STRATEGIC APPROACH TO SALES TURNAROUND
Have you ever had an existing account (that you thought was safe) disappoint you at the last minute or take their business to the competition? Trying to make a desperate pitch to win-back the customer did you ever have a customer say to you:
These are ALL symptoms of a lack of a well designed ; proactive strategic approach to selling. And that’s holding back your growth and success.
Over the last decade, the world of B2B selling has changed beyond recognition. Face-to-face, transactional selling is dead; where customers want to do transactional business, it is far more effective for both buyer and seller to use the internet or telephone. Increasingly, customers resent having to spend time in sales calls purely to make standard transactions, and some customers are even beginning to measure the cost of spending their time in this way. From the supplier side, sending a sales person or a team of people is simply too expensive unless they can add real value
Most businesses today depend on growth just for survival. Operational costs are rising year-by-year and companies need budgets to upgrade programs, hire pricey talented professionals, finance research and innovation; or costly promotions to step up marketing efforts. If you have investors then there’s the added pressure to perform better quarter after quarter, year after year. How does a company do this? GROW OR GET EXTINCT is the new business mantra.
STRATEGIC APPROACH TO SELLING aren’t just fancy business words. Client retention and long-term satisfaction directly depend on well-positioned key action steps, and it’s what every enterprise should consistently focus on and improve upon. My observation of what makes sales performance successful reveals that there are some proven ways that drive effectiveness:
ASSESSING YOUR CURRENT STATE
Review your company’s strategy every three years just to keep pace in today’s fast-shifting marketplace.
· Create an "industry and marketing intelligence system" in order to systematically obtain information from your industry, customers, competitors. This will help you in segmenting your marketplace, and in understanding your best and worst product/service capabilities with respect to your competition.
· Categorize your marketplace (customers) by industry, customer size or other significant demographic distinctions and then list those categories in order of greatest current and/or potential profitability to your business. Then ask yourself how to a) best pursue buyers within the categories at the top of your list, and b) harvest or divest your business of customer categories at the bottom end of your list. Follow the same course with your company’s products/services and distribution channels.
· Select carefully in your product/market matrix; pursuing too many "rising stars" i.e. future products and future markets can diffuse your organization’s energy. Spot your highest potential marketplace "stars" and pursue vigorously those product/market segments first.
· Don’t try to be all things to all customers. Pick whether your company can best pursue: 1) product or service leadership (being the best in a product/service category), 2) customer intimacy (focusing on serving a broad array of needs in a particular customer segment), or 3) operational excellence (providing best overall efficiency or lowest cost).
· Align your company’s marketing and sales efforts with your strategy. You may choose to set up separate marketing and sales goals, tactics and materials for different sets of viable cells in your product/market matrix.
· Make sure that your organization’s policies, processes and people are fully aligned with your chosen business strategy. If they are not, then you may be sending a mixed message not only to your marketplace, but also to your company’s people.
UNDERSTANDING THE COMPETITION
A good competitive analysis varies according to what industry you’re in and your specific marketing plan and situation. A comprehensive competitive analysis does have some common themes.
To understand the strengths of your own business, you must understand your competition and your positioning. Who competes with you for your customers’ time and money? Are they directly selling competitive products and services, substitutes, or possible substitutes? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How are they positioned in the market?
In other words, you should know how you are positioned in the market. Why do people buy your product or services instead of the others offered in the same general categories? What benefits do you offer at what price, to whom, and how does your mix compare to others? Think about specific kinds of benefits, features, and market groups, comparing where you think you can show the difference.
Describe each of your major competitors in terms of those same factors. This may include their size, the market share they command, their comparative product quality, their growth, available capital and resources, image, marketing strategy, target markets, or whatever else you consider important.
Make sure you specifically describe the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor, and compare them to your own. Consider their service, pricing, reputation, management, financial position, brand awareness, business development, technology, or other factors that you feel are important. In what segments of the market do they operate? What seems to be their strategy? How much do they impact your business, and what threats and opportunities do they represent?
CONCLUDING: THE WAY AHEAD
As the sales role moves further from its transactional past to the consultative business partner of today, the requirement grows to support those sales professionals with systems to get answers quickly. There are many reasons why turnaround plans fail, especially:
· Failure to follow the plan ;No follow through after initial planning
· Failure to get management involved right from the start
· Failure to obtain sufficient company resources to accomplish task
· Failure to manage change; Inadequate understanding of the internal resistance to change
· Failure to understand the customer
· Inability to predict environmental/competitor reaction
· Failure to coordinate; Under-estimation of time requirements
· Improper estimation of resources available or needed or to be deployed
· Reporting and control relationships not adequate
Recognize that sales turnaround is an organizational change, not a quick fix solution to a superficial problem. ..Sales turnaround implementations takes repeated efforts year-on-year with stepped goals for improvement...
Best of luck
Dr Wilfred Monteiro
DR WILFRED MONTEIRO - coach | consultant | trainer
sales performance turnaround specialist