Two Essential Elements Needed to Expand Your Business
Unless you’re a business leader who’s satisfied with the size of your business, you want it to grow. That means increasing your current offerings to existing and new customers or developing new offerings. The most challenging of these scenarios, of course, is pursuing new customers with new offerings. No matter which direction you wish to go as a business leader in adding to your top line, you’re going to need two essential elements to get the job done: people and processes.
Get the Right People
Good business leaders realize that as their companies grow, they become more removed from things like hiring talent. You have to delegate that authority. Yet talent is so fundamental to business success that each new hire has a direct impact and you need to have a system in place to insure you get the right people. There are many great aptitude assessments out there that can help. A banking industry friend confided that he once made a hire on gut feeling alone and it was such a costly disappointment that he never made that same mistake again. Also, in addition to other questions in your job interviews, assess candidates for how they would fit into your business culture. Great talent that can’t integrate into the team is probably worse than if the rest of your team continues to work short-handed.
Get The Right Training
Talent without training is like an unguided missile. It’s exciting to watch, but you don’t know where it’s going. Many companies have programs for leadership development, compliance training, and technical training. What continually surprises me is that many companies don’t have sales training for their business development groups. Maybe they recommend sales books (there are thousands available), but selling involves skills and skills get better with instruction. It’s been said many times that no one learned to play golf by reading a book. I love golf even though I don’t have a natural talent for it. I’ve never been so average at doing something and yet enjoying every moment of it. But I’m getting better every game because I take lessons now and then and practice, practice, practice. Business leaders who invest in good training programs for their salespeople get better results.
Get the Right Solutions
Okay, you want to grow your business and you get inspiration for a new solution. You and your engineering staff come up with a great product design, name, and even a logo. All that’s needed are customers. So you tell your sales staff to go out and sell. And not much happens. So you fire the sales staff and send out new salespeople. And not much happens. Your instinct is to blame customers who don’t appreciate your brilliant product. You’d be half right in that they don’t appreciate it. The reality is that value is in the eyes of the customers, not in the eyes of your designers. Next time, try starting with customer needs and desires when designing new offerings. Give your salespeople something great to sell.
Get the Right Messages Out
You can have a talented and trained workforce and great solutions, but if you can’t get the right messages out to your customers it’s all for naught. It’s amazing how a few, well-constructed phrases can make all the difference. Are your salespeople giving your customers the right amount of information in a way that’s easy for them to understand? Are the claims in your messages of value to your customers? Are your key messages unique to you so your customers can see how much better your offerings are compared to your competitors? If you can’t answer ‘yes’ to all three questions, challenge your sales and marketing people to work together until you can. Then watch the orders tick up.