Despite temporary Covid-related economic setbacks, small business owners across the nation are hopeful for a speedy rebound.
Despite nearly two-thirds of entrepreneurs admitting to SCORE that 2020 didn’t produce company profits, 55% remain optimistic that they’ll be able to grow their businesses in 2021.
Yet growth doesn’t come without careful planning, especially for C-suite executives working on a tight budget.
Expanding Sales on a Budget
Scaling up on the heels of a pandemic may sound tricky. However, it’s doable—and doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, sales leaders from organizations of all sizes can take a few cost-effective steps to get a larger industry share without risking fiscal security. And if your goal is to gain traction, you’ll want to consider adding at least a few to your operations.
1. Narrow your sales targets.
It’s highly tempting to try to sell to every B2B or B2C prospect at once. The trouble with this type of “see what sticks” approach comes in the form of wasted dollars. Sure, you’ll get some hits. But you’ll get a lot of misses, too.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have several targeted audiences that you’re trying to woo. You just have to know more about each one and create content likely to appeal to specific groups. That way, you’ll avoid spending too much time trying to convert unqualified leads who aren’t poised or authorized to buy.
2. Streamline and systemize your selling processes.
Growing a business isn’t easy without standardized procedures. This includes the way sales meetings are tackled. If each of your salespeople relies on a personalized strategy, they’re not working toward a common objective.
As suggested by PandaDoc, a document automation software, suggests aligning your sales teams’ processes to naturally generate better results. Plus, you’ll be able to determine a baseline understanding of your current conversion rates. As you tweak your processes, you can quickly judge whether or not every new idea adds value (and should therefore be added.)
3. Eliminate “fat” from client-facing employees’ schedules.
What if you learned that even your top sales professionals are only spending a little more than a third of their time actually selling in customer-facing activities? It’s a shocking statistic and reveals just how important it is to get rid of all excess (and unneeded) time-wasters from your sales staffers’ agendas.
Start trimming away hours by seeing if you can help your team automate some of their more arduous, repetitive tasks. For instance, follow-up emails to warm prospects could be auto-generated. Or, templates for all communications could be developed to make copying and pasting—and then customizing—a breeze. Be open to adding advanced software and portals to your tech stack so your sellers can concentrate on bringing in money.
4. Consider ways to earn passive income streams.
Depending upon your type of business, you may be able to reap the benefits of passive income streams. An example could be setting up ecommerce pages so people could order services or goods online 24/7. You don’t necessarily need to spend tons on this aspect of your website, but it’s helpful. It also makes contactless payments simpler.
Another form of passive income could be a subscription-based model, a la Spotify, or Amazon Prime. Would your current customers benefit from exclusivity? Could you offer them specials based on monthly subscriptions? Subscription services enable your business to collect money upfront in exchange for clients being able to get certain perks.
5. Revitalize your website content.
Be sure you’re taking advantage of your company’s organic search results, particularly now. We’re living in a digital age where everyone’s online. Being above the fold in search results can be highly lucrative and help bring target audiences into your sales pipeline.
Spend time each week scouring different pages on your website. Pay attention to those that seem to get the most views, such as a popular blog post or your FAQs section. Are there ways you can beef up the content or refresh it so it’s more valuable to readers? Is it optimized clearly for relevant keywords?
Making updates costs you a bit in terms of your team’s time. Nevertheless, it’s a small investment to make to keep your website from getting nudged off the first page of Google results.
6. Hire talented, early-career salespeople.
When you’re considering hiring someone new for sales or customer experience support, don’t limit yourself to mid-career applicants. Often, someone just starting out will be eager to make a great impression. Therefore, look for hard-working candidates with a penchant for learning.
You’ll save money upfront by being able to offer early-career sellers a lower starting salary. Still, be generous with commissions and bonuses. Many salespeople depend on being able to augment their salaries with extras based on how much they bring into the organization. If you onboard talented folks primed to shine, you could find yourself ramping up business fast.
Building your brand doesn’t have to be an expensive project. You probably can do more with your current sales employees than you thought possible. Sometimes, making just a few operational or systematic changes is all you need to get a handsome bump in profits.