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Tips on Selling

Now is an ideal time to reassess strategies, goals, and staff training.
Now is an ideal time to reassess strategies, goals, and staff training.

Kickstarting sales in a new year

Whether it be a new calendar year or a new financial year, both represent a fresh start for sales teams, writes Sue Barrett, who advises the best ways to capitalise on this time and ensure success in the months to come.

Let’s get straight to the point – things have changed dramatically as a result of COVID-19, with new opportunities and markets emerging, old ways of operating in decline, leaders and staff needing to rethink processes, and customers trying out different ways of buying and engaging with businesses.

With that in mind, here are seven strategies business owners can implement to improve and sustain sales this financial year – and beyond.

Review your sales strategy

If you have a sales strategy in place that was developed more than 18 months ago, it’s time to review it; if you don’t have a sales strategy in place, it’s time to develop one.

This process provides the best starting place to allow leaders and sales teams explore and tackle sales challenges and opportunities, giving clarity on what strategic and tactical moves to make, how to structure sales efforts, and guidance to plan the next steps through the crisis.

Businesses that fail to develop sales strategies and re-think the way they sell and operate are likely to find continued pressure on price and margins, coupled with diminishing sales volumes, decreased competitive advantage and potential obsolescence.

Undertake market segmentation

Are your traditional markets, pre-COVID, still your best option?

Maybe it’s time to explore what other opportunities have emerged with the changes of the past 18 months.

Consider undertaking a sales segmentation questionnaire and workshop to assist in identifying the right segments, sub-segments, and even micro-segments for your business.

By taking a more three-dimensional view of market segments, we can unearth deeper insights that can be used to focus on the most productive areas and eliminate unnecessary effort.

Harness the power of customer service
“Businesses that fail to develop sales strategies and re-think the way they sell and operate are likely to find continued pressure on price and margins, coupled with diminishing sales volumes.”

Your business’ customer service staff can also be its best sales team, given the right training.

There’s an oft-quoted statistic that approximately 65 per vent of a business’ sales come from repeat customers.

Though this percentage varies between industries and according to business size, it is still a significant proportion – and most of those sales are realised by customer service teams, not sales teams.

From experience, when customer service staff are advised on the business’ sales strategy and how to identify opportunities, then both customer satisfaction and sales can improve dramatically.

Assess your staff

Start the new financial year by assessing sales and customer service staff’s strengths and weaknesses so you know which type of training to provide.

Start running regular remote small group training sessions to practise and implement how to communicate, engage with, and sell to customers.

You can do this on its own, or back it up with an online sales curriculum that people can go through at their own pace.

Implement online training

Learning through live webinars, Zoom workshops and online training works. Now content, delivery, and methodology need to follow.

People can’t stay focused on a screen training for a full day, so workshops are best kept to two or three hours depending on the size of the group and how interactive the session needs to be.

Instead of one eight-hour day, split training into segments over a number of days or weeks.

A fragmented program improves learning by breaking information into ‘bite-sized chunks’, with the opportunity for learners to practice in-between sessions.

While at first glance it might appear that a fragmented training program requires more time and effort, online learning means the travel time is zero and there is less disruption to the workday.

Training can also be initiated on short notice to cover urgent topics, which this crisis has taught us is critical!

This is a unique chance to update the overall approach, improve learning outcomes, training efficiency, and overall staff retention and satisfaction around their development opportunities.

Set a challenge

When all staff are clear about the sales strategy, target markets, what you’re selling to whom, and your value proposition, and is equipped with skills, tools and knowledge, set a 28-day group and individual challenge to help embed these new techniques and turn them into productive sales habits.



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Sue Barrett

Contributor • Barrett

Sue Barrett is founder and CEO of innovative and forward-thinking sales advisory and education firm Barrett and online sales education platform Learn more:

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