For small and new-start businesses, the move towards employing a dedicated sales and marketing team can be a financially difficult decision to make. Juggling the need to grow your business with the costs involved in employing and training full-time sales executives and managers can be a major headache.
While setting a strong sales strategy is an essential element in the successful development of any business, for many company directors, ensuring that they get the best out of their investment is a minefield of uncertainty.
The key to achieving impressive results from the start is taking the time to carry out comprehensive pre-sales research.
Sales is a process and, like any other process, benefits from a continuous, repetitive way of doing things. For an organisation to optimise its sales, it must look to manage the sales process with a logically managed way of doing things. Start by building a clear picture of your business objectives and your market. This will help you agree on a pitch to potential customers as well as setting clear objectives for the sales team to meet.
Identifying the correct decision-maker within your target company and establishing an initial understanding of their potential as a customer is also vital. Valuable time can be wasted by pursuing business that is not really there, so it is important to minimise such illusory leads by gathering information intelligently and providing insights from it, prior to meeting with clients.
Once you have laid the groundwork and compiled the necessary data, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of selling.
Never underestimate the importance of honing your presentation skills. Establishing a rapport with customers will help engage their interest and increase your sales opportunities.
A fundamental part of any sales job is that you know your product or service inside out, as the first point of contact prospective clients will have with your company, it is absolutely vital the sales team know the business inside and out so they present a knowledgeable and professional face to it.
While the right sales person can make a huge contribution to general new business revenue, the wrong sales person can be detrimental to your business. So pick the right person, make sure they know what they are talking about, analyse the market and take the time to lay the groundwork for pitching to new clients: is that the secret to sales success?
Well, not quite.
While it’s important to cultivate new customers, research has shown that customers who are not contacted on a regular basis by their suppliers often feel they are not valued and are, therefore, far more likely to go elsewhere.
Keep in contact with your clients’ customer base as maintaining that all-important contact will help direct new orders and inquiries. Even if you aren’t keeping in touch, it’s worth remembering that your competitors almost certainly are.
By Nicola Hartland, Founder and CEO of Xcel Sales who are fast becoming one of the UK's leading new B2B business acquisition agencies.