The modern business world is driven by data. However, the constant stream of data to sales professionals can be overwhelming, especially when you are at peaks or valleys in sales. Understanding this data, and more importantly leveraging it, is made easier with the help of sales enablement services.
Overcoming The Valleys in Sales
Before you can overcome the valleys of sales, you must first implement a sales enablement service. This technology-based sales tool often uses lead scoring systems to assign a positive or negative weight to each contact. The gathered data should indicate where the lead is a good fit for the company’s services. For example, a local business that has a small geographic reach will receive a negative weight for contacts that are in a different time zone, let alone a different country. The challenge for companies, especially startups, is to overcome the negatives that contribute to valleys in sales. Fortunately, with the following tips you can be better prepared to plan for (and survive) the lows that will inevitably arise.
Tip #1: Gather Resources Before You Climb The First Peak.
Just as a condominium building collects HOA fees, so too must your company have a set reserve of resources. These resources should be gathered before you reach the first peak. After all, right after a peak there is usually an immediate valley or a period of stagnant growth.
In order to reduce the risk that you will run out of funds during an extended period of low sales, you must take a page from startups and plan before you leap. In other words, before your company takes on too much overhead, make sure that you have the funds needed to pay your employees, keep the lights on, and the ability to continue to work on innovative solutions even when sales are low.
All too often, businesses start to cut marketing when funds get tight. Unfortunately the latter act is a bit of a “which came first the chicken or the egg scenario.” If you drastically reduce the marketing budget, then your sales funnels will lose their aggregated leads, which means that your sales department will be spending valuable time trying to find leads, instead of focusing on the qualified contacts that are attained via strategic marketing. However, if you keep spending money on marketing, then you will quickly reduce your resources during a slow sale period. The trick is to leverage sales enablement tools in an effort to understand just how valuable your contacts really are. Using the latter knowledge, you can then adjust your marketing to appeal to the right audiences who will inevitably purchase your products or services.
Tip #2: Apply For Contests And Business Grants
Contests and business grants aren’t just for startups. Whether your business is currently experiencing rapid growth or is in a valley, you should apply to contests or business grants that offer valuable services. From the Inc 500 list to the FedEx Small Business Grant, there are a multitude of contests that business should apply to. These contests also offer a valuable PR opportunity that can help your sales team reach an entirely new audience segment.
Keep in mind, that many universities, local business organizations, and even state-level politicians are interested in helping businesses succeed. These resources can help you to learn valuable techniques, such as: how to market to millennials, how to license your intellectual property or product, or how to grow during the most vulnerable stages of your business. You might even discover a new source of investors, who are willing to help fund your company as you seek to grow to new heights.
Tip #3: Don’t Underestimate The Value Of Networking
You never know where you might meet your next big customer. Networking is a great way to establish valuable business connections and grow those all important business lists. To quote Jay Samit, “Networking is all about connecting with people. But then again, isn’t that what life is about? The more time you can find to get out of the office and build true friendships, the farther your startup will go. Entrepreneurs need to remember to spend as much time working on their business as they do in their business. … The answers to all a startup’s challenges are out there. By setting up the right mechanisms for gathering feedback, the road to success can be a less bumpy ride.”
The moral of the story is simple, if you want to prepare for valleys, then you need to network and spend time on the ground, building valuable relationships. These relationships will become the go-to resources that your sales department will need as they climb their way out of a valley. Without them, your sales team will flounder and your company might not recover.
The Bottom Line: Preparation Starts On Day One
As businesses grow, they often migrate from the “Day One” mentality. In other words, they forget that business success is defined by yesterday’s failures and today’s ability to rise above. This definition of success relies on a company’s ability to plan for valleys in sales before they even experience their first peak. With the help of the right sales enablement tool, and the above tips, you can gather and analyze the data that you need to continue to innovate, grow, and succeed just as you did on Day One.