The company had fallen into a common trap. They got complacent about business development while they were doing well and gaining business momentum – until they weren’t. When they lost 30 percent of their revenue overnight from a single client dropping out, they were scrambling. They called me to help with a business development plan – and as usual, we were going to be working from behind the 8-ball.
As a sales coach in Vancouver, I thrive on the challenge of helping companies turn things around fast. Still, for this particular challenge, it would have been nice to have just a little more runway than “we need 30 percent more revenue by next month or we’re going to need to start laying people off in the New Year” (No pressure, really).
Business momentum is essential
Like I said, it’s a common trap. Even companies with a good sales strategy on paper can focus on serving their existing clients when their sales pipeline looks good, and slack off on the business development side.
The challenge is to build momentum for the sales pipeline and keep that momentum going. Even a few hours a day, a few times a week of taking concrete steps can help the bottom line stay secure – and it usually pays dividends in terms of employee morale. After all, a CEO may have a very different view of job security than a front-rank worker who is often first to see the writing on the wall. People who do good things for their company feel good – and workers who feel good, do good work.
For this particular company, I coached their team in how to do sales cold-calling (Not everyone’s favorite thing to do, but for many business models, it’s still very viable). This concrete step, followed by a plan to keep up the cold calling for several hours a day, a few days a week, scheduled into their calendar, paid some nice dividends. Not only was the company soon on track to recovering their lost revenue; they understood how this effort, adding up over weeks and months, would help them long term. From that first cold-calling training session, I could see that employees were energized and excited about their company — and soon we had forward business momentum again.
Whether it’s cold calling or other methods in the sales tactics toolbox, these kinds of “must-do” activities are the building blocks of building business momentum. They crowd out the impulsive “to-do” items like answering email that could be done later, helping the team understand their real priorities. Take a look at our sales training workshops and see how we can help you get focused on what matters.
QUESTION. What is your business’ must-do activity that is helping keep your business on track for success in 2014? Are there activities you think your company must do but isn’t doing? Leave a comment!