5 Steps to Increase Sales for Small Businesses
Identify the Right Activities
How are you bringing leads in through the door? And which methods of lead-generation are most effective in converting to actual clients? In other words, when it comes to your sales cycle, which activity is the front domino that knocks all the other dominoes down neatly in a row?
You may not have perfect data at first, but if you look back at the last 3-6 months, you should get a good sense of which sources or activities helped you acquire new customers. Customer referrals? Webinars? Virtual networking events?
Identify 1-3 activities that are consistently generating leads (and conversions) for the business. If you’re still testing your hypothesis about which activities perform best, that’s okay. You’ll learn and refine these activities as you go along.
Develop Your Target Numbers
Once you know which activities you plan to lean into for lead generation, you need to set targets for your sales team. These targets should again be based in data to the extent possible. Start with the end in mind: how many clients do you want to generate? Then, work backwards to reverse engineer your target numbers from there. For example:
Goal: Add 10 new customers this quarter
Phases in sales process: Lead Generation, Discovery Call, Proposal, Sale
To get 10 sales, I need 20 proposals. (if 50% of proposals convert to customers)
To get 20 proposals, I need 60 discovery calls. (if 33% of discovery calls convert to proposals)
To get 60 discovery calls, I need 240 leads. (if 25% of leads convert to discovery calls)
Sales target = 240 leads
If you don’t know your conversion rates, you may be able to look back at historical information and calculate them. Otherwise, start with a hypothesis and test it.
Double for Good Measure
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got is from my coach, Mark Moses: double your sales targets to be safe. Why? Because the additional buffer accounts for all the unexpected things that you can expect to happen: employee turnover, holidays and vacation time, market slumps, regulatory changes, global pandemics, etc.
If you double your targets for good measure, you’ll be able to account for the unexpected and still achieve your goals. In our example above, we would build a plan for acquiring 20 clients to guarantee that we get 10. The lead targets would double to 480 instead of 240. And you’d sleep better at night knowing that your goal of 10 clients is all but in the bag.
Track Your Metrics and Hold Your Team Accountable
The key numbers for each player should be broken down into weekly targets. Those weekly targets should then be tracked and reported every single week on a company or department scorecard (see some examples of scorecards here).
If a team member missed their target, the scorecard number is red. If they hit the target, it’s green. Red numbers indicate an issue that needs to be brought into the open for discussion. It’s also good practice to have each team member read their weekly target and identify it as “hit” or “miss” out loud. You’d be amazed by how quickly that simple accountability can turn a scorecard from red to green.
Remove Obstacles as They Arise
Problems will show up—an undefined process, not enough capacity, the right person in the wrong seat. Solving them will help you continually improve the effectiveness of your sales function. It’s the job of senior leadership (ideally your sales leader or your company’s Integrator, but it may be you in some cases) to remove obstacles and enable your team to do their jobs better.
All Growth Is Iteration
Remember that all growth is iterative. The more information you have, and the more experience you have, the better you can become: if you choose to use that information and learn from your experience. The more you can break down your sales function into discrete parts—the right people, doing the right activities, in the right amounts—the better you’ll get at controlling lead flow and predicting sales revenue.
Sales brings together all the excitement and risk of running your own business into one function. It’s imperative that you get sales right if you hope to grow. Our consultants can help. Connect with us to see how we can improve your sales function and get more customers and clients through your door.