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Growing the business is your number one job!

Published by CME Manitoba on October 05, 2017

By Gustavo Zentner, CME Sales, Business Growth and Executive Leadership Champion

 

If there is something on which we can all agree, it’s that regardless of your role, title or compensation; total and unequivocal alignment to business growth is a must for every organization. Why is it then that top executives and sales and marketing VPs often find themselves struggling to see this growth, and align employees behind this goal? 

Most organizations are confronted with the challenge of migrating existing (and possibly inadequate) sales techniques, marketing and messaging to more effective strategies and programs that can increase sales and business growth. 

From my recent observations, and working with companies like yours, I‘ve identified three areas in need of an overhaul: technology implementation, social presence and customer intimacy.

 

Technology implementation

On the technology front, by and large salespeople on the ground, agents and reps abroad, and inside sales support staff work on different platforms and compile data that is not conducive to anticipating sales gaps. This disconnect doesn’t provide enough visibility for companies to anticipate purchasing timing and needs. To address this symptom, companies should monitor and follow each of the steps that take place from initial new project discussion with an existing client (or from the initial contact with a prospect) up to the point at which a purchasing decision is made. This process gives everyone involved in gathering and analyzing these steps valuable insights into unnecessary activities, the level of effectiveness in your communication and messaging, and your accuracy in your quotation processes. 

Ideally, this review will empower those involved to streamline the process and identify areas in which your team needs support. It will provide clear directions for others in your organization to give meaningful assistance; from faster engineering and drawing times, to better graphics and images and marketing support, to customer follow up once a proposal is presented. 

 

Social presence

Building a social media presence and becoming meaningful at the time that customers are looking for solutions is arguably the leading factor in today’s complex business environment.

Often, senior level management struggles with this issue and delegate it to the “younger” generation of managers or to the “marketing folks.”  I argue that it is imperative for top executives to engage, embrace and recognize social media for what it really is – the most effective sales and marketing component of any company’s strategy and growth plans. 

Please understand that few tweets on your account and convenient statements on your LinkedIn profile or website will not get you to the level that I’m suggesting. Arguably, the best way forward is to truly engage in discussions with industry experts, practitioners and companies like yours that are well on their way to total online presence and sales activities. Your reward? You’ll likely find more than double your return on investment for a fraction of your current marketing costs and budgeted activities. 

I hope you’re asking yourself “Where do I sign-up? How do I get started?,” my best advice is to go online and search some of these activities and tools for yourself. You’re welcome to contact me directly after you’ve conducted your initial research and I’ll be happy to assist you in drafting your next steps by prioritizing your options and starting point. Through the CME network, I can assist you and facilitate introductions or examples that may accelerate your learning.

 

Customer intimacy

Once you’ve tackled the previous two areas, you’ll be ready to begin discussions related to my final point: customer intimacy. This is where you and your team truly engage with customers to anticipate their purchasing behaviour, their budgeting and purchasing patterns and more importantly, opportunities to supply products and services that they haven’t even invited you to quote.

I view the two previous points – total alignment on technology platforms and social media – as precursors of my final point of consideration: customer intimacy.

How often does your company anticipate your customers’ needs for a specific product or restocking? And how often do you engage in conversations about supplying a product or a service that goes way above their expectation? To truly take a leadership position in customer intimacy, you need to deliver a service that is beyond your competitor’s reach and standards. One that exceeds your customer’s expectation – even when measured against the last transaction you conducted with them. 

I would love to share some quick tips with you on how to transition from your current sales and communications platforms to a more direct and effective outline of activities that can distance you from your competitors. The goal is to position you with the right messaging and customer understanding to secure more business and more meaningful engagement with your customers. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how to implement effective ways to help your team and your company, a good starting point would be to engage with us at CME. Join a live and interactive conversation with experts, practitioners and professionals just like you at the upcoming CME Trade Summit on November 30, 2017. Take a look at the program and sign up today online.

 

About the author

Gustavo Zentner is CME’s Sales, Business Growth and Executive Leadership Champion. For more information about Gustavo, CME’s suite of service offerings under this portfolio, including the Export Executive Council, or if you’re interested in growing your sales and marketing, contact us today!  

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