If you are a small enterprise or business, fourth quarter is especially too late to clean up your sales shortfalls from Q1-3.
You “should be” looking ahead, through your business windshield, at how you will implement your 2015 customer acquisition (aka “sales”) strategy. Instead, you are looking backward at your 2014 YTD books, wondering why you are playing revenue catch-up once again.
The smaller the enterprise or business, the greater the impact of your sales shortfalls. It’s a function of your critical mass.
What are your strategies, moving forward? I’ve heard more than a few CEOs tell me that “things will be different in the New Year.” Companies allegedly will release budgets. Projects put on hold will move forward.
There’s no guarantee that your customers will give you the business once things loosen up. Even though you may have submitted RFQs or RFPs. Even though buyers told you that you are in line to be awarded a contract.
Business isn’t conducted in a vacuum. The conditions of business engagement have changed sometime between when those budgets were frozen or projects were stalled – and now.
Your customers’ businesses kept moving forward. Has yours been inactive, waiting for something that may not ever occur?
Ask yourself these 5 questions as you close out Q3 and move into Q4. In fact, consider asking yourself these 5 questions every quarter, instead of annually.
- How have you kept up communications with your current and prospective customers while they placed your entire company “on hold”?
- What is the quality of your communications, that social part of your business? How, what and when you communicate can mean the difference between shortfall and windfall during the following business year.
- Are you leaving revenue generation completely in the hands of a contracted sales force? Far too many of you eschew the importance of your taking a primary selling role for your company. There is nothing more compelling than you, the CEO, making direct contact with decision makers at key accounts, for starters.
- How much does your contracted sales force like to sell…. for you? These sellers like to earn commission. If your revenue stream is going south, their attention will be turned to more lucrative opportunities from other more well-positioned employers. Where does that leave your company, except behind the same 8-ball as last year.
- Are contracted sellers providing optimum value in their communications with your customers? Contracted sellers are hired guns. They like to sell, any way they can. That includes targeting low hanging fruit. However, they may be lousy at communication, other than “touching base” with customers once a quarter to see “how things are going.” There’s no value in that tack.
Sales, and revenue generation, are the lifeblood of any organization. So are sales shortfalls. If sales shortfalls are the norm in your company, it’s high time to head up the sales initiative by clearly articulating the targets for your sales people.
Why would you consider leaving the fate of your company in anyone else’s hands but yours?
Babette Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC is a catalyst for small to midsized businesses transitioning forward, startups in search of growth strategies and professionals who want to develop cross-functional, collaborative core competencies for their next career move. Visit her Free Resources page for tools and tips to drive revenue.