long and winding road to business growth

5 reasons businesses owners take longer to grow their businesses then they would like

Business owners does this sound familiar?

  • You’ve built your business and as you’ve established your presence in the market you’re now in a position to outsource your business development / lead generation allowing you to focus on what you’re good at however you’re not getting the results you’re expecting from your sales campaign.
  • You’re having a lot of conversations with “interested” and “engaged” prospects but you’re not quite getting them over the line and converting into customers.
  • You’re putting so much effort into winning new business that you’re dropping the ball when it comes to your existing customers and wonder why they’re not coming back and placing more orders with you.
If you can relate to this, let me shed some light on what might be happening in this situation as listed below are common oversights business owners make in terms of their business development.

1. Not being clear in what they do and who they do it for

You’ve done very well in growing your business this far getting customers on board and taking the business to a level where you can work with external agents yet this can be as much down to luck rather than judgement.

As you’re now in a position to scale and rely on others to communicate the value of your products, have you really taken the time to explore the benefits from your audiences’ perspective? Are you able to paint a picture of the type of customer who stands to benefit most from your solution?

I’ve worked with many business owners who say, “well anyone really” but the problem with that is unless you have an idea of who you are talking to then understanding how to approach them and what to say becomes challenging. You’re likely to misfire in terms of communicating your true value and therefore your messaging won’t resonate resulting in missed opportunities. This is bad enough when it's you making the approaches, but further amplified when someone else is doing it on your behalf.

2. Not setting expectations with their sales team

Speaking with many business owners, I’m not surprised that many are often disappointed with the results they get from working with sales agents, whether that’s direct hires or outsourced business development agencies.

For example when working with appointment setters, many business owners are too vague in terms of what they qualify as a lead. There is a vast difference between a lead that is considered marketing qualified and one that is sales qualified. This is a crucial distinction because they’re two very different things.

The main difference between a Marketing Qualified Lead and Sales Qualified Lead is the lead's perceived willingness to make a purchase. Marketing Qualified Leads are very curious, while Sales Qualified Leads are leads handed off to Sales because they are considering a purchase and typically agencies are more likely to provide the former.

If you want conversations with those considering a purchase then you need to communicate that to your sales agent to ensure you move towards your sales goals.

3. Not having a process for converting their prospects into customers

So now you have got your prospects interested, what can you do to take them over the line and convert into a paying customer?

The ability to convert customers consistently and sustainably is more involved than simply talking your way into a deal. You need to consider your “what now? strategy”. This involves going through every step of the customer journey and thinking about what is required to take them to the next stage. Do you have any gaps in the process they could fall through? If so then what are they and what can you do to fill them? This will vary depending on what it is you sell as well as the emotional and financial considerations involved in making the decision.

Take time to review the system you currently have in place to enable customer conversions. Also reflect on what supporting materials you can provide to facilitate your buyer's decision. Even the simplest system for progressing a lead is still a system, whether that is using a simple spreadsheet to fully adopting a complex CRM. So what’s your process and is it fit for purpose?

4. Not analysing their performance

You’ve heard the phrase, “you cannot improve what you don’t measure” or “if your numbers don’t show it then you don’t know if’ well that’s so true!

Performance analysis comes in two types, qualitative and quantitative. Simply put, are you doing enough to warrant the results you require? There’s no escaping the fact that success in business comes from developing the right habits and routines. Are you doing enough activity to grow your business? Sales success and business revenue are in fact lag factors that follow a series of events like prospecting and sales presentations. So are you doing enough prospecting? And is that resulting in enough sales conversations?

Once you’re confident you’re hitting the numbers and you then find you’re not converting enough you can then review the quantitative information and explore what is getting in the way of customer conversions. By doing this you could establish whether there is a need for sales training or coaching. Maybe even there is some friction in your sales process that needs to be removed.

Unless you take time to review sales performance then you will never know what is getting in the way of you growing your customer base.

5. Not developing a customer success strategy

Finally something that is all too common in business. So much time and energy is focused on winning new business we sometimes forget to value the customers we have already got. Therefore any new customers that sign up are only serving to replace the ones that have been lost so the ability to grow the business takes a lot longer than hoped.

So what programmes are in place to support your customers once they’ve signed up with you? How are you helping them get the most from working with you? What needs to be done so that you become more than a vendor to being a trusted supply partner?

If you can crack this then you are well on your way to growing your business as loyal customers are cheaper to service, less likely to screw you down on price and more likely to facilitate your business development by providing referrals and spreading good word of mouth.

So if there’s all those benefits to looking after your customers then why do many businesses not invest in delivering customer success programmes?

Does any of this resonate with you? If you would like to discuss any of this in the context of your business then feel free to get in touch with me to discuss how you can overcome some of these challenges.

Or feel free to take a sales effectiveness test to asses the sales effectiveness of your business.

Thanks for reading.