Many small businesses have a strong focus on growing sales, and rightly so. It can be tough for companies to survive their first few years in business. Many face fierce competition from companies offering similar products or services. This means that focus is often concentrated on one thing; how to grow sales, faster.
How to Grow Sales? 5 Secrets Shared
We’re sharing 5 secrets which often aren’t front of mind for Sales Managers looking to grow sales, but can make a huge difference. If you’re interested in how improving your profit margins can also provide a significant boost to your business, have a read of our article How to Boost Business Growth by Improving Your Profit Margin.
Sales Performance Visibility
Sales people are results focused by nature, so a little healthy competition is sure to motivate them even further. An important part of keeping any sales team motivated is to empower them with information about their results.
As part of your sales growth strategy, make sure your sales team has access to real-time sales performance information that’s also easily digestible. Not only does this keep their results front of mind but also keeps them chasing those results on a continual basis. Having information visible and in the one place, such as sales dashboards and KPIs if you’re using cloud ERP software, makes it easy to announce and celebrate their successes as they’re hitting and exceeding targets.
While every Sales Manager wants to be seeing great sales revenue results from a successful team, it’s also vitally important to see up to date information on reps who may be struggling to hit their sales targets. Pre-empt the months that are tough for some reps to hit targets by reviewing up to date information each day. This helps you be proactive with offering one-on-one help, encouragement and support for sales reps to achieve the best results.
Keep your sales team’s performance up to date, easily visible to yourself and to the team. Having this information front of mind can make all the difference in building a highly motivated team and driving a high performance sales culture – even if your team is only a small one.
Quantity and Discount Pricing
One thing that’s often heard by sales reps who have just quoted pricing is an immediate follow up question from their customer of “And how much if I buy a bigger quantity of those?”. These are the customers who are always be looking for the best possible pricing and aren’t shy about asking for discounts.
This is where pricing transparency can be a powerful tool for your business. Have a think about whether you’re currently setting quantity break prices for your items. Break pricing setups can ensure every price quoted is the best your customer can expect, is pre-checked to ensure it retains the right profit margins, and is consistent regardless of the medium of obtaining pricing, or by whom it’s being quoting.
If you have an eCommerce store with login capability to provide customer specific pricing, you can even anticipate and negate that pricing conversation by listing break pricing up front. This also means saving your customer a phone call to your office and freeing up additional time for your reps.
Many companies also come up against pricing discrepancies from time to time as a result of different reps quoting different pricing on the fly. One rep may have previously discounted older stock to get it out the door, but the rep now talking to the customer isn’t aware of that agreed discount. It may seem like a small thing, but it’s something which can potentially cause your customers unnecessary frustration, lower customer confidence and tarnish the overall experience.
To make sure this isn’t happening, are your reps are using a single, central source of pricing information? If they’re using different versions of locally kept excel price books, chances are there’s going to be some inconsistent or even inaccurate pricing being quoted.
For any pricing going out to your customers, transparency and consistency can really help cement customer confidence. It lets customers know they’re getting the right price from your company, that it’s the best price first time, every time and can also give a little encouragement to consider buying in larger quantities. And what better way to increase sales revenue than incentivising customers to buy more product!
Keeping Your Sales Team Organised
In this day and age, it’s not uncommon for people to start experiencing information overload. A lot of companies out there have such vast numbers of customers, appointments, tasks to get done each day (and reminders to do those tasks), that unless you’re naturally great at time management, it can be a struggle to keep things running smoothly and keep track of everything. Particularly for sales reps who are dealing with a lot of customers each day, it can become overwhelming.
Make sure you’re giving your sales team the right tools to record, schedule and automate reminders about their daily activities. With the technology that’s available to small businesses now, it’s important to look at which technology you’re using. Be sure that it’s the best, most efficient solution available and start putting standards in place for your team to follow consistently. You’ll want your team to be able to see shared calendar views, tasks and appointments set by themselves, or by you, and even schedule phone calls to help organise and structure their day.
Using the right software solution, you’ll then be able to streamline your processes and begin leveraging powerful automation. This could be sending a listing to your reps each morning of the customers purchasing the most product or even triggering pre-defined emails sent automatically to customers who haven’t purchased in a while.
It’s also import to make sure you have a clear view of your rep’s activities and workloads. This also helps with business continuity if one of your employees should be off work without notice or for extended periods. Having the right technology being used in the right way can ensure your business remains agile, regardless of unexpected circumstances.
Integrate Your CRM Information with Your Sales System
What if you could understand your customers’ buying behavior with segmentation that relates to their unique customer data, or CRM (Customer Relationship Management) data? This CRM data will include aspects such as their industries, business types and geographical locations. Tying this in with your sales data, you can start to draw relationships to the product lines they order, how much they order, when they order and the fluctuations in their ordering patterns.
Imagine being able to see at a glance that your rural customers in certain industries order less of specific product lines before or after a peak period. Identifying and knowing these types of trends could help you plan a great marketing campaign to get more of that product line and complementary products sold, or get your sales reps having conversations about those product lines to help move your inventory out the door even faster. This all helps you increase sales, free up your warehouse to move more stock out the door and keep costs down through minimising potential stock devaluation and obsolescence.
And in terms of your product purchasing, how much smarter could your purchasing become if you were able to align your stock ordering from suppliers with real data about customer demand fluctuations? You could make sure you always had the right amount of stock on hand to cater for demand – not too little, not too much.
Are you already leveraging the relationships between your sales and CRM data? Trying to do this through excel can be a fairly big task and can get a little tricky. The key is to be looking at how the trends between CRM and sales data align or influence each other and look at multiple data sets. Of course, this can be made a lot easier by using the right small business software which holds all of your CRM, sales and inventory data together and provides you with real-time reporting to identify trends, whenever you need it.
For a further in depth look at how CRM can be a winning component of empowering your business, also see our article CRM – The Eureka Moment.
True Sales Force Mobility
One of the big challenges for a company’s sales force is staying effective and productive when they’re out on the road or working remotely. Sales reps without access to real-time stock, order and account information often have to call back to the office to confirm information, wait for updates to be emailed through to them or work off the last data they’ve downloaded and stored locally on their laptops.
Giving your sales reps a truly mobile solution can help maximise their efficiency, which helps increase your sales revenue, and makes them more empowered and informed when they’re in front of customers. It can also help to add profit directly to your business’s bottom line by minimising the use of multiple employee resources to get the right information over to your reps and saves everyone a lot of time.
Have a think about how much more efficient your reps could be if they had access to real-time stock, order and account information when they’re out on site. Using the right cloud based small business software, they could process orders on the spot, give customers up-to-the-minute order information, back order lead times, accurate quantity and discount pricing and add, change or update appointments and reminders instantly.
It’s clear that achieving strong growth isn’t just about selling more product. Being smart about your operations, getting the right software solutions in place and having the tools to keep your team organised and motivated can make all the difference.
If you’re interested in getting a feel for how cloud ERP software for small business can empower your sales growth and help you achieve results faster, have a look at our webinar How to Grow Sales, Faster. You’ll learn practical ways that an all-in-one cloud software solution can help with the five areas of growing sales discussed in this article.
Sales performance visibility, transparent and consistent pricing, sales team organisation, CRM integration and sales force mobility are just some of the solutions that can help increase your sales revenue. So get in touch if you’d like to start a conversation about growing your sales further through cloud ERP software.