Companies and startups operating in the market are as diverse as people and their needs. Newly carved niches become quickly filled by businesses. Regardless of their exact scope of activities, what they all have in common is wanting to increase the sales of their product or service. In the entire history of the world, there probably wasn’t a single company which said “ok, that’s enough”. And if the offer is quality indeed, there’s nothing wrong in wanting to expand. What if, however, for some reason the growth of sales slows to a halt?
The reasons for such a state of affairs may be many. Before we’ll move on to discussing those of them we deem most important, one crucial aspect has to be stressed.
Sales is a process which can and should be measured, scaled, and set within a timeframe.
In other words, it’s a journey from point A to point B, and the indicators such as KPI and OKR help us set the path to our goal. Moreover, they allow us to measure progress and adjust the pace of work to the current situation.
With that in mind, let’s move on to discussing those areas of business operations which need to be optimized in order to increase sales.
Lack of or insufficiently strong UVP
Since sales is a process, we can divide it into stages.
Raising the interest stage, where our task is to provide a potential client with a reason to become interested in our offer. This is achieved precisely through a clear and direct Unique Value Proposition which attracts and keeps the attention of our target group so that we can enter the next stage.
In the synchronization stage we ought to probe the buyer’s needs and create value for him within our offer. Here our job is to listen to the client closely, deliver a product or a service in accordance with his expectations, and foresee the results. Synchronization is about an efficient exchange of moves, action and reaction, along the business-client line. The exchange of minor gestures between the parties makes the process more dynamic and effective.
Finally, in the influence stage we have to proactively affect the client in order to actually sell. This influence can be generated in multiple ways. Creating value for the customer, utilizing current trends, leveraging – co-creating the solution jointly with the client, or employing correlation (the product is used by Fortune 500 companies, it will help you too) are some of the ways to persuade the client, and so increase sales. All this starts with a strong UVP though.
Developing a complete sales process incorporating all these stages is necessary, although without any previous experience it may seem like a tall order. Even more so, our client may not be aware of how crucial it is, so it’s our job to help him understand this.
In order to make the entire process more fluid, we must start from setting and introducing to the client a cooperation vector which will define the route between the particular stages of the sales process. This will make the client trust us and the process more, and the specific milestones will be achieved faster.
Not quantifying the sales process
As previously stated, sales is a process, which means it can be measured, paused, restarted, sped up, or automated.
That said, in order to be able to perform any of those actions, you need to make the process quantifiable first by dividing it into logical steps using KPI and OKR.
Many companies and startups are familiar with the notion of the sales funnel, but not that many of them know its particular stages. Moreover, only a handful are capable of measuring progress and effectiveness within them, and even fewer can freeze or dismiss low-value clients.
Another pain point of many businesses is the inability to simplify their offer to make sales more dynamic and boost profitability. The conclusion here is that no growth often stems from insufficient amount of quality data.
Putting too much hope in tools
All kinds of digital tools supporting sales are surely useful and should be a part of the process. The problem is that many companies and startups think of them as magic solutions.
Social media, CRM systems, persuasion and sales techniques, social selling and such are just tools which indeed are useful, but only within a well-structured, broader sales process.
That’s why it doesn’t make much sense to focus on them if you have no strong foundation and development strategy. They may only complicate things and discourage further actions. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Incorrect assessment of the position you’re in
It sometimes happens that businesses are unable to take a broader look at their situation and accurately assess the options they have
This may lead to unscalability of the solution. What does it matter if we implement it for a global brand, if it’ll turn out that no one else is going to buy it due to its specific nature, adjusted to this single client, and an attempt to “edit” it aimed at other buyers or markets will prove to be cost-inefficient.
Incorrect assessment of one’s position may also result in a wild goose chase. Thinking that working with a major client will automatically open doors to unlimited business opportunities can lead you astray.
Even if in theory our offer outdoes the competition, and the client displays significant interest in us, we need to remember that taking too big steps in sales often leads to a loss of time and no funds for keeping up the pace.
The growth has to be rational, gradual, and based on solid foundations assuming the provision of value at a smaller, previously worked out scale.
Excessive focus on the product
Without a doubt, the product we offer has to be perfected, and that takes time. How much exactly? Well, it’s hard to tell, since too many factors play a role and this is a case to case issue. However, you have to set a point in time after which your attention should be redirected to other areas.
These are, in particular, the market, customers, and the obligation to provide value. In the course of our operations there have been many instances of a great product, which didn’t generate the desired sales results because its creator was either too focused on himself, or on constant improvement of its various aspects.
The rule of thumb is that as soon as you create some quality, you deliver it to the market and assess the reaction.
The reasons your sales aren’t the level you wish them to be may be many. Each case has to be considered individually. This post, however, is a compass which will help you get on the right track.
The foundation of successful sales is viewing it in terms of a process. Startups and companies that wish to grow have to be ready for a journey. Its particular stages should be measured and the data collected used to optimize the following phases of the sales process.
We hope that the information and tips included in the article will prove to be useful and help you improve the results. If, however, you feel like you could use some assistance by specialists with experience in diverse industries under their belt, contact us. Together we’ll work out a process that fits your business just right.
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Sulma & Sulma