High Grade Customer Growth for Sales Teams

In any profession you need clients.  It takes time to develop them, serve them, and then over time they will leave.  It is a simple fact of business that your clients will eventually develop a new focus or requirement.  They will move on.  It really does not matter how strong the relationship is today; they will one day have a change of circumstances and they will move on.

This then shows us that we should have a solid plan and system to help us find new clients.  Every day the plan has to occur.  You have to improve your client base and database.  We call it the sales pipeline.

Many salespeople struggle with all of the things that they have to do every day.  The list of tasks can be overwhelming.  A typical day for a sales person will include:

  • Talking to current customers
  • Finding new customers
  • Following up on orders
  • Paperwork
  • Customer service
  • Placing new orders
  • Meetings
  • Talking with management
  • Reviewing product information
  • Entering customer detail into the database, etc

It’s a long list; you can probably add some things to the list yourself.

Without a day system, without some form of control you will struggle.  When a salesperson is struggling, the business and client base suffers.

Out of all of these things in the list above, the most important is ‘finding new customers’.  Everything else ranks below that key issue.

So how can you shift the bias of the day so you get to create some more clients?  The simple answer is that you shift your priorities and make prospecting number one in your diary every day.

It is a well-known fact that most salespeople do not like or easily accept the discipline of the job.  They would rather be ‘socialising’ with current clients and talking to the people that they know.  Whilst this is a part of doing business, it still ranks behind the issue of finding new clients.

When you understand this problem, it is easy to do something about it.  You simply shift your mindset to one of client growth and new business.  Every day you make new calls to businesses and people that you have not spoken to before.  It takes about 3 weeks to see some momentum, but eventually you break through the problem and new clients start to evolve.

If your income depends on your sales and your customers, it is a good choice to shift your mindset to this new way of doing things.  Develop the new habit of connecting with the right people.  Sales success can be yours.

Battle Hardened Market Share in Tough Markets

In this business environment some companies and industries will be more successful than others, but it is the sales team and customer service team that are now more important than ever before.  Consistency in client contact will help consolidate market share and protect your income.

If your business is struggling in any way, take a look at your sales team first to see just what they are doing or not doing.  Too many salespeople listen to their peers when it comes to results and activities.  If you have any ordinary performers in your sales team it can spread like a ‘cancer’ in and across the entire team.  Complacency breeds complacency; top performers are required in today’s sales environment.

When you are not getting your share of the market and the sales, here are the things that you should look at first:

  1. Split your sales team into high achievers and average performers.  Determine who is producing the sales and the orders and find out why that is the case.  The balance of the team will be doing a mixture of ‘nothing much’.  When you know the differences in your team you can handle the issues of skills improvement, redundancy, repositioning, and refocus.
  2. When your industry is slow or under pressure, it is the systemised action of your top people that will get you through.  It is likely that your top people will be less than 10% of the workforce.  Replicate the systems that work into the balance of the team.  Those that can’t handle the change should be reallocated or made redundant.  Experimental salespeople do not work.
  3. Split your customers into 3 groups.  Firstly your top clients should be determined and allocated into a VIP section of your business.  They should get better treatment and service than all other clients.  The second group of customers are those that have the potential to move to a Key Account status.  You job is to find out how to do that and why it should occur with each customer in this group.  The third group are those customers that randomly purchase goods or services and that are unlikely to move up the client pipeline status to a Key Account.  If you are going to remove the poor performers from your sales team, then you can drop the third group of customers to free up some time for the remaining salespeople.
  4. Get your prospecting model sorted and strengthened with your top salespeople.  Use the best systems and ideas that they have to consolidate the prospecting system for your business and local area.

This is all about strategy.  Focus on your people and the business will generally come in, albeit in a modified form.  Business is all about people so go back the people level and sort it through.  Opportunities will soon come back to you and the sales team.

Secrets of Sales Success – Become the Expert of Choice

It really does not matter what industry you work in, competition is strong and active most of the time.  Some of that competition will be relevant and of interest to your clients.  The clients will be on the lookout for the best deal or supply arrangement.  Those clients will listen to the offering of your business competitors, and over time you can lose your best clients to the competitors in your industry.

