With the first half of 2021 coming to a close for companies with calendar year financial statements, there’s a topic on many business leaders’ minds.
“Will we meet, beat, or miss our 2021 sales goal—and by what percentage?”
When behind their sales plan targets, what we see too many companies do is go tactical.
They assume that they know their customers and prospects so well, that they can jump straight into Random Acts of Marketing & Sales.
What usually happens as a result?
Not much. Wasted time and money.
When we interview prospects and customers for our clients, every time we find ways in which customer needs aren’t being fully served.
The Harvard Business Review just cited McKinsey research that found “More than three quarters of buyers and sellers say they now prefer digital self-serve and remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions—a sentiment that has steadily intensified even after lockdowns ended.
“Safety is one reason, of course. But self-serve and remote interactions have made it easier for buyers to get information, place orders, and arrange service, and customers have enjoyed that speed and convenience. Only about 20 percent of B2B buyers say they hope to return to in-person sales, even in sectors where field-sales models have traditionally dominated, such as pharma and medical products.”
Here are a few examples of random acts:
All these actions, when they are part of a strategy based on market insights, can produce results. But when they aren’t, you can expect little effect.
If your company is in a competitive slugfest, random acts will NOT make you stand out in the market.
Further, random acts don’t align solutions with what customers are going to need, nor equip a sales team with effective messaging.
A lot of random acts come from what we call the Shiny Object Syndrome: Hearing and reading about a tactic that’s working wonders for a friend’s company (“We’re getting so many leads from LinkedIn!”) can get you thinking “Hmm, we’d better do that too” even if your prospects and customers aren’t active on that communications channel.
Fortunately, there’s a better way to get sales growing again.
Chief Outsiders has applied the Growth Gears hundreds of times to generate powerful sales growth for our clients.
There are three steps:
It’s important to note that the Growth Gears are sequential.
It can be SO tempting to jump straight to execution. Earlier in our careers, we’ve done it. But that’s Fire-Ready-Aim.
For the method to work, do the Growth Gears sequentially.
Get someone skilled and independent to conduct phone interviews to gather the Voice of the Customer. I’m not talking about a simple customer satisfaction survey with Survey Monkey. Rather, these are interviews that can really probe and drill down to get at deep insights.
Voice of the Customer interviews are so powerful. We get Aha’s for our clients every single time. Yes, we build on what our companies already know. But up to 40% of what they think they know about their customers’ needs and communications preferences is out of date or wrong.
For example, a parts supplier to a manufacturing plant took pride in their frequent, just-in-time deliveries to the plant. And that’s what the customer wanted—in the past. Now, they’re having a very hard time staffing their receiving docks. And they want to keep more inventory as a buffer against supply chain delays. So making fewer, bigger deliveries is actually better now.
You do Insights work so that 40% of your execution isn’t off target.
To learn about how to translate Market Insights into Strategy and Execution, I invite you to view a webinar that my colleague Aurora Toth and I conducted June 24, 2021.
I made the points above in the first portion of the webinar. If you want to skip right to Aurora’s recommendations on Strategy and Execution, you can begin at 12:40 in the video. We also shared three case studies of companies that used the Growth Gears approach to boost sales in a sustained way.
Here is the webinar link: https://www.chiefoutsiders.com/webinars/2021-strategy
I think you’ll find some actionable ideas, useful to you or someone you know.