It seems obvious doesn’t it? Of course sales growth is going to have a positive impact on your bottom line! But how can you leverage your resources to improve sales volumes consistently?
YOU have an Impact on Four Parts of the Sales Process
You and your staff can directly impact the following four elements of your sales process: your conversion rate, the volume of sales, the average sale value, and the length of the sales cycle. Today we're talking about improving sales volume, the second article in the four-part Sales Growth Series. Read the first post about improving conversion rates.
Marketing is a Prerequisite for Sales
Any discussion about increasing sales volume will validate the magic of marketing and sales working together. Because this aspect of sales is quintessentially a numbers game; to increase sales volume you need more leads (generated by targeted and tracked marketing). Which with a robust qualifying system (ahem, your sales skills) become more qualified leads. Which are further transformed with some marketing and sales expertise into opportunities. And that’s where successful sales people are separated from the rest.
Feeding the Pipeline
It’s a given that you must continually feed the pipeline to increase sales volume (see more in ‘Feeding the Beast’). You’ll likely want to try a variety of ways to generate leads, some offline and some online. You’ll need to invest some resources, either money or time, in order to generate new leads with some regularity. But like a lot of things in business, there is no easy, one size-fits-all answer. There will be a lot of trial and error (please make sure you are measuring every different marketing effort you try!) and it will take time for you to see meaningful results
How Good is Your Lead Generation?
As for the mechanics, there is a simple formula I developed in 'How to Do Lead Gen’ – it’s about helping potential clients understand that you have something that may address one of their pain points, something worth giving up an email address to obtain.
What do you do with these email addresses once you have them? You engage the people who own them. Regularly, with compelling content. You provide something useful. You answer questions and you make it easy for these people to find answers. You share insights you’ve learned. You tell relevant stories. You share your humanity. Oh, and you keep adding more people to this group. All the time. Because if you aren’t generating leads to qualify, it’s very difficult to close sales and grow your business.
Outsourcing Marketing Makes Sense
Marketing takes time, both to put into practice and to yield results. I believe that your best sales asset is YOU and therefore you should be outsourcing much of your marketing so you can spend your time selling. The skill in moving those leads through the pipeline is real, and for entrepreneurs, utterly personal.
Compelling Questions are Instrumental in Increasing Sales Volumes
But how do you qualify all these leads effectively and move prospects along the funnel to an eventual close? You’ve got it! Compelling questions. Those ones that don’t just develop and improve rapport, but make your prospect think in terms of his needs while answering in terms of your needs. These very same questioning skills apply to qualifying prospects as they do to sales conversations with identified opportunities.
Some clever marketing programs will enable prospects to self-qualify, and there is nothing wrong with that. But if you are running the sort of small business where you being in front of a lead makes the difference between a qualified prospect and a bunch of leads taking up valuable space in your MailChimp account, I’m always going to recommend you (or a trained member of your team) get involved personally. Because that’s how you shorten the sales cycle, increase conversions and drive up average sales values. Which makes you a more successful business owner focused on sustained growth.
Next up: Part 3 will cover how to increase average sales values.