Transform Your Sales Strategy: Part One
The imagined advantages of longevity and legacy can easily become weaknesses that lead to institutional inertia and hesitation. Personal relationship-based styles of selling may seem ideal on the surface, but they may not serve your business goals because they are:
- Unique for each customer, not repeatable.
- Not owned by the company, dependent on the sales representative.
- Dependent on longevity of the client contact.
- Hard to measure.
- Managed by sales reps who are too involved in the process.
Adaptive Sales Skills for Today’s Marketplace
Are you prepared to dramatically rethink your definition of your ideal customers and how you’ll handle account management? Alvin Toffler, author of "Rethinking the Future," gave us the concept of “learn, unlearn, and relearn,” and it sums up the philosophy of developing a new sales process. It’s difficult to take on fresh challenges of selling and growing a profitable business without first unlearning some of the strategy and tactics that no longer are applicable.
Steps to kick off the transition begin with discussion, analysis, brainstorming, and defining the issues and obstacles to overcome within your business. What follows is a series of sales team and ideal client evaluations that will help you to define your sales transformation. Follow up by process-building and implementation of the new model. Don’t leave these important steps to chance, and it’s harder to do than it looks.
Companies that are heavily dependent on legacy sales teams and accounts are making the time to tackle these issues head on. Remember, customers are loyal until the day they aren’t. This process can be an energizing, team-building experience, but success often relies on the attitude and energy of the sales leader.
“It’s difficult to take on fresh challenges of selling and growing profitable business without first unlearning some of the strategy and tactics that no longer apply.”
Your Current Customers
Look at your current clients’ businesses. Banks, credit card issuers, higher ed, loyalty programs, insurers, wellness programs, and other marketers often want to get their messages heard in more ways than just your print project. What would the impact be if the sales focus were not only on the print project you are working on, but on making it easier for clients to be more successful with all their printed communications? This could benefit not just new accounts, but many of your existing customers. Be aware though, that for salespeople focused only on selling the next “print job,” this may represent intimidating territory.
Core sections of your business may not have altered in any way. In fact, you benefit from having client relationships that haven’t changed much at all – their account remains solid. For this group, try to increase your market share and depth of account by going deeper and wider into their needs – gain a bigger piece of their spend and cross sell into areas you have yet to penetrate. Get that investigative thought process going!
Questions for Your Team Discussion:
- Current markets – how are they changing? Do they still have long-term growth potential?
- What are the costs associated with maintaining unprofitable accounts?
- Are there and disconnects between account value and the cost of account management?
- Define and structure your metrics associated with account attrition.
In part two of this segment, we’ll discuss your sales team, your value proposition, and marketing and sales resources to support your transformation. What are you doing to transform your sales team and how will you continue to grow and keep up with the changing dynamics of the marketplace?
Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic direction, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.com, LinkedIn or email at email@example.com.
Mike Philie leverages his 28 years of direct industry experience in sales, sales management and executive leadership to share what’s working for companies today and how to safely transform your business. Since 2007, he has been providing consulting services to privately held printing and mailing companies across North America.
Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the graphic communications industry by providing direct and realistic assessments, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion, and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach.