You’ll increase your chance of small business success by keeping sales at the very center of your business, but how you do it isn’t as obvious as it sounds.
Sales: it’s the life blood of any company, despite what everyone who’s not in sales might tell you. As a business grows from its humble beginnings, sales is typically the first team to break out and form its own dedicated department. Still, a sales team that strays too far on its own can derail your success. In an article at Small Business Computing, leadership trainer Shaun Thomson noted that small business failure tends to happen when the company owners lose control of their sales team.
Since sales forms the core of your business, it makes sense to bring those operations back to the center of your business. Here are four ways to do just that.
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Todd Cohen, author of the book “Everyone’s in Sales,” says anyone in your company can make a bad—or good—impression at any time during a customer’s buying cycle. Encourage everyone in your business to contribute to sales. What does that mean? That can involve everything from pairing salespeople with other team members on sales calls, all the way to compensation programs that reward all employees for finding new customers.
Don’t Overpower Your Customers
You are no doubt passionate about what you do and the products and services that you offer. But that passion can come off sounding pushy and off-putting to customers. Thomson suggests avoiding tone-deaf, “one-way” communication in favor of listening to your customers to find out what they need. Once you determine that, you can show them how your business can meet them.
Connecting Sales and Service
Customer relationship management software makes organizing every communication you have with customers very easy. Be smart with how you use that information, because your customer service employees can and should use CRM to identify even more opportunities for sales.
Here’s one example of how that can work. When customers call your service operation outside of their usual buying cycles and identify new needs, your service team member can flag that communication within the CRM for follow-up by your sales team. The reverse holds true, too. When a sales call uncovers a problem with an existing purchase, your sales professional should be able to dispatch service resources.
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Set Attainable Goals
Oftentimes goals can feel daunting and suck the life right out of your sales organization. Thomson suggests breaking annual or quarterly goals into more manageable pieces, such as daily or weekly targets. Share case studies and successful sales stories as examples of what’s possible and to boost morale.
Don’t forget the old adage, practice makes perfect. Try role playing tough scenarios that can help your entire team understand your sales process from the customer’s point of view. Your employees will be less likely to freeze when they encounter a similar situation in real life.
Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of Small Business Computing. Follow Lauren on Twitter.
Adapted from How To Choose A Broker To Sell Your Small Business, by Pedro Hernandez at Small Business Computing. Follow Small Business Computing on Twitter.