There are plenty of times when it is necessary to evaluate your sales process and recalibrate – maybe sales are down, goals are not being reached, or the team is not working to its full potential. But what about when everything is going right, and you are struggling to even meet demand? What if you are asking yourself, “Why should we care about sales right now, when we have more business than we can produce?” This situation offers some rare opportunities.
Every company, for whatever reason, does business with customers that they probably shouldn’t. This is a great time to do a thorough review of each customer and determine if they fit your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) or are just someone that you have done business with.
- Lower Profit Margins: If they just won’t pay what you should be getting, is it time to gently let them find help elsewhere? Maybe not. But it is time to start raising your prices until they are at, at least, your average GP.
- Don’t really fit what you do now: Yes, they may have been your first customer but are you doing your company or them, a favor by remaining a supplier? Have that difficult conversation and help them transition to a better fit.
- Supplier vs Partner: Some companies will never let you help them as much as you can because they only see you as a supplier and not as a partner. They will often jump ship to save even a small amount of money and aren’t really loyal. Thin the herd, but give them the chance to say “please Partner with us” first—great things can happen.
When things are going great, why not use this time to really look at your sales team and prepare them for the future.
- Training: When was the last time you gave your sales team training, (sales, product, technology, etc.), so that they are all on the same page, speaking the same language, and presenting the same story? Has your Sales Leader ever received Sales Leadership training?
- Performance: Price’s Law is well documented—most of your sales actually come from only a few, (square root of total), of your sales people. Can you help the lower performers by mentoring, training, sharing best practices, providing better metrics, or compensation that drives performance? If not, cull the herd and bring in some new blood—this is a great time to onboard.
New Customer Prospecting
Yes, it really is the time to start building relationships. The environment will change some day and if you start building foundations now, you will be ready to implement when you need to make a pivot.
- Whale Hunting: What is the one or two ideal clients that you have always wanted but just never had the time or ability to capture? Whales take a long time to land, so now is the time to start building a relationship. This is actually a good time for them because they are also probably worried about their current supplier, late deliveries, bad news etc. Don’t try to sell them; start getting to know them.
- Onshoring Opportunities: There are many companies that have relied on overseas suppliers for a long time. Many of these companies never even considered a domestic supplier and have no idea where or how to look. Your sales team has never even tried. But the world has and is changing. Companies have discovered that they are at risk and the “real cost” of off-shoring is actually much higher than they had accounted. It is time to start letting these companies know that domestic production is not only a possibility but an advantage.
- New Industries or Markets: as above, it isn’t easy or fast to move into a new industry or market and it takes time to learn the players, language, needs, requirements, etc. Put the effort in now, when times are good, so that you can harvest when times change.
When your business is at its best, there are great advantages to taking time for introspection and re-evaluating current customers and how they relate to your ICP. Providing training and performance coaching for your sales team, and identifying goals for prospecting new clients will inevitably drive your business forward. To answer the question, by caring about the sales process when things are good, you will place yourself in the optimal position for wherever the market may lead next.