Clients ask many questions about their sales. At the heart of it, they're really asking, “How long will it take to reach my sales goals?” We understand this question. Who doesn’t want a bit of certainty in their life, especially when they're about to spend some budget?
Every client situation is different. Some clients have never talked to their customers, some have sporadic email relationships with their customers, others communicate regularly. Add into the mix industry factors, how your business measures up against competitors, the economy, the time of year (we’re about to hit the end of the March financial year) – and forecasting becomes a whole lot more complex.
Some clients have never mapped their sales processes, and do not know how long it takes for them to make a sale, how many touchpoints are needed, or how the customer experiences their business.
All of us want happy clients. Here at Magnify, we’d love to promise the moon and deliver it to everyone. But the reality is that sometimes people come to us because they’re finding the Sales Mountain hard to climb and need some help.
Just like our last blog, where we talked about the Seven Lessons that St Patrick (climbing a mountain!) can teach us about sales – a lot of what we do is sheer perseverance.
So – what do you need in place to climb your Sales Mountain and get the best from your outsourced sales campaign?
Your outsourced sales provider needs to ensure that your data is ready, and that you have good client documentation ready to go. It’s also important to discuss the sales processes already in place, and how the new business development you’re about to start will fit into that. Skimping on the preparation, just like a mountain climb, will mean a less successful journey to the top.
Are all your sales steps in place? Now you’re ready to start the climb.
Please note that no-one can accurately predict when your high-level sales goals will be reached. What you need most is an honest assessment of your sales situation. Your outsourced sales provider needs to prioritise your business needs over their need to make a sale. This may mean your campaign takes a pause for a week or two while you pivot your sales approach, to help your business meet the market needs and conditions that you’ve uncovered. Breaking through into that new market might take longer than you think.
However, much of sales is scientific. So you can predict some things.
When your sales team collectively put their shoulders to the proverbial wheel and P-U-S-H – uphill if necessary – you will generate sales momentum. Well-thought, appropriately spaced contact with your client database will provide the touch-points you need. Listening carefully to your customers will help you understand their experiences of your business. Which will ultimately deliver the results you want.
Good sales notes (in a CRM or database) will help you to see what’s happening with your new and existing clients. After a couple of months, you should be able to spot patterns to help you map your sales processes, number of customer touchpoints, and how long it takes to make a sale. You can then start to calculate the real cost of bringing on board new clients, and make more accurate predictions on how long it will take to reach your sales goals.
So – we can’t say exactly how long it will take to climb your Sales Mountain. But a good outsourced sales provider can provide tools, insight, and measurable results for the journey to help get you there, however long it takes. And a couple of coffees to start you on the right track!
We’re living in very changeable times. The way we work is changing. Our customers are constantly changing, and we need to change with them.
All this change means your business might have flexible sales needs that fluctuate during the year. If you employ all the staff that you’ll need at your busiest time, you may struggle to keep them occupied during quieter periods.
Outsourcing sales is a great solution.
At Magnify, we give our clients a flexible sales solution in changeable times. We can help with each part of the sales process – from client research and lead generation, to writing and editing tenders and proposals, right through to providing your own sales rep at peak times. We can also help you with outsourced media and communications, marketing and other business growth services.
Hiring a salesperson can be expensive. Once you employ someone, it can be very tough to make changes if things don’t work out. How do you know when you’re ready to make that leap and hire a full-time person? What if you’re not happy with them? Could you sustain their salary in the natural peaks and troughs that your market faces?
Outsourcing all or part of your sales process, using our flexible terms and sales expertise, helps you to maintain your sales functions while you make decisions about your sales resources.
There is a cost to everything. If your business offers a premium product or service, the price question can sometimes make you a little nervous. Your price is probably always a little dearer. Perhaps you struggle to answer confidently and keep the tremors out of your voice.
Remember that the customer’s decision is not just about the price. If it was, they wouldn’t even be considering you. The customer wants the most possible value at the best possible price. If the best price for the customer equates to lower value, the wise customer will think twice before buying. After all, quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten - Benjamin Franklin (modified).
The price question is a very positive sign. Many customers ask about price only when they are interested in your valuable offering. What they’re really saying is: will the benefits be greater than the cost of the outlay?
And yes – they certainly will. As Warren Buffett famously said – ‘Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.’ All of us need to demonstrate the value of our offering to our customers – because the perceived value is the reason that a sale is on the brink of happening in the first place.
When people ask me the price question, I’ll certainly answer, once I’ve had an opportunity to understand their business needs and do a proposal.
The question I often reflect back to the customer is: what is the cost to your business of not getting more sales?
When evaluating price, we all need to consider the total lifetime customer value. Every customer we deepen our connections with, every new customer we bring on board, every customer we bring back from the competition – is extremely valuable to our business. Their annual spend, multiplied by the number of years we expect them to require our products and services, gives us the true measure of their worth – their total lifetime customer value. Not to mention the added benefits of their positive referral business.
