“Accelerating revenue growth” is by far the topic we get the most questions about. It seems everyone seeks the “silver bullet” – that one thing that will make all the difference in their sales – but, frankly, we’ve never seen a single change capable of significantly increasing sales. Rather, we’ve witnessed companies achieve revenue growth by focusing on select key areas, or as we like to call it, “Silver Buckshot,” which encompasses 3.5 strategic sales essentials.
Technology has advanced tremendously in the last few years. Today, there are over 40 different CRMs (Customer Relationship Management systems), many of which are industry specific. A good CRM allows you to design a customized solution to your company’s unique selling cycle. This customization translates to better adoption and utilization by your sales team because they find the CRM to be more than just a reporting tool; rather, they typically find it to be beneficial in their day-to-day activities.
Other “plugins” extend the power of CRMs by enabling you to build end-to-end marketing solutions such as tracking email campaigns, building complete sequencing of your sales cycle, and improving connection rates by entering lead generation data. CRM pricing has become very affordable, as well, starting from approximately $12 per month per seat, with plugins available from as little as $15 per month.
A balanced lead generation plan must include building a referral partner network. With over 92% of people relying on opinions of friends and family (according to a Nielsen.com report) – every salesperson must have a wide network. At minimum, both your company and your sales team should be actively engaged in LinkedIn to connect, meet, and grow your network.
Today’s customers expect to engage with you where and how they want. So, be sure you understand how customers prefer to find you (and your competitors). Offer free “thought leadership” material that provides solid information in return for an email address, and then continually provide information to keep them engaged. Also, make sure your sales process is simple, concise, and clean for customers. Ask recent customers what they liked and disliked about their experience and make changes as necessary.
And the Half-Step … Stay Focused … Allow Time For the Plan to Work
“Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” – Joyce Meyer
Too often, business owners don’t allow enough time for a plan to work. Therefore, you should start by understanding how long is reasonable before you’ll see desired outcomes. If your sales cycle takes 12 to 18 months, expect results to begin showing up at least 12 months in, but probably not take full effect for up to 24 months. Of course, be vigilant to guard against the dreaded backward slide to “the way we used to do it,” as this could delay success or cause the need for multiple course corrections.
Because the sales game has changed dramatically over the past 5 years, it is vital to have a game plan in place for these 3.5 revenue growth essentials. If you don’t, your competitors will have the upper hand and welcome your customers with open arms.