It’s that time of the year when people start making resolutions. Many people will buy a gym membership, while others will quit drinking (or some other vice). At work, people are talking about how next year will be better than the current year. Business is 20% ideas and 80% execution and often times I find companies have great intentions without any capacity to bring them to fruition. To that end, here are the five reasons your business will gain little to no additional traction in 2015 than you did this year.
Not using CRM properly
Lets start with a very basic statement. We are entering 2015 and if you are a business that does not have a CRM...call a business broker and put the business up for sale. There is no way in today’s hyper competitive environment to not have a customer relationship management platform to keep your interaction with present and future customers organized and easily digestible. Having a CRM is only half the battle. As with NASCAR racing, you can have a fast car but without a skilled driver you are not winning any races. CRM solutions are supposed to help your entire company operate more effectively when interacting with your present and future customers. Notice I just said your entire company as opposed to your sales department. The biggest misconception of a CRM system is that it's only use is within the confines of your sales group. There are many groups within a company outside of sales that interact with present and future customers. Billing, legal, and customer service are a few examples of departments that I have integrated into CRM systems over the years with amazing success. Why? It is very simple…the more people operating on the same platform allows for the most seamless distribution of information possible. This enables people to be in the know and make fast and accurate data-driven decisions.
Not Investing in Marketing Automation
Marketing is no longer a department to man trade show booths, print flyers, and send holiday cards. Yes, they may do those very menial tasks, but in winning organizations the marketing group is the backbone of an efficient sales process. By creating winning content and driving engagement over the company's digital assets, the marketing group can generate the “Glengarry leads” or as we call them Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs). Nothing makes me happier than working MQL’s because they have a ridiculously high conversion rate as opposed to cold calling and other traditional prospecting methods.
Not Having a Sales Activity Plan
Where the rubber meets the road. Running a sales and marketing program is very difficult mainly because you sometimes have to completely separate yourself from your peers and insist on results. If the standard is to make ten appointments a week, then five is unacceptable - and continuation of that behavior will result in termination. Activity breeds results and a great deal of clients I have worked with have an issue bringing out the teeth. The hard reality is simple, truly "A players "always hit their numbers. Why? Because they are "A players."
Sales is a beautifully brutal profession and too often managers let non-performers hide in the weeds which hurts the entire organization. Make a standard and hold people accountable. If they are not able to execute, it’s your responsibility to move them out. Non-performers are cancerous and they will deteriorate the effectiveness of your entire group. If you are running your groups correctly, an amazing phenomenon I like to call “group cannibalization” will occur. That is where the non-performer’s peers effectively move the person out simply because they will not stand to be brought down by someone else’s apathy.
You Don’t Have a Sales Hiring Plan
The root cause of having non-performing sales and marketing talent is not having a hiring plan for these positions. I rarely encounter HR groups that treat sales and marketing positions differently than the general employee populous. This is a massive mistake that will cost your business ridiculous amounts of time and capital. Sales and marketing stars are a different breed that need to be vetting accordingly. As you have heard many times before, you want to hire the “right employee in the right seat on the right bus.” If you do not have a personality profiling tool that allows you to vett out people that do not possess the raw attributes that allow them to excel in a sales position, you are spinning your wheels. There are a couple excellent tools out there that are very cost effective. Predictive Index is one that I have used with great success.
You Have No Content - You Have No Story
The whole world has gone content crazy. Last week, Time Warner’s CEO spoke about how their entire strategy has gone to producing top quality content that will drive user engagement over a number of different platforms. Content is king because it is used to create engagement with your intended audience. Let's face it, your website is not all that attractive or engaging, and realistically the only people who may be interested in your product or service will land there. If you have engaging content that actually helps your intended prospect demographic in their buyer process, you are more likely to convert the prospect into a MQL on the site.
There you have it, the five reasons your business will gain no more traction in 2015 than this year. That is, unless you want to change it... contact us to see how Blarney Ventures can help your organization gain traction and grow.