When I think back over this last year, Magnify has worked with some very interesting companies. We’ve helped them gain clients, close deals and increase sales. Sometimes we’ve proactively been in the right place at the right time – and discovered opportunities our clients never knew existed for upselling and cross-selling, and other new business development.
Yes, there has been an outlay to gain these customer insights and opportunities. But it’s been more than made up by the new clients they’ve gained, the connections they’ve deepened, and the sales generated.
Once a project is completed – our clients can choose to just run with it. Alternatively, they can ask us to continue helping them grow their sales, now that they’re so busy dealing with the opportunities we’ve already uncovered.
So yes, there will be some cost when you outsource your sales. But you will gain far more.
It’s been fantastic to have Magnify Consulting on our side for sales. They’ve helped get us in front a very good number of new clients, which has really helped grow our business. Their flexible service options mean business development that really fits our needs. They’ve gone the extra mile to make sure everything was completely arranged, both for us and for our prospective new clients. Their work has meant further leads for us to follow up - I’d be happy to work with Magnify again in the future.
Jane Bornholdt, Founder and Director, Wrap it Up
Mary worked as a senior member of my Sales Team when I was a Regional Manager at Allied Pickfords. Mary was by far our top sales performer both in terms of attitude and results in the Wellington team. Our region received many awards from our company and Mary also took home many sales achievement awards while employed by Allied Pickfords. Her positive and enthusiastic approach to business ensures that people simply want to do business with Mary. I have no hesitation in recommending Mary for her character, ethics and business results.
David Bell, Chief Operating Officer, ECL Group
On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me -
twelve proposals winning,
eleven reports convincing,
ten reps a-selling,
nine products launching,
eight sales a-closing,
seven phones a-ringing,
six leads a-growing,
five new clients,
four press releases, three sales strategies, two hot coffees
and a sales consult with Magnify.
When you outsource all or part of your sales processes, the new salespeople will have access to your company’s data. It is very important for you to check their level of data security.
A good company will have security protection, and also excellent back-up processes to protect your data. Don’t be scared to ask them – it’s your data, and you need to know that it’s safe.
Cloud-based solutions can also assist in backing up data. Some clients prefer to have their data physically on site with them, due to security concerns. However - provided you manage the risk by having good processes in place, controlling who has access to the data, and the permissions each person has - working with cloud-based solutions can have tangible benefits.
Recent events here in New Zealand highlight the importance of business flexibility and resilience. Earthquakes and floods mean some businesses without solid back-up processes or cloud-based data have struggled to maintain their work levels, assuming they could even access their client information. You need to ask your outsourced sales provider what contingency plans they have in place if a natural disruption happened.
Robust HR policies and checks also help to protect clients’ data. Honest, trustworthy people who want to do an excellent job will care about clients, and this also helps protect your data.
Finally, have your legal adviser check any contracts that you sign, to ensure your data and business intelligence will be kept confidential. This shouldn’t take too long to do and will give you peace of mind.
Once you’ve checked about data security - relax. As we say here at Magnify - Do what you do best for your business while we focus on growing your sales.
Welcome to Magnify and to our Magnify Blog! Magnify exists to grow your business by growing your sales. Magnify Consulting specialises in outsourced sales solutions. We fill the gaps in your sales process that “business as usual” prevents you from doing yourself.
All businesses need great sales to grow – it’s as simple as that. Yet not all businesses have the sales support or structure they need to actually succeed in this area.
Large businesses often have a strong sales team, who may be specialists in particular areas of the business. Their targeted focus helps them to really understand the clients assigned to them. But the team may have weaknesses in key parts of the sales process, such as new business development, preparing tenders and proposals, winning back lost clients. As they are already a big,
successful company, the team may not even realise their weaknesses.
Medium sized businesses may have a good team, but still struggle to handle those extra requirements such as preparing tenders and proposals. They may also struggle to take time out for training, as it creates a backlog of work for the entire team.
Smaller to Medium sized business (usually with 8-14 staff) may be in that challenging place where the Founder/CEO is handling all of the sales, as well as their own role. This can be particularly frustrating as they are forced to let opportunities go because they simply don’t have enough sales resource to pursue them. They may be wondering about taking on a salesperson, but have concerns about whether it is the right time for the business, or whether they can sustain an additional salary through the natural peaks and troughs in their market.
Start-ups particularly need sales, but could be focused around a core group of developers or product specialists. Perhaps there is no-one on team with the courage to really sell their products and services. They may have brilliant ideas, but be struggling to tell prospective clients how they are solving their problems, and have low sales as a result.
Sales equals cashflow – which is the lifeblood of any business. Love them or hate them – salespeople are necessary to your success.
What if you’re a CEO or business owner with questions, such as:
Magnify can help you. Use our flexible terms and sales expertise to maintain your sales functions and answer business development questions – while you make decisions about your sales resources.
Magnify will help you identify the gaps in your sales processes, provide comprehensive solutions, and then work with you to plug your sales gaps so that your sales can really grow.
Growing your business has never been easier. So relax. Do what you do best for your business, while we focus on growing your sales.
Getting people and businesses excited about Sales.