Over my many years as a sales manager and now a consultant, I've heard a number of dirrerent excuses from sales reps, fellow managers, business owners, etc. on why their numbers are not where it is supposed to be.
Some of them are but not limited to;
Market is saturated
Everyone already has what I'm selling
Can't get onto the right person
Price, price, price
Some of these at times have merit, but in most instances they are just excuses. From a personal experience and consulting with different sales executives, managers, owners, etc. I noticed that they were no always always looking in the right place.
A few years ago while working with a major conglomorate, we were mandated to find ways to grow our business portfolio while in a recessionary period. The word recession was a big enough excuse, but not one that we were allowed to use for not achieving our numbers or at least trying to achieve it.
Quote: "We understand there is a recession, but we have decided not to be part of it" - Group CEO
With top - down directives like that the only option was to find a way to hit the numbers. We looked at a number of new ideas, new products, etc. all great ideas but had its limitations due to cost of implementation, timeline to bring to market, etc. However, the one thing that stuck out to most was that we were not using our existing client base to help us optimize our prospecting strategy/activity.
The company had a very good track record in providing services to a specific group of customers. However, when we looked at the total number of similar prospects within that same group, we noticed that we only captured two (2%) percent of that entire base. This was an eye opener for us as we realised that if we focused out efforts and used the knowledgedwe already had of the group we stood to gain way more business with alot less effort and cost. This of course created major excitement and drive and gave the ability to have the team focus on certain activities to stay productive.
Major Revenue Potential
To elaborate on that some more, if we captured just fifty (50%) percent of that potential revenue base we could earn approximately TTD$11M over a three (3) year term as oppoed to our current TTD$360K in the same period.
Question: Ever wasted time looking for your keys, only to know they were in your pocket?
Sometimes when we faced with solving a problem we tend to look at all of the external, extreme and exhaustive approaches only to know you were sitting on the solution all along. What I have seen in my time as a sales manager/consultant is that some companies may create elaborate campaigns, activities, without first looking to see how they can leverage on what they already have.
If you are struggling looking for business, take these simple intrinsic steps first;
Review your existing base
Break them up into verticals/groups
Research the industry size of each group
Cross reference with your current base
Use the results to design you prospecting activity
Finding new business in a competitive or econimically tough market can be daunting, but one of the best places to start is by looking at your base for clients you have quality relationships with reviewing the size of their industry and leveraging you expertise from there.
Most importantly being strategic in your activities helps the team stay locked in, keeps them positive as they are working on something they are already familiar with and allows everyone to win.
About the Author: Lyndon is the founder and managing director of OPAAT-SWY Consulting Ltd. His areas of expertise are sales, customer service coaching, leadership and motivational speaking.