Accelerate Your Sales With These 5 Strategies

How can you turn sales into growth and value for your business? According to Tom Daly of Sales Xceleration, the bedrock of any sales strategy is a clear, transparent sales process that is used consistently across your organization.

Tom is an outsourced/fractional vice president of sales who helps businesses achieve their best sales performances and accomplish their revenue and profit goals. He previously worked with the Small Business Development Center at Daytona State College, helping more than 300 small businesses over two years.

Together with Mike Sibley, leader of the James Moore Manufacturing team, Tom discusses how small- to medium-sized businesses can improve their sales strategy.

Recognize the difference between sales and marketing.

First, it’s important to not mistake marketing for sales. Sales and marketing share the common goal of reaching customers, but they differ in key ways.

Marketing aims to craft a compelling message and create a unique brand. It also selects the best means of delivering that message and branding in order to help a company shine.

Sales is responsible for finding and developing high-value leads. Sales staff must determine customers’ needs and desires and find clients who will be delighted by your products or services.

When marketing and sales work hand in hand, they can create a lot of firepower. Your marketing team can bring sales leads. Similarly, salespeople can report back to marketing the trends they’re seeing in their interactions with clients. This in turn could help shape future messaging and content.

“What are your clients’ needs, pain points and desires? What are they hoping to accomplish? The sales rep needs to be the expert on what that solution is,” Tom said. “When those two match up, we’ve got a delighted client that hopefully is sticking long term and generating other referrals.”

Create a simple, dynamic sales process.

Closing sales depends on more than fast-talking, charismatic salespeople. The foundation is the sales process – a specific protocol for how things work.

A good sales process starts with strategy: matching what your company does well with the best clients. It should also be dynamic and able to shift in response to disruptions and changes in the market and customer behavior.

Your sales process should be “highly functioning, transparent, understandable and adopted across the entire organization,” Tom said.

Salespeople can inject their own personality and nuance into the process. However, adhering to its basic guidelines increases the chance of success. Having a process in place also allows your business to grow and scale up as you gain more clients.

Tom outlined essential steps to defining and refining your company’s sales process.

Understand the market and your clients’ needs. First, identify your customers’ needs and pain points. What are buyers looking for? This will help your salespeople tailor presentations to offer specific solutions. Candid conversations with your best customers can provide valuable insights into how to reach others.

“Be blunt. Say, ‘Why do you do business with us? What works for you about our relationship? How could we be doing a better job?’” Tom said. “You might hear things you’re not really expecting that might be important.”

Optimize your buyers’ journey. Make sure your website is simple and SEO optimized to help prospective customers find you in their web searches. Your landing page should present how you can solve their pain point. Be clear about how you help your current customers so prospective buyers can easily envision how the products or services you offer help them reach their goals.

Measure your success. Tools such as customer relationship management dashboards, or CRMs, can help you track your interactions with clients and define your goals and metrics of success. Decide how many outreaches it should take to generate an appointment, how many appointments equal a presentation and how many presentations equal a sale.

Key performance indicators, or KPIs, create accountability for the sales team and management. They allow the team to measure their performance and hone in on parts of the process that might not be working – for example, whether you’re reaching the right people. These types of measurables allow salespeople to make informed decisions and validate what they’re doing. “You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” Mike said.

Be prepared to pivot. Remember that disruptions are normal. They may not alter the fundamentals of your process, but tweak your process as needed.

For example, one of your most profitable products or services may lose value or relevancy over time. You might find yourself having to discount more to move the same amount as you did in the past. If this happens, consider whether this needs to be among your offerings or whether you should charge more even if you have fewer customers. Similarly, examine your highest-selling products and services and ask how and why these deliver top value.

Hire the right people for your process.

Choosing salespeople who are not the best fit for your company can be costly and result in high turnover. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to help you find the candidates you need.

Having a sales strategy and structure in place allows you to identify the skillset you need in new hires and whether they will be able to master your process. Can they help clients see the value proposition in the solutions your company offers? Are they willing to be held accountable?

Boost your employee retention rates by double-checking that your compensation plan is up to date. Review the plan on an annual basis to ensure it stays current with changes in your company, the marketplace and your customers. A good compensation plan should drive your staff’s entrepreneurial mindset. It also helps each person recognize their importance in contributing to the overall success of the company.

Have an exit strategy.

Every business, including small ones, should have an exit strategy. Know what makes your business attractive to a potential buyer. Having tried-and-true processes in place increases the value of your company. They enable someone else to take over the business and continue to be successful without the inefficiency that comes with having to invent new processes.

As a business grows, make sure the CEO is not handling all aspects of the company. The business should be able to sustain itself if the CEO leaves or it is bought.

“A lot of owners are Type A personalities. They feel ‘I must fix it,’” Tom said. “At a certain point, the scale of your business is so big that sometimes they shouldn’t.”

If you are the owner or CEO of your company, resist the temptation to helicopter. Your employees should feel they can handle situations as they arise. Make sure you are coaching them on why and how you make decisions. If you do make every decision yourself, it’s harder for your staff to learn.

Setting a sales strategy.

If you’re starting your sales strategy from scratch, tap the resources available through your local manufacturing association. Ask peers in your network whether they’re doing anything different with their sales strategies and what challenges they’ve faced.

Tom also recommends investing in books on the Entrepreneurial Operating System. “It goes all over the entire construct of companies, but there’s a big lesson to be learned there about sales strategy and structure,” he said.

Working with a consultant can also help. Sales Xceleration offers a free assessment tool on its website to give business owners a snapshot of where they are and where they might head next. And your manufacturing CPA is always a good resource for these matters.

All content provided in this article is for informational purposes only. Matters discussed in this article are subject to change. For up-to-date information on this subject please contact a James Moore professional. James Moore will not be held responsible for any claim, loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any information within these pages or any information accessed through this site.