Today we are going to explore methods that revenue can be increased. This information is valuable to both sales people – who need to show growth opportunities to a customer; and company executives – who need to find a way to increase their own revenue during this difficult economic period. So, I am listing 15 ways to expanse revenues:
Posts Tagged ‘Sales Growth’
I want to start the Business Acumen series with a basic discussion point: Sales Growth. This has become the top subject in many offices and board rooms due to the recessional impact by the economy. Every executive is focused upon increasing revenues. It has become the number one thing keeping them awake at night. While I will discuss this point, I want to share the balanced approach to looking at Sales Growth – since their are companies that are still growing even in this economy.
Sales Growth is one of the first things you should be looking at to understand the culture within the company. There are three variables for you to consider when reviewing growth. First, you can have growth; Second, you can have a declining sales trend; and Third, you can have no growth or no change in sales volume. The key is watch the trends. One year is never enough to assess the progress of a companies sales. Several years of sales (Five years is best, three is a minimum and for large public companies – 10 years) One of the best sources for public company data can be found in Yahoo Finance.
Trend showing Growth over a three to five year period. There are several questions to ask regarding a growth company.
Yes, another change for our company during these interesting economic times is the shift from power hitting home runs to collecting more singles and doubles – to use a baseball analogy. Let me explain. First, in baseball terms the power hitters will hit a few homers, yet, they usually strike out more than they hit. The players that hit singles and doubles however usually have higher batting averages. Therefore, since they are on base more, they score more runs and are highly valued by their organizations.
The perfect player is one who hits for a high average and has enough power plays for an occasional home run. These are the high performers of baseball and command respect – and usually high salaries due to their production.
In the world of sales today, if you are only hunting for big game, or swinging for the fences at every at bat, then you are probably striking out in today’s economic environment. Play smart and go for the higher batting average – get the smaller sales and the medium sales from customer who will take a risk for smaller commitments (and cash!). The interesting thing is if you get enough of these sales they add up to large sums of sales. Your risk is spread around, so if you lose one account it does not hurt as bad.
Our focus has shifted to the small and mid-size accounts for a strategic reason. The “bigs” are not buying or if they are buying – they are not paying very fast. The impact of slower pay is actually worst than if they do not buy because of the expenses involved in selling a product or service. The small and midsized companies have a tendency to take care of business in a timely manner. We enjoy a steady flow of receivables to worrying about when a “big” one will pay – 46-60-90 days or longer! Ouch!
Build a board base of accounts that are active and appreciate the value you bring to the table. Actively search out the “progressive” customers who understand that cutting expenses will not grow any business in the long term. Now is the time to prepare for the future. Get your activity rates up on sales and marketing efforts. Touch your prospects and customers as often as you can without becoming a “pest.”
These economic times are difficult, so simplify your life by going for more small sales and let them add up over the month. Activity levels must increase to offset the smaller sales, but that is okay. You got to the level you are by making one sale, then another sale, and another. You and I can do it again. I even like the idea of helping my smaller customers grow their business to new levels. They can take me to the next level if I serve their needs the right way.
Last week I received a question from one of my connections on LinkedIn. The question got my attention in a big way and I responded with my answer of what changes are we making. Here is a review of both the question and my response:
“If we expect to get different results in these challenging times, what are the few critical things that we must personally do differently…starting now?”
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” — Albert Einstein
We must embrace change — new ideas, new points of view, new business models and different personal behaviors.
Your question is excellent and timely. Yes, change must be embraced and creativity comes to the forefront.
We have done a complete review of what got us to today, what is still working, what have we forgotten to do today that worked in the past, will it work today questions are applied to everything. Testing of ideas has become more important.
Lead generation is our most critical issue and we have set up three areas of focus:
- Networking everywhere – all the organizations that bring people together that fit our targeted market – well – we are showing up and participating.
- Internet Marketing – we are checking all the keys from SEO, PPC, landing pages, specific selling sites to the actual copy on the site (More important than most people realize is the copy – is it about you or the client?)
- More coordinated selling efforts – direct mail is back due to the spam filters for email and voice mail for telephones, calling old clients, finding old clients that moved to new locations, face to face meetings whenever possible and learning to use “gotomeeting” or some other web-based video conferencing tool.
The key is to get more aggressive in sales and marketing today if you want to be around tomorrow.
One last thought, create a better or complete description of your ideal customer and focus all your energy on finding them. Our biggest lesson during the downturn is we had too many “commodity or traditional model” clients and a need for more progressive clients who know the right way to move forward during this time period.
This seems like the obvious choice for the third key to growth, however, it can be a problem for many organizations. The key point is alignment between Sales and Marketing. Alignment seems to be missing in action in many of the organizations that we have seen.
A common theme is – there is the Sales Department and there is the Marketing Department – and they take this split to be meaningful. That’s the biggest mistake an organization can have within its walls! Sales and Marketing should be an integrated unit – both speaking from the same book.
Here are the pitfalls for non-alignment and reasons for alignment for sales and marketing.