Tag Archives: Relationship Management

It’s 11 O’clock. Do you know where your sales are?

 By Jeff Bowman

For those of us experienced (old) enough to remember the channel 7 news from Buffalo in the 70’s and 80’s, “It’s 11 o’clock, do you know where your children are?” was the phrase that led to the nightly news. It was a reminder for all parents to know where their kids are at all times.  In business today knowing where your sales are now, where they will be next month and the long-term projection  is critical to success, yet most businesses don’t analyze their sales strengths, weaknesses and potential until it’s too late.

It’s no secret that if you stop making calls, you will notice  a decrease in sales, and by the time you notice it you are already into the next cycle of ramping up time required to get relationships and sales back on track.  This can cost months of revenue, has cost many salespeople their jobs and has led to many small businesses closing their doors unable to keep up with expenses. How do we get into this cycle, more importantly once in it, is there a quick and effective way to get out?

Time is every businesses enemy, and in bad economies, it seems to work twice as fast against them. Clients react quickly to change, looking for better service, a more reliable business relationship and lower costs.  If you are not on top of your customer contacts, not providing the level of service your clients have grown accustomed to or you are not being competitive, then clients move elsewhere. Sometimes sales tracking, prospecting and diligent client cultivation gives way to reactive, time-consuming measures taken to survive and keep the ship afloat. We quickly lose sight of the simple things in the business that have made it successful.

There is a solution to the problem, and as with most problems the solution starts with the recognition that there is a real issue. Revisit previous years, paying attention to details like number of clients, average order size, buying frequency, seasonality of sales, and types of products or services supplied.

What is different?

Are you promoting your business as much?

What have you cut in order to save money?

Are you listening to your clients?

Are you aware of new competition?

Is there potential for growth?

Once you have some answers to these questions,  planning takes over to eliminate the weaknesses, and build on the strengths. Yes, it is work, and yes there will be a lag between actions and results, but with the proper planning, guidance and sales support you will be back on track. Don’t lose sight of something as critical to your business as sales. Know where they are, where they will be, and where they have been at all times.

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Filed under Customer Service, Jeff Bowman, Managing, Sales, Training and Development

B2B Sales Specialist – The Hunter

By Jeff Bowman

The face of sales has certainly changed in response to the emergence of online marketing and social media growth.

Sales people today need to be somewhat tech savvy, and knowledgeable about current trends, changing as quickly as they are. In the B2B world, with all the emphasis on customers finding you, and elaborate tracking systems to analyze who views what page and for how long, it is sometimes difficult to determine what the role of a salesperson should be.

The basic competencies required to be a professional salesperson have remained relatively consistent over the last 20 years.  Listening skills, attitude, trustworthiness, personable, and the ability to develop relationships.

I don’t care how much people think sales has changed, when it comes down to the negotiating and the relationship aspect of B2B sales, a strong salesperson is still a company’s best asset. Sure, there are some incredible tools available to deliver the message to your target audience, even in the seemingly bottomless World Wide Web. The fact remains, that the daily business transactions of most small to large B2B businesses are still conducted at arm’s length through some degree of human interaction. This is where the Hunter becomes critical to the success of business.

I have never encountered a salesperson or team that has not found some aspect of the sales process to be problematic. Therein lies the rub! The Hunter enjoys the chase, and thrives on solving problems and closing deals.

A dedicated Hunter knows how to find potential business, and understands the prospect of someone else bagging the game. Following the trail of B2B business can take weeks or months.

Online marketing, has and will continue to influence sales,  however a good Hunter will always and should always be in demand for companies seeking to do business with other companies. They are your most valuable and cost-effective resource.  Sales has never been a wait and see reactive type of profession.

The proactive, knowledgeable Hunter will always procure more B2B business through their ability to establish a trusting relationship, which in turn secures continual revenue generating transactions for years to come from that client.

If your company doesn’t have a Hunter is the competition getting the lion’s share of the spoils?

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Filed under B2B, Jeff Bowman, Managing, Media, Online marketing, Sales, Social Networking