Complacency is not a ‘good look’ in business today.  All of your clients are doing things with a greater focus on the ‘bottom line’.  They know what is required to keep their business on track for the year given the changes in their industry.

The ‘glue’ that holds the client relationship together in most cases is the bond and connection that they have with you as the ‘specialist’ that you say you are.  Are you the expert of choice that your clients would go to in times of pressure or need?  Would they call you before they contact the competition with a concern or challenge that needs resolve?

Relationships are the Key

In key account management and customer service the ‘expert’ status is really of great importance to ongoing business.  Our clients must know that they are dealing with the best supplier of relevant goods and services locally and regionally.  You must be the best choice of supplier and they must know that.

Some clients put priorities on different aspects of the business relationships they have with their suppliers.  It is up to you to know what those priorities are; ignore them at your peril.  Here are some factors that could be considered in that assessment.

  1. The role that cost plays in the supply of goods and services.
  2. The pressures of time in ordering and delivery
  3. Relationships between your clients key staff and your personnel
  4. Communication regards the progress of orders and supply
  5. Contact processes and systems when a problem or challenge evolves
  6. Guarantees on workmanship and replacement strategies that minimise downtime and loss for the client.
  7. Any business advantage that you can provide your client with, that can improve their business effectiveness, costs and or timeliness.

Today we need to consider the clients business and get to know it comprehensively.  When we do that we can see the right ways to protect our client base from ‘competitor attack’.

In these times of business stress, the client is the key to your ongoing liquidity and market share.  Focus on the client and give them the best information, service, and backup solutions available.  When you find new clients, look to improve the process where and when you can.  Become that expert of choice that clients expect in these challenging business times.

Database CRM Strategies in Sales Today

When it comes to building your market share or establishing your market share as a salesperson, a good database program or customer relationship management system will help you greatly.  Keeping in contact with the right people in the right way is really what this is all about.  Systems will help you do that and open the door with more prospects at the right time and in the right way.Here are some rules to establish a contact management program in your business:

  1. Define your market geographically so you know where your clients are going to come from.  Unless you do this first, you could spend far too much time spreading your efforts too broadly and seeing little outcome.  You want results as soon as possible and on that basis you should limit your efforts to a defined area at all times.  Importantly that area should contain enough clients for you to focus on and convert to new business.
  2. Establish a list of raw data including a list of companies and people that should be contacted as part of marketing efforts.  To keep the pipeline of opportunity moving ahead, this list should be added to daily at a rate of 10 to 20 people from selected businesses.   Take care in setting the right level of decision maker that should be approached regards your product or service.  Keep the calls going and eventually you will have a solid database of opportunity.
  3. Suspects are the people that you will be making contact with.  They will come from the research undertaken as part of the ‘raw data’ stage above.  On a daily basis, ring down your suspects at a rate of 20 per day.  You will only reach 5 to 10 on average per day, so those that you missed out on should go back into the call register for another day.
  4. Prospects will be the people that you have spoken to and identified a need or interest in your product or service.  When they are noted to be prospects, you should be moving them towards a meeting with you if and when such can be arranged.  This can take time to achieve depending on their business and their need, so keep talking to them on a regular basis until you can the meeting that you require.
  5. Face to face contact is important in most industries before any orders are achieved.  Rarely can you sell your services and products across the telephone.  It is far easier to sell a meeting over the telephone and then to get to know the right people.  Relationships are everything in business today.
  6. Hot Prospects are those people that know you and are actively looking for something to buy or sell as part of your industry and market type.  Keep in contact with them every few days to open the door on a sale or order.
  7. Clients that you work with should be kept at the top of your contact register.  The contact made will include calls, meetings, conferences, product or service briefings, product releases, and regular client events.
  8. Your competitor’s clients should get a special category in your database.  Over time you can convert some of them to your clients, so a strategy of high priority contact should be established with these people.

Given all of these things, it is wise to ask for referral business whenever possible.  Every client and prospect in your database will know other people, some of whom will be valid contacts for future business; ask the question at the right time with the right people.