When I started my first business, I was not envisioning an overnight success with orders pouring in night and day. Nevertheless, I was expecting some growth and hoped it would increase consistently as I built the company brand over a period of time. I spent considerable time and resources planning the marketing campaign and reaching out to prospective clients but the sales simply were not happening. Sound familiar? There are a number of reasons you might be experiencing slow sales. Knowing where the problem lies is the first step in resolving the issues your business may be experiencing. Here are five causes that I have seen over the years as to why a business may be stuck in neutral, where it is not generating sales.
- No sales process.
- Having a well-defined sales strategy is the key to ensuring conversions for your business. While every business is unique and requires their sales process to be customized to meet individual organizational needs, certain steps of the sales process remain constant in every case. A successful sales process is one must begin with identifying the key prospects and qualifying the leads; it culminates with the leads converting and buying your product/service offering. Setting up the sales process and training all your sales personnel as well as all your employees about the product and process is the key to building a great sales pipeline. A carefully thought out sales process ensures that all your sales and marketing activities are directed toward generating qualified leads, moving them forward through the various stages of the sales pipeline, and getting them to convert.
- Targeting the wrong customers.
- What if your marketing efforts are successfully generating traffic and generating leads, but there still arenʼt any conversions happening? The fault may not necessarily lie in the capabilities of your sales personnel. Targeting the right customers is an essential step for sales success. This is where lead qualification comes to play a major role in your sales process. Start with profiling a buyer persona for the sales process to target. Who is the customer that needs your product/service? How does your offering solve their problem? Are the target customers capable of making the purchase decision? If not, who should you be targeting instead? Remember, the customer is searching for an outcome and not a product/service. Make sure you are selling something that alleviates pain points for your target customer and becomes something that satisfies a need in your consumers. Donʼt focus on how great your product/service is and what benefits it offers. Focus instead on the customerʼs problems and how your product or service offering is going to solve them. Donʼt try to sell to everyone. No matter how great your offering is, focus your marketing and sales efforts on its specific niche. Understand the prospect’s pains and then communicate how your product or service is going to solve.
- Not providing training.
- Great salespeople arenʼt born, they are made. Training and development programs are a must for your sales and marketing team to be on the same page. They need to have knowledge of the various tools and techniques available to them in order to succeed in sales. In-depth knowledge of the product/service offering is also essential in order to help sales staff close more deals and generate more sales. Having frequent training sessions when your business is just starting out is a great resource for the sales team to hone their skills. From product training to teaching how to communicate with leads more effectively, the training sessions need to focus on making them better sellers. The success of your business is directly related to how successful your sales team is at closing opportunities.
- Not providing sales enablement tools.
- Not providing the sales team with the tools and technology it needs is a cardinal mistake entrepreneurs often commit when starting up. If you havenʼt invested in a sales pipeline management tool or a CRM software yet, you are contributing to a slump in future sales. Sales management software is one of the most important investments you can make for your business. It is a valuable asset for your sales team, one that streamlines the entire sales process and simplifies it so that the sales pipeline can be viewed at a glance. Depending on your budget and the resources at your disposal, pick the CRM that best meets your requirements and get started with it. Sales management software should let you stay on top of your sales process. It lets you know every single detail within the sales pipeline, what stage every deal is in, and where any bottlenecks and areas of inefficiency exist. All these metrics help you close deals more effectively. With advancement in technology, CRM software is also evolving. The sales data is backed up in the cloud and advanced algorithms utilize AI to track the key metrics. The analytics tools they offer let you can make data- backed decisions to improve sales efficiency.
- Not defining a timeline.
- One reason why the sales may not be taking place is a lack of urgency in the customerʼs mind. Procrastination is deeply embedded in human nature, and one of the ways of getting over it and triggering buying behavior is by defining a timeline for the customer. Create a sense of urgency to convert the buying intent into actual action.
- When you are just starting out, designing a strategy that works to hurry not only generates sales but also helps raise brand awareness.
- Offer limited-time free- trial sessions or attractive discounts for a fixed number of days to see a spike in your sales.
- Pushy sales are already a thing of the past. It is vital to understand the psychology behind buying behavior and smartly use that knowledge to drive more sales.
For discussion on the sales process, view the free video entitled Marketing For Business Owners Session 2.
Copyright ©John Trenary 2020