How well does your business convert leads into customers? Your sales strategy impacts everything from the way you market your brand to how well you follow up with new customers and turn them into superfans.
According to HubSpot’s 2021 Sales Enablement Report, 40% of small businesses didn’t meet their revenue goals last year. Assuming you’re setting smart goals based on available data, what other elements might be the reason for failing to reach your targets?
A good place to start revamping your business is by looking at your sales strategy. How can you know if what you’re doing is effective or needs a new approach? Here are some things to look at to help you decide.
1. You Lack Enough Data
If you didn’t originally set up marketing to track how effective different methods were, you may not know what works and what doesn’t for your business. For example, it does you no good to send traffic to your e-commerce site if all they do is bounce away without making a purchase.
If your sales strategy in the past involved throwing a lot of sales ads out and hoping something brought results, take a step back and come up with a more regimented approach. Create landing pages and tie them to each sales promo so you can see what advertising methods work best.
Perhaps your customers prefer older products to be discounted but will pay more for newer ones. The more data you have, the better you can work on your sales strategies. Pay attention to what strategies work on a consistent basis.
2. Competitors Beat You
Are you facing a market with competition and having a hard time winning bids or making sales? Your first step is to analyze the competition. You can’t combat what you don’t understand. Make sure you study the sales strategies of your closest rivals.
Have one of your employees play mystery shopper and detail their sales process from beginning to end. Do they have any weaknesses where you have strengths? Do you have any weak areas you can improve?
Knowing how others function gives you an opportunity to understand why their customers are loyal to them. You can then develop your own sales strategy to create clients who are devoted to you. Identify competitor weaknesses and make them your strengths.
3. Outdated Customer Data
If you want to grow your business, you need to understand where your customers are and who your top prospects are. In one look at an HVAC company, researchers found assessing the last three years of sales data resulted in a low-cost business map to help them seek new top-level leads.
The better you understand those you wish to reach, the more likely you’ll find success. Use customer mapping, study keyword searches, and survey your clients to gain a better understanding. Create buyer personas to represent your typical users.
4. You’ve Grown
As your business grows, your needs change. Your customer base might also adjust and have different expectations than your customers did in the beginning. You should reassess your sales strategy every 12 months or so.
Ask yourself hard questions about what works and what doesn’t. Which strategies bring results in the form of revenue, positive brand image, or other benefits to your company? Anything that isn’t beneficial should be replaced by something else. Don’t keep throwing advertising dollars at something not giving you excellent results.l
5. Your Close Rates Are Dismal
Sometimes the bottleneck in your sales process is during the closing stages of the customer journey. You might send highly targeted traffic and qualified leads to your sales department, only to lose purchase orders.
Calculate your close rate ratio by taking the number of sales calls and dividing the number by actual sales. This gives you a percentage so you can see how effective your process is.
If you notice your close rates are below industry standards, go ahead and revamp your closing scripts. Train your sales team in better ways to close the deal. Talk to those customers who did follow through with a purchase about what the deciding factor was.
Talk to those who didn’t buy and ask why they decided to wait. You may learn a lot about customer expectations and pain points to help you sell better in the future.
6. You Have a Lengthy Sales Pitch
People are busy. They don’t have untold hours to go through your sales pitch. For online sales, the more times the customer must click, the more likely they’ll bounce away before making a purchase. In person, you must make sure they are at the right stage of the journey but don’t get stuck in one spot without moving the customer toward a decision.
Look for places you can reduce the time spent learning about and understanding the benefits of the product or service. What can you streamline to be more efficient? Talk to your customers about which facts they care about and what they could live without knowing. Which touchpoints actually impact the decision?
Tweak, Don’t Replace
Parts of your sales strategy may be an excellent match for your leads. Keep anything that works well for your brand and results in sales. However, if anything isn’t working, throw it out and try something else.
You can always go back to the old way of doing things if the new method doesn’t produce results. You never know, you might just stumble on the magic formula that results in more conversions per lead and takes your business from mediocre to top-level.
About the authorEleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.