Klayton owned a successful retail and service contracting company in Atlanta, Georgia. When I first met him, he was in his early thirties and had a steadily growing business. But, he had reached a point in the business that he was bogging down, managing the day-to-day of running the company. As a result, his growth had slowed dramatically.
One place that Klayton got bogged down was that he, personally, was involved in roughly half of his company's sales. To make matters worse, he had no sales system, merely an informal way that he and his other sales person just "did sales."
This is a common challenge many companies face when they reach $750,000-$2 million in sales. They are so busy with the "activity" of keeping things going that they never systematically build the base to scale their sales/marketing pillar of the company.
Here are eight questions to help you map out some simple first steps to start to remedy this situation so that your company is primed to grow -- systematically.
1. What are your most effective systems for generating new leads for your business? E.g. referral relationships, online advertising, affiliate program, social media, display advertisements in industry journals, trade shows, etc.
2. How could you scale up the best of these systems to bring in more business? E.g. establish clear tracking to ensure you know which leads are the right leads, scale up your ad buys or send out more marketing pieces, optimize your website for better search engine results, spend more on winning key word advertising campaigns, create formalized referral programs, etc.
3. How can you make these systems more consistent, reliable or dependable? E.g. create a master marketing calendar with clear dates and assigned deliverables, establish a proven control ad or direct mail letter, have a sales website used by your prospective customers who come to shop or gather information, establish clear metrics that allow you to know objectively what is and isn't working, etc.
4. What are your least effective lead generation systems? This is the best place to look when searching for ways to grow your business. Too many business owners try to fix or improve their bottom 20 to 40 percent. They'd be better off cutting these losing efforts and immediately reinvesting the saved time and money into scaling the top 20 percent of their lead generators.
5. What are your most effective systems for closing sales? E.g. live sales people, direct mail letters, sales landing web pages, sales DVD, etc.
6. How could you scale up the best of these systems or better use them with the leads you already have? E.g. hire more sales reps, invest in technology to better handle the lead flow you currently have, create an automated follow-up selling system, design a website to effectively sell, move from selling one-to-one to one-to-many by hosting online webinars or live events, etc.
7. How can you make these systems more consistent, reliable or dependable? E.g. draft a best sales script, create a PowerPoint template all your sales team use to make their sales presentations, etc.
8. What are your least effective sales conversion systems? Again, this is the place to make immediate improvements to your sales in the shortest period of time. Rather than "fix" them, scrap your losing systems and leverage the selling systems that are working best. At the very least, take the elements of your winning sales systems (e.g. scripting, offer, pricing, sales logic, etc.) and incorporate them in your worst performers.