23 Jul MD must focus on sales.
Most businesses have reached the point of diminishing returns from their costs focus. Their future success must come from a renewed focus on sales, which must be driven out by the MD. What he / she get hot and bothered about is what the business gets focused on. Sales must be the growth engine for the next phase of the business cycle.
Selling is not necessarily an art. Success comes from a deliberate structured approach which is consistently delivered. You need good analytics from your sales area in order to make more definite decision re the tactics that will give the greatest return for your team’s effort. You need to understand everything from the effectiveness of sales campaigns to opportunity analysis to performance reviews. MDs need to champion this “sales as a science” approach by demanding KPIs and then holding their team members accountable for delivering on them.
They need to monitor trends such as demographic shifts, regulations, and new technologies. Actively track performance and shift budgets to support promising trends while killing off projects that aren’t going anywhere. Where is your evolving “sweet-spot”? Knowing this will facilitate the business to concentrate its resources there and by definition starve off lines / niches with less potential.
Don’t be afraid to change your team and tactics. Just because they worked in the past is no guarantee that they will do so into the future. You can cut deadwood and build new performers at the same time. Start with removing waste and too much form filling from the sales reps, they need to double their time in front of potential customers. Ensure that the other functions support this sales drive.
Sales organizations can’t drive growth on their own: strategy needs to provide insights into future trends; marketing needs to provide reliable intelligence to identify where to compete; IT needs to develop technology to support remote customer interactions; customer service needs to translate customer interactions into cross- or up-sell opportunities. The MD is the only one capable of pushing all these buttons in an organised way.
Make sure that sales have a seat at the table when you’re discussing product strategy, and share sales successes and insights throughout the company.
The MD will always have to make decisions about where to invest his/her time to build the company. But if they are serious about growth, they need to get serious about sales.
Blaise Brosnan ©