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In general, companies are often looking for growth flows. Indeed, most are looking to grow faster by generating more revenue and profit.
The problem I often encounter when I work with business leaders is that they feel blocked and limited in their growth. They claim that the market is saturated and that they no longer know where to seek growth. However, when I ask them what their market shares are, many of them have no idea. That’s why I recommend conducting a market study to better understand your situation and identify growth opportunities. But this study will only tell you where you can look for growth. However, there is no guarantee that your sales force will know what to do and how to bring you the sales opportunities identified in the study.
So, what can you do about it?
Where Should You Invest More Specifically?
In many companies, the main growth strategy is focused on the development of new products or services. It is often the “default” approach that is considered.
I also see many SMB owners who are relying on mergers and acquisitions to add product lines and have a presence in more markets without having to start from scratch.
Although these two approaches are quite valid in some cases, they require major investments.
That’s why I recommend that you choose strategies that focus on less risky sales and require less investment, but that will still allow you to increase revenue and profitability. Here are the sales priorities that will allow you to support a strong organic growth.
The Sales Culture
One of the key factors that separates high-performing companies from others is the sales culture. Are you wondering about your company’s culture? Is it a real sales culture?
If your answer is no, then it is essential to create this type of culture in which each employee understands that they have a key role to play in the company’s performance.
Processes Within the Different Departments
The next aspect on which a company can seek growth is in processes.
- Do your current processes allow you to convert as many opportunities as possible into sales?
- Do your processes allow you to retain your customers over time, do your current processes allow you to capture all the business volume from your customers?
- Do your current processes deliver enough value to customers to make them ambassadors?
In all departments, you have an opportunity to improve processes in order to provide a quality customer experience. All these processes will have a direct impact on your company’s profitability.
When I analyze a company’s sales processes, I notice that they usually focus on finding new customers. However, it is important to remember that there are excellent growth opportunities among your current or former customers. As a manager, make sure that your sales processes really allow you to address all types of opportunities.
The Sales Force
What is the point of having the best products or services if your sales team is not able to sell them in the market and at the right price?
Being able to sell is actually a major skill gap in sales teams. Yes, you read it right. Every week, I meet with business leaders and executives who attach more importance to the technical aspects of their products or services than to the skills needed to sell them.
In fact, without knowing it, many managers leave a frightening amount of money on the table because they think their representatives know how to sell and can sell, when they truly don’t. Without a scientific analysis of a sales team, it is unfortunately not possible to identify skill gaps and hidden growth opportunities. To know how to help your sales force sell more, you need to start by analyzing it scientifically to answer the following key questions:
- Can we be more efficient?
- To what extent can we be more efficient?
- What will it take to get there?
- How long will it take?
- What are the skills of the different players on your team (managers and salespeople)?
- Do we have the right processes in place to sell effectively?
- What is the impact of managers on the sales team and results?
If you want to know more on the elements that are part of a comprehensive sales force analysis, click here.
Sales Training and Coaching
Last but not least initiative where I recommend to invest for more growth and profitability is in training and coaching your sales team.
I mean it! This is the last place to invest and not the first. If you do not know precisely what are the individual needs for training and hidden weaknesses of each individual, training will simply be useless.
It is essential to offer the right training and to address both the individual and collective needs of your sales team. Any training must be reinforced by quality coaching to apply knowledge in the field and transform it into skills.
What Sequence Should be Followed When Investing in Sales to Generate Growth?
All the elements mentioned above are essential to accelerate a company’s growth and profitability. As I said, make sure you understand your market. If you do not understand your market well, you will be unable to set your goals and targets.
Once you know your market well and your objectives are set, here is the sequence I suggest in terms of investment to seek growth:
- Adjust your strategy and corporate culture;
- Make sure you have the right people in the right sales roles;
- Study and optimize processes across departments;
- Implement the right training and coaching plans.
All these elements go together, so a company that neglects one of them undoubtedly leaves money on the table.
Today, the fast pace of market changes is forcing companies to constantly adapt and challenge the status quo in order to continue to meet market demands. Not to mention that the competitive environment for companies has changed dramatically. We are no longer talking about local competition, but rather global competition. Growth flows seem more difficult to find, which is why it is important to invest in your sales in order to increase your revenues and achieve the growth objectives you have set for yourself.
Always stay proactive so that you are ahead of the wave and not under it!