February 29, 2012

Successful businesses will strive for growth. Sales optimization will improve if a company’s reach and abilities are not static. For small businesses, growth represents potential in several areas, including increased survival rate, greater profits, and marketplace power. There are many ways to measure growth, with profitability being the leading indicator. Sales, number of employees, and increased market share are other parameters used to determine growth.

Achieving growth can be accomplished through innovation, expansion, and pricing. There are four paths to growth.

  1. Sell more current products and services to existing customers by executing well, providing great customer service and conducting seamless customer relationship management.
  2. Introduce new products to current customers. As much as 40% of customers have upgrade potential.
  3. Sell current products and services to new customers. Engage in using coaches and referrals to help reach new prospects. Conduct search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click campaigns so you can be found by prospects in need of your offerings.
  4. Sell new products to new customers.
Innovation is necessary for paths two and also four. Investing in product development and innovation can see increased revenue. For this reason, keep a pipeline of new and improved products from which to draw. Cross-selling these products can protect your business and strengthen customer relationships.

Finding those new customers may require extending into new territories. This comes into play for paths three and four. Expanding your market, especially in other regions or countries is best served by using a local sales force that is tailored to those areas. If you are looking at a larger scale expansion, or truly delving into new product territory, be prepared to change your industry structure through mergers, strategic alliances, or even e-Commerce strategies.

Although it is tough to think about increasing pricing, particularly in a sluggish economy, it may become necessary. First, you will need to clearly define what attributes make your product or service better than your competition, and therefore, worth the price. If you take this route, give your sales reps these tools to work with:

  • a strong set of facts
  • clear messaging
  • several points for negotiation.
Arm your company with improved customer profitability data and pricing tools. This will help you understand the full picture and allow you to identify the lowest profitability customers. Once you have that information, you are better prepared to deal with price increases.

Think big, think new, and think ahead so that your business can achieve the growth needed to survive in a competitive marketplace.

What steps have you taken towards growth? How can you involve your sales team in determining the path?

For more information on sales optimization, contact us now.