Navigating Economic Uncertainty: Embrace Sales
When you started your business, maybe you found success rather quickly — plummeting headfirst into keeping up with an influx of business. Or perhaps you struggled for a while — testing out endless strategies to generate new business and keep yourself afloat. If you are the latter of those two, you may not have realized at the time, but your struggle and perseverance to enter into a new market may have set you up for greater long-term success, setting a solid sales-focused foundation for your business to build on.
Whether or not you consider yourself a salesperson, the reality is, when there is economic strain, a strong selling strategy is the key to survival. Passively waiting for business to come to you just won’t work.
The first blog in this series about creating and maintaining a successful business during economic uncertainty focused on bringing the right mindset. The second shared marketing tips. This time, we will focus on embracing sales.
As a business owner, blaming the economy for decreased revenues might prove deadly in the long run. Instead, it’s the perfect time to ramp up and hone your sales strategies, so let’s explore some of the common challenges business owners face when it comes to sales.
1. Failing to track and measure
Another common struggle is how to effectively track your sales activity. Do you get a better response rate with calls or emails? How many touchpoints does it typically take to convert a lead to a prospect to a customer, etc.? What is your most effective source of lead generation? How do you attribute and track the ROI for each of those sources? Not knowing is a costly and time-wasting mistake.
2. Lacking training or a qualified team
Perhaps you’re an expert in your industry but haven’t had any formal sales training. One error owners might make is believing that selling is beneath them or that their experience and knowledge is so great they won’t have to “sell” in the traditional sense. Maybe this was true at some point in your business, but during an economic downturn, professional sales skills are critical.
3. Not emphasizing the close
No one wants to be that aggressive, pushy salesperson (and no potential customer wants to deal with one). Conversely, you don’t want to be too passive or fear rejection so much that you’re unable to do what it takes to close the sale. A pipeline full of leads means nothing if you can’t actually get new business.
If you’re experiencing these challenges or others when it comes to selling, consider implementing some of these tactics.
The reason consumers think negatively of salespeople is because they believe most of them mislead or take advantage of customers. To combat that, focus on creating real, personal relationships with your potential and current clients. Invest your time and effort into truly understanding their needs and going above and beyond to service those needs once they become customers. A happy customer is the best sales strategy!
You know tracking your sales activity and your pipeline is essential; the system you use to do it is too. Invest in a robust CRM that can house all your data in one place. A CRM will keep you organized, allow you to scale your business more easily, and give you the ability to pull detailed sales analytics. An ideal tool will also allow you to integrate with other systems like a marketing automation platform that you have now or plan to acquire.
If you do decide to hire one or multiple people to help with sales, make sure your expectations are clearly communicated from the onset. Determine the KPIs they will be responsible for and how you or they will be responsible for tracking them. List the territories and customer profile they will be targeting. Details regarding commission, salary, bonuses, and promotions should be laid out before a hiring decision is made. Investing time and money into a new hire just to have them leave a few months later because the job wasn’t what they expected is a costly mistake you want to avoid.
The Bottom Line
To be successful in an unstable economy, you must execute specific sales strategies. There are countless challenges you will face when it comes to bolstering sales; start by focusing on current relationships and customer service and having the right systems, technology, and teams in place.