Ringing up transactions, however, is not the same as having a sales culture or selling system in place. Many companies effectively limit their own revenues by taking a passive approach to sales. Rich Isaac, President and CEO of Sandler Training, a sales consulting firm in Hauppauge, NY, suggests 4 ways CEOs can proactively increase sales in their companies.
1. Create a strong sales system. “A sales system covers the full range of sales activities, from positioning and prospecting to negotiating and deal closing. A strong system lets you track transactions in real time as they progress through the deal pipeline; identify high-profitability prospects and allocate resources accordingly; and look for sales in the most likely places, in the most productive ways, based on historic data.”
2. Foster a selling culture. “Everyone who interacts with people from outside the organization shapes market perceptions. Since perceptions shape customer behavior, all these employees are effectively your sales agents. In meetings, emails and other communications, expose them to your expectations regarding how they should represent the company when interacting with others. Their role as company ambassadors ought to be part of their job specs. Encourage a culture that focuses on identifying and fulfilling customer needs. Sales will follow.”
3. Get the right sales management in place. “The best sales managers are competitive and results-oriented. They are also nurturing, helpful, systems-focused and good communicators. You want your sales managers to have all these qualities to do their jobs effectively. Too often the top sales people get kicked up the ladder, with little regard to how suitable they are – or aren’t – for their new roles.”
4. Sell to current and past clients, not just prospects. “In many successful companies, significant business comes from upselling existing clients and reconnecting with former clients. Encourage your sales management and sales team to focus their attentions on the needs and ever-changing situations of current customers, and keeping ex-customers solidly in their orbits.”
Rich Isaac has helped executives analyze and strengthen their selling systems for 20 years. He is the 2016 winner of the David H. Sandler Award, the global training and leadership organization’s highest honor.