CEOs are upbeat on growth and a global recovery, and sales is at the forefront of this growth. With the two primary avenues for growth being a) organic growth and b) acquisitions, organic growth by sales is the key focus of CEOs nationwide.
CEOs that put sales management at the top of their agendas outperform their competitors in revenue and profits by up to 80%. While CEOs and presidents of small and mid-size companies play a key role in driving performance improvements across all aspects of a company, sales has traditionally not been the main focus of business owners for many companies. This is a very costly mistake.
CEOs, presidents and business owners of top performing companies are very hands-on in driving the business forward. Setting budgets and sales goals are just the beginning. The best CEOs pinpoint specific tools, analytics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure substantial growth (at or above industry growth rates) in revenues, gross margins, and profits. They also ensure that they have the right people in the right positions and that each sales team member is performing consistently.
Similar to marketing, sales is both an art and a science. Here are 5 key sales issues that will create a tremendous return on investment and grow your business to the next level. If sales and sales management are not your strengths, gain the help you need as failing in these all important aspects of sales can cost you hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars over a short period of years.
- Deep Dive on Sales Goals to Increase Results. Well managed sales teams produce big results. CEOs must go beyond monthly sales goals for each member of the sales team. CEOs must develop KPIs that produce heightened, consistent results to meet goals. A direct sales team should have clearly defined goals for each salesperson that include, for example: a) Dials per day, b) live contacts per day, c) opportunities created in your customer relationship management (CRM) software per week and month, d) sales appointments per week and month, e) proposals presented per month, f) closed sales per month, g) closed sales in dollars per month, etc.
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to Drive Sales and Profits. Additional goals that can be readily tracked monthly (in real time if possible) will be the difference in a proactive, results-oriented sales team vs. a sales team that is always behind the curve. You should monitor and track: a) average size of each sale (ensure you are selling to larger customers with larger budgets), b) average length of contracts, c) renewal rates of contracts, d) track the amount of sales to your top 25 customers per quarter and year to ensure you are properly servicing them and hitting sales goals, e) gross profit margins, f) net profit margins, g) industry growth rate, h) your total market share, i) market share of your key competitors, j) growth in your market share, etc.
- Build a Sales and Marketing Machine to Optimize Sales and Value of your Business. By building a sales and marketing machine within your company, and this can be done very cost-effectively, you will optimize your gross and net profit margins and tremendously increase the value of your company. Making this a top priority is the greatest return on investment you can make. This takes some planning, focus and attention to details to put in place and manage, so gain the needed outside help to get this right.
- Get Out of the Office and Visit Customers. As the CEO of your company, get out of your office and go with sales managers and individual salespeople and visit your major customers at least annually. Understand the customers' needs and satisfaction level, understand how you can help them by upselling and cross-selling additional products and services, renew annual contracts and secure a tighter relationship by demonstrating real interest and commitment to your customers.
- Make Sales and Account Management (Serving Customers) the Life Blood of your Business. A) Strong sales management should be part of the fabric of your company, B) Making top sales performers heroes at your business should be paramount to you, C) Training your sales team should be exciting and part of every week and every sales meeting, D) Designing the right sales compensation plan and retention of your best performing sales team members should be a top priority, E) Consistently held sales meetings that are motivating, numbers driven and training- intensive should be a weekly occurrence like clock-work.
Maximizing sales will be the difference in reaching your goals and a successful exit in the future versus strained cash flow and diminishing value of our business. Contact the business consulting firm CEO Advisor today for a no cost, no obligation meeting at your office to discuss your key business issues. Contact Mark Hartsell, MBA, CEO of CEO Advisor, Inc. at (949) 629-2520 or email MHartsell@CEOAdvisor.com.