Rick Meekins is the Managing Partner at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy, an Atlanta, GA based small business consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations.
Increasing Sales | Extraordinary Business
Why businesses need to take a strategic approach to building their sales systems.
Increasing sales is nearly always a topic of conversation when we work with business owners. Business leaders constantly seek out ways to connect with their audiences in such a way that people are willing to buy. With the recent recession, many consumers’ buying habits have changed.
Customers purchase based on a number of criteria; pricing and promotion are not the sole drivers of sales, except in the commodity markets where there is little differentiation between products and mass marketing is the norm. Typically companies will use techniques such as the loss leader – a product priced artificially low to get you to come to a store and hope that you will purchase other items while there, coupons, sales fliers, unique products such as high quality store-brand products, etc..
Looking at your own business, it is up to you to decide how the market views your business, what their needs are and how you can connect with those needs. No brainer, there. Where the challenge lies is in determining what it will take to get in front of your particular customer, getting the message to them in a clear compelling way, transferring that message in such a way that they see an opportunity to have a need met or how to accomplish a goal that they have and a value proposition that they feel is equitable to the amount of money they will have to pay.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that there is a tried and true formula that works for every business every time. Mass marketing helps. Direct marketing helps. Offers help. Networking helps. Relationship marketing helps.
What has to happen in order to get people to open their checkbooks and send you money is typically going to be a combination of efforts that match your particular, unique offerings to a need they have. Because what will compel them might differ from person to person and from company to company, developing a sales program needs to have a strategic approach.
The most important tool you will need in order to determine how your approach is working is some sort of tracking device that will track time, effort, response, steps and correspondence, typically known as a CRM or customer relationship management tool. Some of the more popular include Salesforce.com, Goldmine, Act! and Maxmizer. Of course, you could probably set up any database, series of spreadsheets or forms to help you manage, although the amount of data and double entry will probably prove to be difficult if not impossible to manage effectively after a certain point.
The system we have recommended and implemented for a number of our clients is called Work, Etc.. We find it to be a tool of choice because it integrates a number of tools for a small business of up to about 100 employees, in order to get a 360 view of the customer and client relationship, beginning with prospecting, through the purchasing processes to the final deliverable and relationship management. It is highly customizable and relatively low in cost. It incorporates CRM, Sales management, email campaigns, project management, A/R and reporting into one umbrella.
Regardless of the solution you choose, it is an important step in making your sales process efficient and effective and give you the tools to determine how effective you campaigns.
Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is an Atlanta, Georgia based Operations Management and Business Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders. We help business leaders DESIGN| CREATE | BUILD extraordinary businesses. We support our clients with financial management, product and service production and delivery, outsourced services management, sales & marketing and business growth. We provide them with a number of flexible solutions to help them reach their goals.
Join us for a 30-minute complimentary Coffee & a Consult, to learn more about Aepiphanni and how we might help you move your company from existing to extraordinary.