By Kathleen Steffey
As part of any review of past performance and planning for the future, it is critical to review fully the strengths and weaknesses of your business. Often a SWOT analysis (a review of your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) as a company is part of that review. It is often easy to find your weaknesses as many people inside the company use them as excuses of why you can’t close sales, and competitors use them to explain why their company is better than yours. However, you need to stay focused on understanding, developing and exploiting your strengths as a business!
The same logic applies to your sales team. You need to capitalize on your strengths to ensure your success. Specifically, you should review the following areas (at a minimum) to identify and leverage your strengths and beat your goals for the year.
Identify your strongest performers (as well as those who are above average) and do everything you can to energize and accelerate their performance. Can you restructure your calling rights or account assignments to get your best opportunities in front of your best closers or relationship people? Can you remove some of the administrative tasks from these players to free up more time for selling?
Are there certain products where you are well-positioned and are being well received by your customers? Make sure your team is aligned to maximize the sales of your best products. Can you expand your sales coverage for your best products by cross-training other reps to sell it as well? Can you put some additional incentives or training behind the best performing products? Are there some additional products that can be bundled with the product to bring other products along for the ride?
Identify your best accounts and look for additional sales opportunities in those accounts. The pareto principal is still in full-force these days and you will often drive 80% of your sales from 20% of your customers. Look at special incentives for customer appreciation or loyalty that you can bring in to boost sales. Promote other products to these accounts that they haven’t bought in the past.
SPECIAL TIP: Don’t forget about your best accounts from the past. Many companies have been hunkered down over the last 4 years of the recession, controlling spending. However, many are now coming back in force and you need to leverage your past relationships and experience to get new business this year.
Is there a part of your sales process that is working really well? If your lead generation efforts are working really well in certain areas – can you increase those activities? Do you close more business when certain teams or individuals are involved in the sales effort? Try to increase their involvement going forward. Do your customers really like your post-sale follow up? Can you start to add information and testimonials about that part of your process into your upfront selling message?
The list can go on. The important thing is to make a conscious effort play to your strenghts. Many people like to point out and fight the fires. Make sure you are putting at least equal effort on capitalizing on your strengths.
Kathleen Steffey is CEO and Founder of Naviga Recruiting & Executive Search, a nationwide sales and marketing recruiting firm. Naviga and Kathleen focus on sales and marketing due to a passion for helping businesses accelerate growth. The check out Naviga’s services and learn more about Kathleen, check out www.navigarecruiting.com.