To be competitive in the market place today, you had better be a market-oriented organization. Your sales team may be increasing the number of potential clients they present to and, ultimately, increasing revenue, but if the whole organization isn’t aligned with delivering what the client wants, you may soon be seen as replaceable by your customer.
Being a market-oriented organization means that every employee in every department is focused on the customer with constant two-way communication between the organization and the customer at every touch point. By being market- oriented, the organization is better able to gather information about customers and competitors, more able to analyze the information that is collected, and thus more able use the knowledge gained to guide current and future strategies.
Market-orientation is actually quite rare, so organizations that take the initiative to become market-oriented will have a significant resource for sustaining a competitive advantage which leads to several benefits being realized:
- Better Marketing Programs: Because the organization has multiple opportunities to gain feedback from clients about their needs and about what competition is doing, marketing programs are able to be tailored to clients and market needs instead of a general approach that focuses on the product only.
- Increased Client Retention: Because the customers now have the ear of the organization on multiple levels, the customers receive faster responses to their needs and thus feel like they are receiving the attention they deserve. This makes it much harder for competition to gain your customers’ attention and makes it much harder for the customer to entertain the competition.
- Stronger Strategic Relationships: As the relationship between the organization and the customer becomes more involved, values become shared, strategies co-develop, and mistakes tend to promote a two-way dialog on how the problem can be solved together. The intangible value that is delivered by being market-oriented allows the organization to become a partner rather than just a vendor.
To become a market-oriented organization, marketing can no longer be thought of as an activity to just facilitate the selling of goods or services to a potential customer. It must now turn to a customer-centered set of values and activities that focus on the organization’s mission to provide superior value by delivering what the client wants.
How many times have you wanted your sales teams to just make more calls thinking that is the best way to increasing sales? Organizations that fail to deliver real-time intelligence to their sales team fail to maximize their efforts and hence get hung up on “making more calls” as the solution.
While most sales managers and owners love reports that measure their sales team’s activities in order to forecast sales, they may be missing opportunities by not focusing on reports that provide necessary information that would allow them to create a better strategy to begin with. Their current strategies and tactics are based upon dated information that could be months old and hence are often useless to make a difference quickly.
So if what gets measured gets managed, what information should you be measuring and delivering real-time to your sales team to be more agile in the field to increase sales?
- Sales of customers by demographic segments
- Profitability of customers by demographic segments
- Sources of new leads by demographic segments
- Dollars in each stage of the funnel
- Conversion rates for each stage of the funnel
- Average value of each opportunity in each stage of the funnel
- Achievement % to budgeted sales and profitability
- Market share % and industry trends
- Distribution by product line and products by demographic segments
- Customer attrition rates
- Customer satisfaction rates
- Production forecasts
- Delivery and project completion progress
Now more than ever, sales managers need to provide their teams with more timely insight and detailed sales analytics that can deliver a competitive advantage to their sales team, allow better forecasting by the sales manager, and increase sales for the company much faster than they would be able to if they were only tracking activities.
Your marketing funds are decreasing, your usual marketing efforts are producing fewer sales, your marketing message has not changed in years, and your client base is shrinking. You need a marketing makeover that will produce results quickly.
A quick exercise with your executive team can produce fast results by answering four questions about your business.
- Who are your ideal clients?
- What do they want?
- How do they buy?
- How do they want to be communicated with?
Answer these four critical questions and you will be able spend your marketing funds more efficiently and realize a higher return on your marketing investment because you are reaching your targeted audience with a specific value proposition that will call them to action.
Salespeople are expensive to organizations and are expected to have a return on investment anywhere from 3 to 10 times their value depending on sales margins. However, most salespeople only sell 60% of the time because they are involved with too many non-selling activities. This in not necessarily their fault and the problem can be corrected by integrating the non-selling activities into the internal job positions they already have.
Activities without providing proper resources:
- Supporting customers
- Providing quotes and RFP requests
- Collecting payments
- Developing marketing materials
- Coordinating internal resources
Activities with the proper resources in place:
- Networking with strategic partners
- Collaborating with current clients on additional opportunities and referrals
- Meeting with more qualified prospects
- Closing more ideal clients
- Making more money for the company and themselves
Don’t let your revenue generating positions do non revenue generating activities. Any organization can increase their opportunities in the market if they have the right people in the right positions doing the right activities.
What does you organization support and how have you integrated that into your marketing?
