Top 10 Tips To Grow Your Business
When you take a closer look at those companies that have achieved a strong business growth strategy over a sustained timescale, certain characteristics become clearer. Having worked with hundreds of high growth businesses over the last 35 year, we would like to share some of the lessons that we have learned to help your business grow. It seems obvious that without sales there is no business, but certain approaches and attitudes are certainly more successful that others. The starting point is to place sales at the centre of your strategy for growth and let it start to drive your action plans.
Because sales generation needs the support of virtually every department in the company, start by looking at where the support is lacking. Bringing production, design, logistics and administration/accounts etc. together with the sales team may sound an odd place to start but by getting all departments talking and working together, it will make a huge difference. Production, logistic, design and accounting problems will all stem the flow of business. Understanding the issues and working together to smooth them out will unleash your growth potential.
- Because sales generation needs the support of virtually every department in the company, start by looking at where the support is lacking. Bringing production, design, logistics and administration/accounts etc. together with the sales team may sound an odd place to start but by getting all departments talking and working together, it will make a huge difference. Production, logistic, design and accounting problems will all stem the flow of business. Understanding the issues and working together to smooth them out will unleash your growth potential
- The marketing budget is rarely large enough in most organisations. While we set targets for research and development, few businesses invest the near 10% of revenue that might be considered a strong commitment in this area
- The marketing budget should be the last to be cut but often is the first! All companies go through dips in their business cycle and need to reduce budgets to ensure they hit profit targets, but rarely in our experience does reducing your sales budget result in you making up lost business
- Your sales and marketing approach is not like a tap that can be instantly varied. The whole process in today’s world is typically omni-channel. The investment needs to cover everything from branding, online sales, public relations, sales exhibitions, advertising and the recruitment of traditional sales and marketing executives/support staff. It often involves a sophisticated mix of messages and information that need to appeal to a multitude of differing audiences. Knee jerk reactions in terms of spending and approach are unlikely to be successful
- Our rationale is that you should always set realistic if ambitious targets. You should start by asking all key departments to contribute to overall group objectives and their targets should be detailed and broken down into key product groups with associated costs to achieve. By then talking with all the key personnel, you are able by agreement to increase some figures and decrease others. Without this clear process, you will not really engage or incentivise all the groups but rather have the opposite effect
- You often hear that sales and marketing is hard to measure, in terms of its success. This is not a view to which we subscribe or think you should accept. When you set a target, you need to be able to measure its effectiveness. This is sometimes not an easy process, but technology is certainly providing more useful tools in this regard in terms of Customer Relationship Management systems (CRM) and internet measurement tools that can produce provide ready statistics on website visitor numbers and their activity
- Sales staff often want to be judged on their sales alone but is this adequate? Certainly not. Your staff are fulfilling many roles from customer relations to improving profitability. They should be judged on several of criteria including from profit margins, customer feedback, opening new accounts, activity levels and of course, sales
- Training is as important within the sales and marketing department as elsewhere in the company. This should be budgeted for and are likely to involve some internal and external inputs. Both are valid. They should also involve an element of fun such as group walks/activities aimed at team building rather than solely technical training
- Companies do not often invest in market research reports for their relevant sector. This is partly because such information is not always easy to obtain but it can sometimes be expensive to acquire. It is usually worth every penny spent in that it informs the business where the industry is heading, where to best invest resources and how to position themselves to win business. Such market focused knowledge is vital no matter how extensive the companies’ market intelligence is believed to be
- Businesses do not like to ask customers what they think about them. Partly because it is a little embarrassing and partly for fear of hearing the truth. We live in highly competitive times and satisfying customers need is more important than ever in corporate life. This in vital information that you need to know and act upon, so ask!
As business growth consultants we have built up considerable knowledge about how best to grow your business. The above tips are a brief overview that will hopefully allow your business to thrive but in truth, they form a small part of your business growth strategy.