Everyone wants to run a successful business that is profitable and boasts increasing sales quarter after quarter. The reality is that few businesses can achieve this feat. Between having the right product for your market, knowing your customers, developing and supporting your employees, and generating initial capital, there are hundreds of areas any entrepreneur needs to be focused on to even float, let alone grow.
In an effort to help business owners think outside the box (and even notice key elements they may have overlooked), we reached out to entrepreneurs to ask them for their best tips to drive sales. Not all of these tricks will apply to your trade, but hopefully, you can benefit from some creative input as you juggle your multiple to-dos.
Develop (and Continually Invest in) Your Staff
Sales talent is predominantly innate, but a company that doesn’t develop and keep sales educated, excited and interested is making a mistake ... They need development, too, in skills like conflict resolution, analytical thinking, teamwork and customer relations. When you develop staff, you indirectly let them feel like they have been invested in and that leads to greater commitment and eventually more sales.
Your Website Should Be an Extension of the Sales Team
Some business owners may think that running their own e-commerce store is unnecessary because of their established practices and alternative points of sale. However, there may be one other benefit of creating a website for your business that you may not hear as often: it is excellent for generating leads.
A website is a great way for potential customers to learn everything they want to know about your business, its practices, and its products and/or services. Moreover, giving it a look is certainly more convenient for many than it would be to call a representative. As for attracting leads, good search engine optimization (SEO) practices can be far more effective than cold calls. Instead of fishing for anyone who might be interested in what you have to offer, you can work on making your website the first thing they see when they search for the products and services you provide.
Owning a domain also gives you access to powerful marketing tools that help spread the word. This may sound obvious, but when you promote your website with Google AdWords and ads on social media platforms, you are actually promoting your business. On that note, creating and regularly updating social media accounts can drive up engagement and consistently bring your website into the feeds of strangers.
With the right strategy, and especially with the combined powers of all these features and techniques, a website can generate more leads than the traditional methods. That could mean more opportunities for conversion and, ultimately, more sales than ever for the team.
An Authoritative Blog Increases Sales
Our blog at Atlantic.Net is purely an informational source that addresses topics within our niche. This makes it much easier to define who our readers are. We provide tons of information about web hosting, HIPAA requirements, cybersecurity, the cloud and much more. We have a team of writers who are constantly researching and staying up to date on new trends and relevant information that will be valuable to our audience.
Our blog is our primary content marketing tool and it’s dramatically increased our site traffic since its inception. While it does take time to find great writers that we trust, it certainly pays off in the long run. In addition, we sometimes contribute guest post articles, and allow other writers to contribute on our blog. This allows for cross promotion and can really elevate traffic. Being an authoritative source in our industry has driven our online sales through the roof. People come to us to read about a topic, and then end up purchasing one of our services.
Have a Way of Documenting Inquiries
Are you missing potential sales? Making sure that the organization has a way of documenting inquiries so they don’t go by the [wayside]. I have seen head offices not be aware of how many inquiries get unanswered by the remote offices — sometimes investing in a software that can document and streamline all inquiries is a smart thing to do. Your sales results cannot be as good as your worst and moodiest sales associate. Sometimes potential customers get ignored because someone is too busy or isn’t as motivated because they [already] met that month’s quota ... These are all potential sales lost for the company.
Consider Influencer Marketing
We use influencer marketing as part of our digital marketing strategy for our e-commerce brand. This strategy has helped us increase overall sales and credit card purchases … We engage in influencer marketing in a variety of ways. Instagram is huge for us — we find popular accounts who meet our criteria for selection, and we engage in a conversation to gauge whether it’s a good fit.
We also use a platform called Tomoson, which is tool that helps pair influencers with brands. Often times, we will send one of our products to an influencer for free in exchange for an honest review that is posted to their blog or social media followers. For us, the most important element of an influencer package — aside from cultural fit — is the overall reach of their blog or social media accounts. We measure our return on investment based on the number of impressions we receive, how much referral traffic we get, and — of course — how many sales come as a result of the campaign.
Remember That Post-Sale Matters
Make sure that there is a solid system and effective people set up in place to take over “post-sale.” [Salespeople] are a lot more confident when they are selling to customers they know will be taken care of after they make the sale … Sales isn’t just about what happens during that deal, it's about what happens after. Will these customers be taken care of effectively after this deal is done? Or will they regret their commitment and reflect poorly on the sales initiative as a result of their experience post sale?
Instate a Multi-Step Interview Process
From my experience, the best thing you can do to quickly grow your sales is to make sure you have the right DNA on the sales floor from the beginning. Take time with the hiring process and never rush a hire. At PayJunction we use a multi-step interview process to hire for our sales team. This process consists of an initial screening call, a written assignment, an over-the-phone role play, one interview with the hiring manager and then another less-formal interview with the team they will be working with. The process takes about two weeks from start to finish and it allows us to weed out anyone who isn't passionate about working for our company.
What sales techniques have helped you grow your business? What tips would you add? Join the discussion below!
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in September 2017 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and accuracy.