Posted: July 11, 2013
Top 10 qualities that drive revenue
Your company needs to grow faster than your industryBy Pam Watson Korbel
Why don’t companies grow revenue year over year or faster than their industry? By comparing the qualities of companies with sales growth of more than 20 percent per year with companies that are not growing, 10 qualities arise that serve to drive revenue (and not get stuck in maintenance), including:
- A sales and growth culture – Company executives drive the culture for sales and growth. Examples include an executive who “manages by moseying” and works shoulder-to-shoulder to implement systems that support revenue growth. A production-first mentality disguised as “customer centric” will not spur sales.
- Company infrastructure that drives and supports growth – By their nature, good sales people are creative and people-oriented, preferring no structure. Emotionally, though, they need structure: metrics, systems and processes. Some of the key pieces of infrastructure include an automated customer relationship management system, sales manual, sales coaching process, templates for written documents and correspondence, and lead generation process.
- Hiring the right people – Look for sales people with a track record and with values similar to your company’s ethics. Interview, interview, interview. Eight hours of interviews per final candidate is common among companies who hire sales staff well. And get the input of several key personnel about candidates.
- Effectively launching new sales people – Onboarding requires three steps for success: orientation; re-training on sales skills; and ongoing coaching. Great sales people are motivated by training so your time and dollars spent here have a high return on investment. Remember, training is a process, not an event.
- Establishing accountability – Going hand-in-hand with training is the need for written expectations, ongoing feedback (coaching) and rewards/recognition for true accomplishments. As that famous person Anonymous said, “Whatever you measure will improve.” This, of course, requires a strong sales manager as well.
- Working from a plan – Success is intentional and starts with a plan that covers short and long-range goals, customer analysis and targeting, promotion, distribution, pricing, and compensation plans. Once your company creates a Sales and Marketing plan to inspire growth, then each sales representative can prepare an individual plan that mirrors the company’s.
- Understanding total market potential – Building your presence in the marketplace requires an understanding of total sales of all competitors, buying and competitor trends, and market positioning. An understanding of the total dollars available for the product/service leads to strategies and tactics that involve growing sales by building new demand or taking market share away from competitors.
- Creating marketing programs to support sales – The advent of digital marketing and social media has confused lead generation standards. Today marketing requires multiple activities including personal tactics, digital/social outreach, and partnerships.
- Mining existing clients for more business – Companies that do not actively ask existing customers for more business achieve only 20 percent of their sales potential. Selling more to your existing customers is the first and easiest way to grow revenue.
- Asking for feedback – The truth hurts, sometimes. Companies that hire sales staff with high emotional intelligence find that they are more willing to ask for feedback on a regular basis about how the company is doing and what products it could add. As Ken Blanchard says, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”
Some advisors say that growth is not an option; and to keep up with the economy, that is a true statement. In today’s volatile economy, growing faster than your industry needs to be the norm to remain viable. These 10 qualities can propel a company to a new level of sales.
Pam Watson Korbel specializes in sales growth and marketing integration to achieve company goals. She is the author of the book “More Money, Less Work, More Fun: 123 ideas for fast growth in today’s business environment.” She consults through her company SmartGrowth, Inc. (www.smartgrowth.com) and serves on the Program Committee for the Business Marketing Association of Colorado. You can follow Pam’s blog about sales and marketing at http://smartgrowth.blog.com.