I suppose the first point to make is that we can all improve our sales and marketing performance but clearly some businesses are winning at the moment and many others are struggling. What you were doing a few years ago to win new business and new clients is no longer enough and probably isn’t working anyhow. You noticed that I said “new” and this is important as clients will come and go, enlarge, divest, merge, be acquired so you will always experience some natural shrinkage but new business is the lifeblood of any business. The 80/20 rule applies here, you need 20% of new clients.
So clients used to come to you or you employed someone to “generate leads” but now these clients have procurement departments, tenders, and on-line auctions. Things have changed and these new buyers seem to be armed with all sorts of knowledge and questions and scoring ratios. The internet seems to have changed your world forever and there are competitors offering your services cheaper and cheaper and they’re not even based in the UK. What can you do to change the tide and understand better what you should/must do next.
The fact is that inbound marketing alongside targeted marketing of decision-makers can help your business receive more qualified sales leads and more cost effectively than hiring a cold caller. Your business can use CRM effectively to drive these qualified leads through the sales funnel and measure your sales performance objectively. How many times have I heard “we don’t really use our CRM system to do that, it’s more a contact database”.
By properly integrating sales and marketing you can improve your sales and marketing performance?
- Has your compelling sales proposition become less compelling?
- Have you ever had an independent sales and marketing review of your business?
- Do you want theory or do you want someone to implement?
- Is cold calling and all those emails getting you results?
Jefferson Sales has been advising Sales Directors, General Managers and Managing Directors for over 10 years on sales issues. We have assisted with sales strategy, customer and market segmentation, developing buyer personas and compelling sales propositions, implementing effective sales processes and systems including CRM, commission and incentive structures, selecting sales people, and performance managing sales teams. This sort of external expertise is available and has been widely used by our clients.
Contact us to learn more about our services. We can tailor what we do for your exact needs.
When talking to many Company Directors about their sales journey a number of issues become evident. Two of those greatest issues are selling solutions rather than products or services and becoming a marketing or sales-led organisation rather than technical or operational-led.
They need to move fast from a product or service company to a solution company that listens to client needs and reacts by providing solutions to these challenges. This means that they have to start building buyer profiles and understanding their clients’ roles and objectives. Now they can compete on value rather than price. They also need to assess whether they have the right sales people who can adapt to this approach.
The second point is that the whole company needs to be in charge of marketing and sales not just the sales or marketing people.
Companies need to engage with customers “pulling” rather than just “pushing” and create a dialogue rather than a monologue. This means a shift in culture, a shift in how sales and marketing is viewed as a separate and distinct function or discipline and a process for capturing and disseminating information from across the business.
Utilising and optimising sales tools and technology to automate and capture these touch points between the company and its clients or potential clients becomes the only way in which a company can truly collaborate and analyse customer engagement.
Whether it be inbound marketing initiatives, full utilisation of CRM systems, and creating a culture of “We’re all sales now” there are ways to assist this transition and implement the appropriate systems.
Jefferson Sales has been helping Company Directors transform their sales organisation since 2005.
As I watch my North London football team capitulate again and England narrowly lose to New Zealand in both forms of Rugby I think about leadership and team coaching.
As members of a team whether that is sporting, I coach an under-15 rugby union team in my spare time, or in business we all make decisions and judgements that affect the outcome. Many times these are snap or quick decisions and therefore we need a toolkit and to know what options we have. These can often be taught or are learnt from making mistakes. Our coaches and leaders help us to make the right decisions.
Yes we also need Managers to help us but far better if they don’t just manage but also coach, mentor, inspire and lead us and then we can really look up to them. We are not automatons and therefore we need constant motivation, inspiration and desire to improve all aspects of our job whether that is as a sports person or as a sales person.
Coaching helps us focus on aspects of our role and step back and look at what we do and think positively about what we can do to improve rather than just negative criticism. After all no-one really likes criticism.
