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Sales are a crucial component to the success of any company. The reason is simple: without sales, you don’t have a viable business. Despite this, in the absence of reliable sales practices, many companies still report a high number of missed sales opportunities. Below you will find 5 things to keep in mind when thinking about your sales strategy.

 

Pricelists/Client – Price flexibility should be important to any sales manager. The price that you offer one client needs to be adapted to that client’s expectations. This is true because the price is, in reality, a reflection of the kind of relationship you have with that particular client. The Pareto Principle tells us that 20% of our clients are responsible for a large chunk of our sales (about 80%). These clients are very important to your business both as long-term partners, and as sources for new business. Repay their loyalty and the results will show.

 

What, when and to whom to sell? – Gain the competitive advantage through adapting your price to market conditions. Plan and use tools such as promotional prices adapted to seasonality, market demand and market penetration needs so you can take advantage of market fluctuations. Adapting your offer in such a way gives you the upper hand when dealing with both the positive and negative fluctuations of demand.

 

Limit your loses – A credit limit is the maximum amount a client can owe you for previous invoices while still being able to place orders with your company. Credit limits, like prices, are negotiation tools you can use in your relationships with your customers. They have two major implications:

  • Credit limits give you greater control over your sales team, making sure your teams sells to whom is a better fit for your company. As you probably already know selling is very important, but selling to the right customers is even more important. Selling to customers who have a tendency to postpone payment can lead to cash flow issues and missed opportunities with other customers. Every company, no matter the size, has limited capital with which to work. The job of the sales manager is to use that capital as efficiently as possible.
  • Use credit limits to breed loyalty among clients. This is pretty straight forward. When a long-time client wants to place an order, but has already hit her credit limit, extend the credit limit. Look to help those who have been there for you. A strong company grows alongside its clients.

 

Automation – Your Sales department represents the main point of contact between your company and your clients. Take the time to plan out your sale approach. By doing this, you will be able to see both the advantages and disadvantages of the way you do business today, and make the necessary adjustments for the future. Ask yourself things like:

  • Where do my sales opportunities come from? (both in the case of existing clients and new ones) What are the triggers for those opportunities?
  • How can I make my presence felt exactly where these opportunities arise?
  • After the client realizes that he has a need that I can fulfill, what is his behavior? Does he ask for a quotation? Does he ask for a sample? What can I do reward that behavior and make it easier for the client to manifest it towards me?
  • After I have made the sale, what kind of behavior should I have, so that I can create a long lasting relationship with that customer?

If you have an ERP system implemented, observe the way documents such as Sales Quotation, Sales Order, Delivery, A/R Invoice interact with each-other and build your process so that it emulates and integrates with them.

 

Use a CRM system (Customer Relationship Management) – A CRM system is essential because it helps you keep track of all the information you need about your clients and leads. It helps you see contact details, track business opportunities, see what stage of the buying cycle the potential customer is in and maintain long-lasting relationships with your business partners. A sales person needs to be able to track tens, if not hundreds, of sales opportunities. A sales manager needs to be able to keep track of even more. Don’t let the large amount of such data overwhelm you. Instead, use it to your advantage, with a specialized system that can help you extract statistics and trends that help you get a bird’s eye view of your company’s sales endeavors. 

 

All of these pieces of advice are useful for any sales manager, but none of them are more useful than this one: pick one of the points explained above and integrate it in your day-to-day activity. The best companies are not the ones who know a lot of techniques and methods of doing business. The best companies are the ones who execute. Execution is key!

Good Luck!

 

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