Most established small companies encounter challenges with revenue at some point in their evolution. I’ve worked with a ton of these problems in a variety of flavours:
· Expanding and improving the performance of sales teams to promote growth.
· Investing in new Marketing and Lead Generation strategies.
· Dealing with core market decline or economic cycles.
· Using Account Management and Service teams to drive revenue growth from the existing customer base.
· Trying (and I use this word deliberately) to create a level of consistency and predictability in the revenue number.
· Rapid scaling up to meet explosive Sales growth.
When it comes to the companies I meet with (yep, I have to sell too), sales volumes are often (but not always) the trigger for them to ask to spend some time with me. Either their sales are declining, or they are not growing at the rate required.
There are only two types of sales challenges.
1. Your market is changing, affecting demand for your specific products/services (including the way you position them).
2. You are not doing what needs to be done to attract/influence the correct number of customers to acquire your products/services.
Whilst these are different challenges, they both require that you THINK AND ACT DIFFERENTLY!
When the revenue pressure is on, it’s an opportunity to harness your creativity to put the heat back into the sales funnel.
So, the first question to ask yourself is which of these situations do you believe you are in?
What data do you need to access, and who do you need to speak with to understand what drives the shifts in sales volumes? If I am brutally frank, I just don’t see many small companies spending enough time understand the data underneath the top-level revenue number. This is no time for guesswork, and you need a fact base on which to understand what is happening.
If it is a genuine market shift, you may need to innovate a new or modified product/service offering, create new channels, or even enter new markets.
If it is an operational marketing and sales issue, which one (or more) of these is at the heart of the challenge?
· The creation of the right volume and quality of new prospective customers?
· The conversion of opportunities into orders?
· Lack of growth in existing customer spend?
· The prevention of churn from the existing customer base?
Again, data is critical here. You need to clearly identify what is going on so that you can formulate the most effective response. Spend some time getting to grips with acquisition where your quality leads are coming from, your conversion ratios, customer lifetime values and churn levels.
It’s worth exploring whether this is an ‘activity’ or an ‘approach’ challenge.
Is there just not enough activity with customers and prospects or is it that the approach being taken is not yielding the outcomes you want to achieve.
With this level of understanding, you can begin to plan and implement clean, effective action. Nothing should be excluded from consideration. No one approach, strategy or person is sacred, and no decision or action can be ignored because it is uncomfortable, difficult or something we haven’t done before. Remember, difficult decisions and conversations are part of what being a Business Owner / Managing Director is.
Whatever the challenge, the solution is about you showing up and doing what needs to be done to access your desired outcomes and experience.
This is where things get interesting.
What is it you really want, what needs to be done to put you in the best position to get it and what stops you from doing it? This is the heart of the work I do with companies and people.