A coach who has been in our situation is more respected than one who hasn’t (armchair critic) and it is the same with sales. An experienced Sales Director can effectively coach, mentor, inspire and develop your sales people to improve what they do by discussing real world scenarios and providing proven tools, processes and tactics. A winning mentality is infectious and of course no-one likes losing…
Jefferson Sales has been leading and coaching sales people and creating high performing sales teams in companies since 2005.
During the last few years of downturn there has been much discussion about leadership, or lack of, and how this is impacting not only local markets but the global economy.
What are you doing in your SMB (Small Medium Business) about sales and marketing leadership? Is your sales and marketing strategy and plan clear to your people?
When you started your business you probably did all the sales and marketing yourself. This then evolved into you hiring a dedicated sales person and perhaps using a marketing agency or marketing part-timer. The sales team grew but still there was no need for any robust “management” as it could be handled with the odd catch up phone call or meeting.
Now, however, there is a small dedicated sales team, they need direction and attention and you are too busy running a larger more sophisticated business. What do you do?
One situation we come upon quite regularly is that SMB Owners promote their best sales person into a sales management role. This follows a number of assumptions; 1) that their sales ability will rub off on those in the team; 2) that they will coach them all to be heavy hitters; 3) that they are also strong sales leaders and managers; 4) that promoting them will mean that they are more likely to stay and increase company loyalty; 5) that they can get two for the price of one. Wrong…
You just took your best sales person out of a direct selling role into a more administrative/management role which will either mean that they’ll get bogged down in non-selling related tasks and become frustrated that they aren’t selling anymore or remain totally involved in selling and feel they’ve failed to properly lead and manage the sales team. Your sales figures will most likely become impacted, you’ll return the sales heavy hitter back to selling and they’ll feel and be perceived as being demoted that “it didn’t work out” or that they failed.
Is this a risk that you want to take particularly at this time?
The reality is that at some time in the evolution of your sales and marketing team it will make sense to hire a professional Sales Leader and Manager in your business full-time but what can you do in the meantime to make sure that your sales team have leadership. Hire a Part Timer…
A part-time experienced and professional Sales Leader brings an established tool kit and way of working that is cost effective, resource effective and time effective. It may only need 1 or 2 days per week to rally the troops, agree the sales forecast, advise on the sales pipeline, agree tactics to close more business sooner, evaluate any sales development gaps, and coach and mentor the sales team to be the very best.
Jefferson Sales has been providing part-time sales management services to SMB Owners since 2005.
The truth is that once a Managing Director decides to hire an external sales consultant to review their sales team or sales department they have often left it too long.
The company has been in sales growth decline for at least 6 months, some sales team members have been behind their sales targets for 12 months or more and never got a sales forecast correct. This has demotivated other members of the team and has created a culture of “it’s okay to under-perform”.
The truth is that it is okay to have a bad quarter but two in a row or more and questions need to be asked. But where does the fault lie if you’ve created the culture where this is acceptable?
For many companies they are in decline, their product or service used to be competitive and lead the market but they stopped innovating and lost their agility and flexibility. They stopped listening to the market-place and went into their shells. Some sales team members became lazy and complacent and there is little new blood coming in to shake up the hierarchy.
As their competitors adopted sales tools and improved their sales processes and moved from transactional to consultative and value-based selling they were able to steal a march. Using CRM and business intelligence from their marketing departments and deeper understanding of client needs they were able to build better relationships and predict future needs. They were also able to innovate their products and services to better align with these needs and structure their sales teams better around these customers.
The market for your products or services is constantly changing and your sales structure and team need to be able to adapt to these changes. The old way of selling won’t work any more and if you are the Managing Director you need to act sooner rather than later before it becomes harder to implement change.
Getting an external perspective or performing an independent sales and marketing audit of your department might be one good approach.
Jefferson Sales provides independent sales management consultancy and interim sales services to Managing Directors and can be contacted on:
T: +44 (0)20 7096 2005