Tag Archives: Close

How Do You Boost Your Sales and Marketing? Four Points

Situation: A CEO’s company has built an admirable suite of products. The next step in company growth is to create a more structured marketing pipeline. They have experienced salespeople, but these people have come to the end of their rolodexes. A new approach is needed. How do you boost your sales and marketing?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Create a profile of the ideal customer. This is the customer who can create the greatest leverage using the company’s suite of product. Aim for the top management of this customer.
  • Incentivize the sales reps to target high value accounts. To create targeting incentives, graduate the commission base.
    • Set initial commission based on the size of the customer.
    • Differentiate commission by product – pay the highest commission for highest gross profit products or the company’s highest priority products.
  • Salespeople need to be able to close sales by themselves.
    • Currently, salespeople are acting as lead generators and are counting on the CEO to close the sale.
    • Create a different set of expectations, including thresholds to limit the CEO’s direct involvement in the sales process – for example, limit CEO involvement to accounts with a revenue value over $500K.
    • Train the salespeople to communicate the value proposition for initial conversations as they qualify a new client. Create a set of resources to assist them along the way.
  • Is it a good idea to pay ongoing commissions forever?
    • Another CEO used to do this but has moved to X% for the first period/project and X/2% on follow-on-periods/projects. This keeps them hungry for new customers who will pay the higher commissions.
    • Don’t create a perpetual annuity – the way insurance brokers are paid. Reduce commissions on existing accounts so that they decline over time – keep salespeople focused on bringing in new accounts to maintain their income levels.
    • Decide on an acceptable level of total compensation for salespeople. Plan the commission structure to allow them to reach this level, but they have to keep selling to maintain this level. Keep them hungry.

How Do You Communicate Your Value Proposition? Four Methods

Situation: A company offers a service that can potentially boost clients’ revenues by 50% or more. However, the CEO has found it difficult to communicate this value proposition to potential clients. While some clients understand and have bought the company’s service, too many others have not. How do you communicate your value proposition?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Not everybody will buy any service, no matter what advantages it offers. Here are steps to take:
    • Make a list of clients that you have closed, and those that you have not.
    • Identify whether there is a difference in the profile of the clients that you’ve closed and those that you didn’t.
    • From the commonalities among those clients that have accepted your value proposition, create an ideal customer profile.
    • Use this profile to pre-qualify potential new clients and assure that they meet this profile before investing in sales efforts.

By focusing sales efforts on those clients that you are most likely to close, you will improve your close rate and also reduce your sales cost to revenue ratio.

  • As you cultivate a new prospect, identify those individuals within the client company who can block your sale. Make these individuals heroes for supporting your offering. Offer them appealing learning retreats. Offer augmentations that appeal to the unique needs of the client. Raise your prices to fund these augmentations, but more than cover these costs with boosted revenues to the client.
  • Focus on the key WIIFM – “What’s in it for me” – that will appeal to key purchase influencers. Enlist these people as your evangelists within the client.
  • Emphasize not just financial benefits, but quality of life benefits that will accrue to clients through your service. Back this with a guarantee that you feel comfortable making.

How Do You Close the Books on Time? Four Suggestions

Situation: A company has experienced delays in closing their annual books for years. Inability to complete final inventory is the critical factor. In recent years it has taken four months or more to get final numbers for the year. How do you close the books on time?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • It is important to put a system into place well in advance of fiscal year end. A key part of this is to conduct final inventory so that it is done smoothly and accurately either immediately prior to or following the end of the fiscal year. Retail or wholesale operations normally complete final inventory within 30 days of fiscal year end.
  • If your inventory includes both large and small value items, ask whether you have to count everything. Based on past inventory it may be that small items that do not substantially impact final inventory can either be eliminated from the count or handled on an exception basis.
  • Consider a system of doing monthly or rotating monthly inventory smaller sets of items that make up perhaps 60% of sales, and quarterly inventory on an additional larger set of items that together with the first groups make up perhaps 80% of sales. By completing inventory of these items more frequently, the company will not only have a better handle on total inventory, but is also likely to be more accurate at the end of the year. At year-end inventory add those items that make up the final 20% of sales to the inventory count.
  • Again, depending upon the nature of the inventory, it may not be necessary to count items that, as groups, are valued under $500 per group. Seek expert advice from your accountant on this point.