With 75% of soldiers returning home have some form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They are truly returning home broken after bravely volunteering and serving our country out of a sense of duty. Until now, there has not been a location dedicated to veterans connecting and supporting each other in our community which is why SalesTechnik has joined forces with DryHootch of Waukesha County to raise enough funds to build a permanent location.
Having experienced what the lack of support can have on our returning soldiers, I decided to purpose my own sense of duty to improve things and help companies focus with their selling efforts if they make a donation to the organization. You can learn about our offering here.
It is called “Cause Marketing” and I would suggest that every company discovers the “why” in them and finds an organization to align with. This alignment has increased awareness for DryHootch of Waukesha County in the business community and has increased awareness for what SalesTechnik can do for individuals, organizations, and companies. We have developed a sustainable revenue source for this cause and without much energy, built a pipeline of clients that share similar values, extreme gratitude, and concern for our returning soldiers.
With charitable donations at an all time low, this tactic should be integrated into every marketing plan. It has led to a much higher level of conversation with business leaders, gives a risk free and tax-deductible introduction to our services, and has helped individuals, organizations, and companies develop a high level focus on increasing their opportunities in the market place.
Feel free to contact me should you want to learn more about what we are doing to build a DryHootch in Waukesha County.
|No matter what you offer for a product or service, customer buying habits have changed and organizations are becoming increasingly frustrated by a lack of market understanding, conflicting strategies between marketing and sales departments, and a lack of understanding about buying decisions. These frustrations are leading to unfocused selling efforts and wasting precious marketing dollars.To combat this, organizations must align their sales & marketing process to answer key questions in each stage of the prospect’s buying process in order to convert market opportunities into sales. Here are some pointers about what you need to accomplish when the prospects are asking the following quest Why do I need to solve this problem?
The customer is looking to learn so you should teach them in the way that they want to learn. Connect your teaching to something they’re passionate about but remember to be polite and keep it relevan
Why do I need you to solve this problem?
The customer needs to make a decision so you need to become a trusted advisor by creating relevance, building credibility, demonstrating value, and being honest about limitations
Why should I buy from you now?
The customer is looking to commit so you need to motivate them by providing a reason and making their decision easy by eliminating risk.
How do I get the most out of my purchase?
The customer is looking for confirmation so you need to continually add value, fix all problems as they arise, and inspire them to demonstrate why they made a good decision.
By aligning your sales process to your prospects buying process, you will shorten the sales cycle and utilize your marketing dollars more effectively because your efforts will be focused.
Whenever it comes time to focus on increasing sales, most companies focus in the wrong place. How do we know that? Simple, there are more wrong places than right, and without an understanding of how to focus, the odds are you’re going to get it wrong. So how do you get it right? The answer is to understand the theory of constraints and the lessons it holds for increasing “throughput” in sales
What is throughput? In sales, throughput is simply selling and delivering more products and services to your customers…..a simple idea, not always remembered by those who attempt to manage sales efforts. How often have you seen a sales manager attempt to manage the sales process by measuring a single intermediate point when they should be measuring enough intermediate points to determine the “constraint” to increasing sales.
A constraint is defined as anything that limits a system from achieving higher performance. To increase throughput (sales) you need to follow a five-step process:
1. Identify all of the constraints in the sales system. Every business unit has at least one constraint and most have several and sales is no exception. What are your constraints? Too few leads, too few qualified leads, too few qualified sales people to follow-up on the leads, too few people to create useful proposals, too few qualified buyers……
2. Exploit the system’s constraints. Make sure you don’t bother to increase output of things that are not constrained. If a constraint is too few people to qualify leads, then increasing raw leads beyond the level you can qualify is a waste of system resources. Maximize the input to the constraints just to the limit of the constraint’s ability to handle the input. Any more is a waste of resources.
3. Subordinate everything else to the decisions made in step 2. This will maximize system efficiency. That is, the cost of selling will be minimized for the level of sales being achieved, but it doesn’t yet increase sales. The reason is that we have not yet relieved any constraints, we have simply acknowledged that they exist and that trying to “force feed” more through the constrained system is a waste.
4. So now we must elevate the constraints. What is the one step in the process that if you expanded its capacity would increase sales? Make sure you understand what the constraint is and then expand its capacity until it is no longer the constraint.
5. Sales will increase and… there is now another constraint so go back to step 1 and repeat the process.
This process sounds simple. It seems obvious, and it’s tough to force yourself to do it. We are too quick to want to jump on a “solution” without understanding if we are increasing throughput or activity. The purpose of your organization is not to increase activity but rather to increase throughput and it will not happen by guessing.