Stretch Margins by Streamlining Sales
January 19, 2015 by Stephanie Potash
Efficient sales mean bigger margins, which improve the bottom line. Here are five steps to beef up your sales program:
One Click Sales Tracking
Owners of small and medium size businesses don’t often think sales automation is a tool for them. But without the bells and whistles, the software can be affordable and can help manage your sales funnel, give you an instant view of where sales stand, and show you where salespeople are in the process.
If you decide to invest in this kind of software, here’s what you can expect:
Final Analysis: The tool won’t create sales or generate leads. It enhances sales and helps your employees operate more efficiently.
1. Consolidate sales routes.Reorganizing your sales circuit can let your staff visit more than one customer on each trip.
2. Focus on trophy customers. If your top customers haven’t bought anything for, say, 90 days, find out why. Offer them a well-crafted plan aimed at their long-term needs and introduce the plan as a new feature just for them. Include discounts, premiums and extended warranties.
3. Cut the paperwork. You hired your sales staff to spend time selling, not sitting at a desk doing paperwork.Design an electronic or manual form where the sales staff fill in a few simple entries and then hand the form over to administrative staff.
4. Light a fire. Anyone can sell popular items. The real challenge is getting revenue from new items or stock that hasn’t taken off. Replace across-the-board commission rates and motivate your sales force with higher commissions on new products or “tough sells.” You might even consider reducing the commission on popular products or services that seem to “sell themselves.”
5. Revise commissions. In addition to paying commission that’s tied to the difficulty of the sale, consider commissions based on:
- Actual customer payments rather than billable orders.
- Increased sales to current customers.
- Increased order sizes.
- Delivery of items when customers prepay.
- The number of new customers.
Setting up a compensation plan based on measurable financial goals lets your sales staff see and understand the value of every transaction.