Sales & Lead Generation
7 Sales and Marketing tips for business leaders
It’s agonising to watch your business fall short of its growth goals. The pipeline isn’t building, the deals aren’t closing — you watch as your sales team miss their numbers, as your marketing team deliver too few leads. The frustration is overwhelming — it feels out of your control. Fortunately, it is in your control.
Sometimes the problem is personnel, but you know how to find the right people for the job, so we’re working on the basis that you’ve made the right hires, with the right attitude, who either have the skills they need, or are easily coachable.
Most of the time, the problems in your company come from bad habits — things you’re doing or not doing that are holding your business back.
Here are seven ways you get your growth back on track.
1. Reassess your campaign goals
If your salespeople aren’t delivering their numbers, you need to look at both sides — the salespeople and the numbers — because you’ve either got a skills problem or a strategy problem. If your team have the right skills, knowledge, and work ethic, then ask yourself, ‘How did I arrive at these targets?’ If you just wrote down a number and told your team to hit it, you have a strategy problem.
If you sat down by a pond with a fishing rod, you could very easily set yourself a target to catch ten fish, but where did that number come from? What type of bait did you bring? Did you know your average fish-catching rate? How long are you staying at the pond? If you have no evidence of how many fish you could reasonably expect to catch, a target is useless. It’s even worse if there aren’t any fish in the pond.
Take a mathematical approach to your sales goals. Let’s say:
· You sell your product for £10,000
· You want to sell £100,000 worth of product this quarter
· Your worst-performing salesperson converts 1 in 20 leads
· You have 5 salespeople
To meet your sales goal, you need to sell ten products this quarter, so that’s two conversions for each salesperson. That means you need to give each one at least 40 leads, so you need 200 leads for the quarter. If your marketing campaigns are only bringing in 100, then you need to improve your lead generation.
Alternatively, you can train up your sales team so they can convert 1 in 10. If you want to give your salespeople the tools to win more business, download our guide to closing more deals.
2. Look at your marketing (department)
Knowing the leads you need, you’ll quickly find out if the marketing department can generate them.
If the leads aren’t coming in, perhaps the marketing team don’t have the skills, tools, or strategy to deliver them. You can teach skills, provide tools, and refine strategy — you don’t have to do anything drastic like sack your team, but you do need to be frank with yourself, and have them be frank be you. One huge reason why so many businesses fail is that they’re afraid to admit they don’t have the in-house skills that they need.
Never shy away from discovering the root cause of your problems. It can be uncomfortable, but it’s never unnecessary.
3. Listen to your customer base
You might think that your product is the best solution ever devised. Your customers might even agree with you, but it could be for completely different reasons. What you think is your USP could be entirely different from what your customers think it is.
When you talk to your customers and listen to what they’re telling you, you hear from the horse’s mouth why people bought from you, why they continue to do so, or what might be discouraging them from doing it again.
Having that insight means your team can refine their pitches and marketing, by crafting messaging that really resonates with your target market.
4. Look at where your sales are coming from
Have you broken down where most of your leads come from, and which sources deliver good leads? Once you have the evidence of what works, the obvious next step is to do more of it.
If you find that a lot of new business comes from referrals, then consider running an incentive programme for customers to introduce their peers. If you get most of your qualified leads from events, then build a campaign around exhibiting, networking, and speaking.
On the other hand, don’t assume that absolutely anything can work for you. You might hear someone sing the praises of LinkedIn as a sales tool, but you can’t count on it working for you as well as it works for them. There are many factors at play — who is using the tool, whether your customers can be found there, and whether you know how to use it well. You’re far better off doing fewer things well than many things poorly.
5. Motivate and empower your senior team
Do your managers really understand what’s expected of them and their teams?
Nine times out of ten, businesses fail because the people in them didn’t understand what they needed to do to achieve the goals that were set for them. If you don’t make it clear what your departments need to achieve, and give them to tools to do it, the failure is yours, not theirs.
You have to reflect on your leadership and make an honest assessment — are you providing the support, encouragement, and guidance that your team need to market and sell your product or service?
Back to the fishpond — when you’ve been in the same place for a while and found decent fish there, you might feel some inertia. Don’t forget you can try other ponds, or maybe even a river.
Of course, don’t blindly pick a new sector and set your sales and marketing teams loose. It requires the same careful strategy as any business initiative, but if your market research suggests there’s business to be won elsewhere, why wouldn’t you try to win it? It shouldn’t be at the expense of your bread and butter sectors, but careful explorations of new territories can unlock massive potential for growth.
7. Use your own network
It’s very easy to get so bogged down by the day-to-day pressure of running a business, and caught up in the results of your sales and marketing teams, that you forget to ask yourself what you are doing to influence it.
When was the last time you reached out to a LinkedIn connection? Unexpected outreach can lead to surprising results, your network could be an untapped well of business.
Do you need help aligning your sales and marketing, or does your lead generation strategy need a revamp? Find out how Nutcracker could help you hone your campaigns and win new business. Call 020 3941 0305 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.