Larry Kaul, Founder and CEO, Kaul Sales Partners
Seeking tactical solutions to strategic problems is a common pitfall.
Business leaders have a lot of plates to keep spinning. When revenue is flatlining or not growing at your desired pace, it’s natural to default to the quick fixes of lead generation services, CRM tools or hiring sales hunters.
Hit Pause on “Doing”
But you and I both know the value of hitting “pause,” huddling with your key people and digging deeper into your business. Temporarily freed of the burden to put out daily fires, you see your challenges with fresh eyes and find foundational issues that were hiding in plain sight!
The clamor for new business is common. An understanding of which business you should seek, and why, is rarer. We often find companies that feel bound to the revenue generated by a major client, but aren’t viewing the relationship in context of profitability.
What if the client sucks major resources out of the organization, disrupting the company? In one instance, we found that the company’s rainmaker had no time to network — something she was really good at — because her energies were always diverted to an unprofitable account.
What was missing? An understanding of what a good client really looks like for them — beyond just hustling to sign somebody up.
Without a business strategy anchoring client acquisition, you’re likely to drift into reflexive activity.
Is this your problem? Maybe, maybe not. But there’s a good way to find out: Take a look at what an average new client is worth to you (on an annual basis) in the context of things like changes in your gross margins and sales ROI. Some businesses know their profit per client is an issue, but never stop to think about it in terms of sales.
We see variations of this song all of the time: Clients eager to jump into lead generation, but who go blank when asked about the most profitable industry niche for their services. Or the maker of a truly innovative solution whose low sales target every month was driven by a business strategy with serious flaws. “Getting new meetings” won’t fix this kind of stuff. The problems lie deeper.
Not trying to oversimplify here: There are aspects of messaging and execution that also figure largely in your chances for success. But the takeaway is this: You’re likely to confuse symptoms with root causes until you undertake a structured approach that ties together business strategy, account strategy and sales. (Here’s the “sales-y” part of the article: We’ll walk you through this session at no cost.)
As always, I’d love to hear your take on challenges like this. Feel free to drop a comment or get in touch for an interesting conversation!