CEO Advisor Newsletter October 2013
Growth - Key Factors to Boost Revenue
Focus on Strategy. Planning and Sales Strategy are key to executing on a plan that will bring results. Clearly understand the goals and results needed from your direct sales team. Make sure your product/service offerings are nailed with the right pricing and gross margins. Ensure you have the proper sales coverage with effective salespeople who are compensated in a way to both motivate and retain the strongest salespeople. Implement and track your marketing on-going and re-assess your marketing plan each quarter. Focus on Vertical Markets. It is critical to focus on and target specific vertical markets with full sales coverage. Being an expert in three verticals with a concentration of many reference-able customers in a defined geographic region is far more profitable and feasible than trying to be all things to all prospects and trying to figure it out along the way. As a small to mid-size company, you don't have the bandwidth or resources to service all types of prospects and you will have a diluted effort with diminished results (and profits) if you don't focus your outbound sales and marketing efforts on a few vertical markets that represent your core customers. Evaluate Your Sales Compensation Plans. An unmotivated, confused salesperson is not going to produce optimally. Properly motivate your sales team with sales goals and properly incentivize them with the proper balance of salary or draw, commissions, bonuses, override (for sales managers) and other non-cash compensation. This will help maximize your sales team's focus on the best and highest yielding prospects and customers. Implement Tools to Boost Sales. There are basic, but very important tools and software that you should use daily to increase sales. LinkedIn.com is a very valuable online sales tool with millions of potential prospects. More importantly, your sales team should all be trained and using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to manage sales activity of your prospects and existing customers. You should have visibility and manage the sales opportunities by tracking all sales activities of your team in the CRM. Additionally, email promotion software for scheduled email campaigns and a monthly enewsletter is another critical tool that you should use to implement and track these marketing activities effectively and affordably. Focus on Recurring Revenue. Project work will not grow your company into a large, sustainable business that you are confident to invest in. In addition to product, service or project sales, offer your products and services in a manner to provide value over time (as in a subscription or maintenance service) with on-going or continual services that will provide a customer gaining value over time. Create a range of services bundled in a monthly service with annual or two-year contracts to boost the value of your business, as well. It is your expertise that your customers need and value each month. With each customer interaction, ask their needs and offer additional products and services to meet these needs. Time Management and Discipline. Your scarcest resource is not money, it is time. Time management and planning to focus on your priorities is critical. Calendar your priorities each week and spend substantial time on them, while delegating or spending less time on mundane or low level tasks. Exercise discipline to maintain your focus on the key priorities to grow your business to the next level. CEO Advisor, Inc. can help you maximize sales and boost profits. Contact CEO Advisor, Inc. for a no cost, no obligation initial consultation at your office by calling Mark Hartsell, MBA and CEO of CEO Advisor, Inc. at (949) 629-2520, email me at MHartsell@CEOAdvisor.com, or visit our web site at www.CEOAdvisor.com for more information.
Ten Ways to Cut Costs and Increase Profits
- Budget & Track All Marketing
- Create an annual Marketing Plan, Schedule and Budget and implement it. Monitor and track all marketing activities, stay on budget, re-evaluate your Plan quarterly and cut costs where you don't see a ROI.
- Scale Back PPC & Get Social
- Online advertising is trackable, but can be expensive with minimal results or attract non-qualified, very price sensitive leads. Viral and social marketing, coupled with the balance of your Marketing Plan can generate a huge ROI. Review and evaluate your PPC campaign at least quarterly.
- Healthcare Costs
- Re-evaluate your healthcare costs and review alternative health plans. Rethink your share of healthcare costs vs. your employees' share.
- Find Cheaper Office Space
- Rents are way down and landlords are hungry. Storage costs are much less in a warehouse than they are in your office. Move files and storage offsite or convert them to electronic files so you can fit in a smaller office space. Consider having employees tele-commute to save space for you and gas dollars for them.
- Evaluate a VOIP Phone
- Switch to VOIP for your phone service. Get rid of expensive phone service base costs, costs per long-distance phone call, and system maintenance and switch to a VOIP system. The upfront costs are minimal, and the system can pay for itself in 9 months. There can be voice delays with VOIP in some cases so make sure it is right for your company.
- Interns are low cost and can be extremely valuable. Interns are hungry to work, anxious to perform for an opportunity for a full-time position and can bring a needed Internet-savvy skill set.
- Make Better Decisions
- How many decisions do you and your employees make each day? Each one represents an opportunity to be unproductive and/or ineffective depending on how you make those decisions. Eliminate the unnecessary decisions and time spent on unproductive tasks and focus on the necessary, major decisions.
- Revenue Generating Productivity
- Cutting cost in business without cutting capabilities and performance is achieved by optimizing each employee's time. Is every employee spending the majority of his or her day on revenue generating work that equates to sales for the company? Our clients keep a time log to track actual time by projects and other hours and then we analyze how much time is spent on non-revenue producing activities. We replace those activities with revenue generating activities.
- Sharpen The Pencil/Negotiate.
- In tough economic times, vendors are often willing to work with long-term, loyal customers. If you can pay early, ask for a discount. If you can't pay on time, ask for an extension to stretch out cash flow. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by asking for price breaks and better terms.
- Just Say No
- You have a budget and a business to run. Show some leadership and business responsibility to a longer-term goal and say NO to expenses or capital equipment purchases that are not budgeted or core to your Plan.
- CEO Advisor, Inc. can help your company cut costs, increase productivity and profits by bringing in a fresh pair of eyes to evaluate the situation. Contact Mark Hartsell, MBA, CEO of CEO Advisor, Inc. today at (949) 629-2520, by email at MHartsell@CEOAdvisor.com or visit www.CEOAdvisor.com for more information.