Building a business is tough work—after all, sales don’t just occur by luck, no matter who your early contacts and customers may be. To grow into a brand that is reputable and successful, several factors must come together. We’ve previously discussed how vital it is to establish strong relationships with all of your clients, and to maintain them for the long term. Additionally, it’s important to have in place a solid sales process for all employees to utilize and follow.
If you’re just starting out, you’ll come to know that a sales process simply refers to the set of steps you take to transition a new prospect into a closed customer. The framework may look a little different from firm to firm, but typically includes: sourcing new prospects, connecting with them, researching, presenting, and closing. Along with these steps, we recommend considering these significant factors that can make a huge impact upon the growth and future of your business.
Recognize the Value of Brand Standards
Just as the sales process consists of those necessary concrete steps to progress with clients, brand standards are those concrete items that will convey for customers who you are as a company. Specifically, brand standards help establish and preserve your brand’s identity, and consist of those components that clients see on a regular basis: colors, logos, typeface, messaging, photography, and other graphic elements. Collectively, these items will allow customers to come to understand your business, and they will come to expect to see them in every interaction, from brochures to emails to presentations.
Brand recognition is a common goal for those businesses who want to stand the test of time and make a mark in the industry, and visual elements are essential in achieving this. Standards are essential in creating cohesion and representing a unified message. Without having brand standards established early on, businesses run the risk of coming off as unfocused and scattered—a red flag for any new prospects considering working with them. Just as importantly, standards uphold for employees your brand’s mission, integrity, and philosophy. As your business grows, brand standards will help welcome and guide new employees into the fold, leading to a strengthened company overall. All of this serves to help your brand take on new challenges and clients.
Implement an Easy Way to Track Your Pipeline
A big challenge with growing a business is managing the information of multiple clients. To simplify the process and ensure that you’re keeping tabs on every detail, it’s imperative to utilize some sort of data management system. If your business is just starting out and isn’t very large yet, spreadsheets may be enough to help keep all of your information sorted. For a more established business with an expansive client list, a digital CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system can be a lifesaver in helping you maintain an awareness of where everyone is in the sales process. Many CRM software options allow for very tailored and detailed tracking of individual clients, and help you compare data across your client list.
No matter which method you decide to go with, tracking your pipeline is a must for moving toward the goals you’ve established with clients. Effective organization means that you can easily see where attention is needed and then allocate the necessary resources. You can more effectively establish and evaluate timelines, make adjustments when needed, and give customers reliable and regular updates. Ultimately, businesses with systems in place experience increased efficiency and are better prepared to scale up when the time comes.
Have Metrics in Place to Measure Success
We all know that a simple indicator of success is achieving sales. But beyond that, how do you measure the success of your business? Do you know where you stand among competitors? Is there a demographic that you believe you can better serve or a niche market you’re interested in taking on? Do you have the data to determine realistic goals for the coming year? Metrics give you the means to see where your business has been and help you predict where it’s going. Additionally, you can identify any gaps that need to be addressed and
With appropriate metrics established you will be able to evaluate such characteristics like how long customers typically remain within certain stages of the sales process, or how many customers you have coming into and going out of stages at particular times. Metrics can also help you recognize the “seasons” of your business, and help you evaluate if those align with what is typical within the industry. This can help you develop strategies and implement new initiatives to perhaps get ahead of the game when competitors are idle.
One Last Note
It’s important to recognize that the “closing” step of the sales process shouldn’t signify any finality or end of a client relationship. Conversely, it’s simply one concluded chapter in your business relationship, and the opportunity to create new campaign goals for further success. This follows our philosophy that client relationships should be maintained and nurtured. The attention to all of your business partnerships will foster customer loyalty and ultimately lead to positive brand reputation—a win for any firm.
Moving into the New Year with a Solid Growth Plan
As we close out 2017 and enter the new year, it’s a great time to evaluate business goals and come up with a plan to boost business growth. If you’re ready to take the steps to increase your brand’s visibility through social media channels, create new brand standards, revamp your firm’s PR campaign, or more, we are here to help. Our expertise ranges across several industries and we’re well-prepared to support your efforts in 2018. Please contact us today to learn more about our services.