Achieving success in business is always a high-wire act, but CEOs and business owners often (and unconsciously) add to the “degree of difficulty.” They attain a comfortable status quo without realizing that, by focusing on certain key areas, they might dramatically increase the stream of revenue coming in, rather than killing it off.
Here are three areas which, left unattended, will kill revenue in your business:
A lackluster sales team
In my opinion, a CEO or business owner’s focus should be on (1) developing an effective sales process; and (2) hiring the right type of salespeople.
How well do you understand the entire sales process in use within your organization? Do you know how leads are generated, cultivated and moved through the pipeline? Are there logjams in the process that consistently result in sales gone wrong and/or prevent your team from closing deals? Every aspect of the sales process should be scrutinized and measured with a system of metrics everyone on the team can follow down to the last step.
Speaking of the sales team, it might be your hiring process leaves a great deal to be desired.
Some experts advocate hiring for “attitude, rather than experience,” but I believe a healthy blend of both works best. “Successful inside salespeople often have a strong desire to be a top performer, have a large impact at their company or realize the potential for career growth,” notes sales recruiter Jeremy Turpen. “In other words—to win.”
When hiring, look for men and women with this no-holds-barred approach to sales. Also seek out individuals with experience in your industry (less time needed to get up and running) and those who understand that listening to prospects and asking the right questions are the best ways to build rapport and move towards sales.
Inability to differentiate
If what you produce and sell is the same as what your competitors offer, why should anyone buy from you? Your task as a CEO or business leader is finding what sets your business apart from the sea of companies out there.
Such differentiating factors can include:
- Offer great value. Your company has a values statement, but do you provide value to others? Talk with your clients. Listen to them. You’ll find nuances of needs they have that the competition hasn’t addressed. Set your company apart by filling those needs.
- Provide solutions to problems your clients didn’t know existed. With your superior knowledge of the industry, there are probably insights you can share and solutions you can provide that pre-empt a client’s awareness of conditions within his or her business. Likely, this is something a less-gifted competitor can offer.
A failure to look into the future
Some businesses aim for a big, one-time sale and are happy to move on from there. If you’re not actively strategizing with your clients, you’re missing out on key long-range revenue-generating opportunities.
Interview your clients. Find out what challenges lie ahead in the next 18-24 months. Are they developing new products or addressing internal obstacles to growth? Is there a way your company can help resolve these challenges? Look at your relationship as a long-term investment with a focus on helping that client grow over time. Again, rival businesses may be unable to compete in this area.
The same forward-looking approach applies to your own business as well. Don’t get locked into doing the same old things the same way you have in the past. Carve out time in your day (or join an organization like Catapult Groups) to move beyond the crush of daily operations and plan for your own future.
Adopting a strategic perspective is one of your most important responsibilities. Ask questions no one else dares to ask. Anticipate industry challenges and opportunities down the road others may not have considered. Learn and grow from your past experiences. Be an innovator.
Don’t allow revenue-killing trends to take hold in your business. The future belongs to you, if you have the drive and strategy to take it.