It’s important to differentiate your strategy between existing customers and prospects. In one case you are looking for both retention and growth, in the other you are asking them to change their buying habits.
The role of the sales leader is to be available to learn, teach and coach the team on what is being effective for the company. They should be able to identify and articulate the best practices for overall sales strategy. What’s working for your business? There are 1 million ways to sell and position yourself with customers. The question remains, what works well for your business and how well are you leveraging that throughout your overall sales efforts?
As the sales leader meets with each individual sales rep to discuss their progress, receiving and giving feedback on how well the strategy is working is a key element to continually improving on the company’s strategy. For example, you may find that the strategy is working well with existing accounts, but your new business development efforts have stalled. Learn from what’s going on, make adjustments, and continue the effort. This feedback is important to share with the senior management team, all in the name of transparency and continuous improvement.
As the business climate continues to change, the number of profitable markets and accounts can sometimes seem scarce. While the company should expect and encourage market feedback from the team, leaving this task solely to the sales reps is not a recommended strategy. The overall direction for what markets and types of accounts with which the company can be successful should come from reviewing past success as well as new opportunities in a collaborative manner. The business has been staffed and equipped to do certain things, for certain types of customers, with certain levels of expectations. It’s important for the sales team to sell to the company’s strengths. For many shops, it can be very difficult trying to be all things to all people.
The sales leader should take the time to evaluate what types of accounts the company does well with. Learn what they look like, what markets are they in, what size organizations they are, who’s involved in the buying process, and what types of services they provide for them. And perhaps even more important, identify what types of problems the team is solving for these customers.
Aggregate and share this information with the team. Overlay these findings to the goals and vision for the business to confirm alignment with the approach. Collaborate with marketing so that brand awareness and lead generation can be focused on the right types of accounts. This is a process that never ends. This continual loop will make the strategy better and better over time. Keeping and winning new business is hard. It’s even harder if you’re not sure what it is you’re after or if your efforts are scattered.
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Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic advice, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.com, LinkedIn or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally published in Printing Impression