Starting a business is the easy part; find a product or service, pick a name and file a legal document. The challenge comes in finding customers to sell to and growing your business. Having a good offering is not enough- you have to market your company, make connections and cultivate those all-important sales leads. The problem is that what works in theory is harder to implement, especially after you’ve moved past the start-up phase.
1. Finding new sales leads
One method that strikes fear into the hearts of sales staff and yet is one of the most effective ways to get new business is cold calling, or as we like to call it, an ‘introductory call’. Lots of businesses practice this method when finding new sales leads, but the downside of this is the data. If you are buying data and calling from excel spreadsheets, the data provided is only as up-to-date as the day it was purchased, therefore your sales staff could find themselves calling businesses that are no longer active within a few weeks. A way around this is to use a cloud based lead management tool such as Sales Joe. With over 12 million key decision maker contacts already loaded into the system, Sales Joe is updated on a daily basis and holds information on over 5 million businesses in the UK. You can also track your sales team’s progress through Sales Joe; adding notes, tasks and detailed information about every prospect.
2. Keeping prospect data updated
Encourage your staff to collect data on every prospect, whether they speak to them or not. Record their details, pain points in business, if they have managed to reach them and who the key decision maker is. This way, you are always able to re-work leads that you had previously been unsuccessful with without starting at the beginning. Installing a sales manager to hold your salespeople accountable is a great step in the right
direction to enforce best practice. Make it clear to your sales manager that your salespeople need to stay connected to prospects throughout their entire journey, even if they haven’t managed to sell to them the first time.
3. Managing Daily Struggles
Every sales team has good and bad days and they usually need more than a target goal to be successful. You will need to set parameters for how your salespeople should communicate results and plan their collective and respective sales pitches; if they have an organised and thought out plan of action they will come across less daily struggles. But don’t just plan for how you’re going to get leads through the door, concentrate on the whole journey from prospecting clients to connecting with the leads, researching angles and crafting sales pitches. The more prepared your sales teams are, the more likely they will be able to tackle any obstacles they face.
4. Customer retention
Some businesses concentrate so much on getting new sales through the door that they forget the profit to be made in growing their current customers. It’s much easier to sell to a customer that has already bought from you- they know your brand, your values, your products or services and they have experience of dealing with you before. It may be an idea to split your sales team in 2 once you have established a solid customer base, one half to work on new business and one half to work on upselling current customers. Ensure your salespeople have all the same tools to retain customers as getting new business through the door, as well as a plan of action and detailed notes.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and grow your customer base!