications – to prospects, leads, clients, staff
- Shorten your sales cycle – Move the prospect through the buyer’s journey quicker
- Learn to forecast sales and build quotas
- Incentivize the entire team
If you’re NOT generating qualified leads and experiencing a dip in sales, that’s an entirely different discussion. We’ll look at that particular challenge next time. Right now, let’s break these down for some better understanding.
Get More Personalized – We’ve learned that the customer is now in charge of the buying transaction. They perform their research, study the options, verify pricing, and ultimately pull the buying trigger. Each person has their hot buttons, communication style, and personality.
- Have you taken the time to learn more about each individual, or are you treating all prospects the same?
- Are your salespeople trained in DISC or NLP to better understand with whom they are dealing?
- Is the prospect an auditory learner, and your salesperson is using eBooks and blog articles to nurture her/him?
- Is your nurturing campaign designed with all of the various learning styles included; auditory, visual, kinesthetic, reading/writing?
Create a coaching or training session with the entire team so that everyone can learn to communicate on a more personal level with prospects, leads, customers, and the public at large.
Communicating in the way your prospect best receives the messages, engages with them, and is encouraged to open a dialogue as opposed to waiting for the salesperson to initiate conversation will go a long way to closing more sales.
Shorten the Sales Cycle – Easy to say, but not that simple to do. It takes time, study, the proper communication style, and a personal approach. But there’s more, much more. When you begin to review and study the entire sales cycle, pay close attention and look for apparent gaps in the pipeline. Conversely, there are probably choke-points along the journey as well, where prospects are either putting on the brakes, or something in your process has caused them to re-think their decision-making. In your researching, look out for hints of any of these:
- If your prospect shows the slightest confusion, indecision, or doesn’t seem to be serious enough, perhaps they shouldn’t be in the sales pipeline in the first place. Maybe you need to review your lead scoring and make adjustments to your processes. The prospect will become unsure that you are the right solution provider because of a glitch in your systems.
- Don’t give yourself grief trying to make that square peg fit into a round hole. Move them back to your nurture campaign because your process is moving too fast or confusing for them.
- The sales process is not streamlined and allows gaps and blockages occur due to poor planning logistics. These bumps in the buyer’s journey can slow down the sales process, or even knock the train off the tracks altogether. As Dr. Stephen Covey professed, “begin with the end in mind.” Review with the prospect at the beginning of the relationship what to expect as an outcome, the steps along the way, and INQUIRE as to the desired buying target date. Then, you can create a smooth, concise journey that brings prospects through the pipeline at an improved speed.
- Have you reviewed your CRM system of follow-up? Are the salespeople and supporting staff documenting live and phone discussions, emails, direct mail transactions, and all other interactions with the prospect? Your CRM (if you are using a good one) can effectively set up touchpoints for salespeople to keep the process moving along.
- When meeting online or off, don’t wait for the prospect to “get back to you.” Set the next appointment immediately before separating to make the process move forward.
- Support personnel can perform some duties that save the salesperson time by keeping the prospect communications file up to date and insightful. Through DISC training, they can spot particular personality signals that the salesperson may have missed. Neural Linguistic Programming (NLP) is an excellent training that can tune in the salesperson as well as the prospect of communicating more effectively.
Learn to Forecast Sales and Build Quotas – Any quality pipeline manager knows that sales forecasting is as much an art as it is a science. Forecasting sales depend on the future as well as the past and present. Knowing what events are in the near offing will eliminate some of the guesswork, provided the historical results of XXX get documented, and can again be expected. If there is no history from which to glean suppositions, having one’s eyes and ears on the sales activities is even more important than critical.
- As for the future, a solid action plan to learn the lead flow and combine it with reliable information that is supporting planned sales events, like “special discounts” coming up, or “discontinued items,” and then there is the more individual knowledge such as two salespeople being out of the team due to vacation and scheduled medical leave.
- Merely throwing numbers on the board that is 10% above last year’s performance is just not acceptable. There has to be a combination of facts, history, crystal balling, and supposition to get good at it. But that’s not all. The quality of the sales personnel and their supporting staff are significant factors in making sure what is forecasted can become actualized.
