What areas could you improve in sales? Jonathan Viney of JV Consultancy Group
How can we improve our business sales? From my experience, this is one of the most frequent questions we get asked.
The short answer is lots of little things can always be changed or adjusted to improve your sales. The reason I say this with confidence is that the environment around what you do as a business is constantly changing. If you do not adapt overtime, you will be left behind by the competition.
One example of a company that was successful that failed to change its proposition is the Little Chef restaurants.
In the 1990's I would have stopped by a Little Chef several times a week to sit down with a salesperson and do a review of the day or a pipeline. In those days you had to queue to get into the Little Chef and get a table - we always had the Olympic Breakfast. Little Chef changed very little when they were successful. However, the marketplace changed around them.
Salespeople could now have meetings in hotels, coffee shops, I personally am very fond of a meeting in McDonald's using their table service to get my 99p cup of tea to carry out a sales review whilst on the road. Always looking after that bottom line.
So how do you stop your company from being the next Little Chef? We would recommend that you review regularly the top elements that influence your ability to be successful.
- Is the business plan in need of change?
- Is the sales plan going to deliver the company's goals?
- Have you reviewed all routes to the market?
- Is the sales structure right (including support staff)?
- Do the salespeople know they're competencies and behaviour styles?
- Is your sales process right and being used?
- Is the sales pipeline right and forecasting accurate?
- Is the management information being acted on?
- Do you understand the competition's weaknesses and strengths?
- Is your sales proposition, right?
- Does your marketing plan meet your sales needs?
- Is your company culture aligned with sales and marketing?
Any one of the above elements that are not working in a seamless and coordinated way with all the other elements will reduce your sales effectiveness - in some cases quite dramatically.
At this point, I do like the example set by Sir David Brailsford CBE. The work he did with the British Cycling Team to get them to become leaders in the world of cycling through working on small and consistent improvements was innovative. A system of working on the finer details for a greater outcome than trying to find one silver bullet.
By reviewing all these key elements regularly will enable you to improve your sales and consequently thrive.
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