- Communication between management and sales through the CRM system can take a lot of guesswork in the forecasting process. If each person is equally informed rather than some being rabbit-holed while others are basking in the sunlight of information, the CRM can be a savior. Salespeople are by nature competitive. Therefore, each salesperson will attempt to identify and use an advantage the others have been prevented from knowing. Not good. Keep all data in one place for the benefit of the entire organization.
- Consistent communications depend on good data, especially if someone has to pick up a prospect mid-way through the sales cycle. Without a thoroughly documented process, all manner of things can go awry.
Incentivize the Entire Team – There are an innumerable amount of ways to motivate a team of salespeople, but I’ve found that there are only two that strike a chord with my team. Yours might be different, so I’ll add a few extras, but these top two work for my team.
- Add a focus board to the sales area. Place the same information on the computer dashboards for the entire team to see daily. The information you put on it like individual sales goals and amount achieved to date is a great motivator that provides internal competition among the sales staff.
- A daily positive message of encouragement and bravo’s to those adding to the numbers they are winning can also motivate others to get in the game.
- With a stretched sales goal (5-10% above the real forecast), the peer pressure alone will keep things moving forward. Once hitting quota and over-achieving, recognize individual sales personnel (and don’t forget their support staff) through a notable incentive or another form of reward.
- Added Bonuses and Tiered Commissions are the other winners in my book. Let’s assume for a moment that the cost of a product/service is an annual investment. It can be paid in one lump sum at the onset of the contract, or in installments pre-determined by management. A bonus for every salesperson that closes with the full payment upfront can be awarded a nice bonus amount once the new client’s check clears.
- Commissions are tiered so that the higher the sales, the higher the commission percentage is. For instance, a 30% commission rate of sales; should the quota be over-achieved, the commission earner receives a 40% payout.
- Be wary of sales-banking, a situation where a salesperson holds back a closed deal for the next period rather than submitting it for the current one. Sales-banking is common when the transaction value is low and unlikely to affect the results to the salesperson who didn’t make his/her quota.
- For the sake of argument, here are a few more ideas for motivating salespeople:
- Tie additional add-on products or services to the core sale and provide an uptick in commission percentage.
- Break down the quota to daily, weekly, monthly goals in addition to the quota period. Often one large number can be demotivating, but bite-sized ones seem more achievable.
- If you allow discounts, pay bonuses on full-price sales.
These top 4 ways to propel SMB sales revenue growth have worked consistently for our clients over the years, and it makes good sense (at least to me) that this line of thought should be a part of your sales arsenal. Strong pipeline management is necessary to keep the sales flow intact and consistent. The roller-coaster ride of rising and lagging can wreak havoc on small business, especially one with low margins and overhead.
Understand your marketing mathematics. Know what it costs to close a lead from the first contact until contract signing. Your cost per client, combined with cost per lead, cost per prospect, client lifetime value, and how long it takes to go from suspect to prospect, to lead, to a client. With these numbers, it can tell you how many leads are needed to reach sales forecasts, how much it will cost, where any deficiencies might be hiding, and the touch points to improve upon.
For more information about how to propel SMB sales revenue growth and how you can improve your sales cycle, reach out, and we’ll have a free consultation.
Hey, have an idea that wasn’t covered here? Make a comment, and we’ll take it under advisement.
If you are generating qualified leads but conversion is down, you’re in trouble. The top 4 ways I’ve uncovered seem to work well for me, and they might for you as well. These suggestions work best when the products or services are multi-stage sales processes, not a one-and-done process. These will work for any business person that offers human to human interaction on a routine basis selling high-ticket products/services.
What’s The Best First Step?
We’d love helping propel SMB sales revenue growth. Sometimes the winning solution starts with just a conversation. Use the form here to introduce yourself and your company. Laura will reach out to you very shortly, calendar in hand, so you can schedule a call or arrange a meeting.
Why Do We Do It This Way?
Laura has found that by scheduling a call, a more productive session can be accomplished. There are fewer interruptions and everyone can stay focused on great questions and honest answers. It is very common for an initial call to result in a measurable benefit that the business owner or sales manager can implement into their sales process.