My daughter, Isabelle Sacks, wants to do an experiment to see how long it takes the search engines to index her name. So we are writing a short post with her name, Isabelle Sacks, as a keyword. We will test it by checking the search engines over the next few days to see how long it takes before her name appears in a search.
I’ve been getting up to date on the latest research and information on sales effectiveness in organisations and the stats are remarkable. A recent study by Ernst & Young of medium size businesses ($25m-$1b) in the U.S. and Australia indicated that 72% said their 6 month revenue forecast was out by more than 30%, and that another 14% didn’t even know how reliable their forecast was. 78% said they had no or only rudimentary sales processes, and in many cases those processes are developed in isolation from understanding the typical buyer’s .
I’m a strong believer in CRM applications and their ability to help manage leads and opportunity pipelines (as well as the whole customer lifecycle), but the reality is that a whole lot of organisations could benefit from some basic work around optimising revenue generation and developing their sales process before trying to whack in a CRM system. Simple questions like:
- What problems does your product or service solve for a potential customer?
- What is the profile of those types of customers?
- What are your conversion rates at each stage in the sales cycle?
- Based on conversion rates, how many leads need to enter the top of your sales funnel to hit your revenue targets?
- How are leads nutured so that when a sales rep calls on them, the prospect is receptive? (Or, how do you help them become aware that they have a problem that you can solve?)
are only the tip of the iceberg in improving your organisation’s sales effectiveness. The stats also show that organisations that have done the work, with mature sales processes average more than 4x better conversion ratios than those that haven’t. At any gross margin, there is huge potential for massive profit improvement, even in ‘hard times.’
Inika is a manufacturer of mineral cosmetics, made ‘of’ Australia, making its mark in a highly competitive sector. Being entirely mineral based they are vegan products and fantastic for sensitive skin. Miranda Bond, the founder and CEO, is an energetic woman and totally passionate about her products.
I have been advising Inika on a range of business issues. As a small, fast growing company they have experienced most of the growing pains that I’ve seen before. For one, they were lacking systems and processes. Over the past few months they have replaced their accounting system, and after some false starts, are now up to date and can see the score at any time. This is making a huge difference in their ability to see how things are going and to plan for the future. Next up will be to implement a proper CRM system so they can more accurately track the opportunities to get into new salons, pharmacies and other outlets for their products. At the same time, I advised them to develop detailed role responsibilities for every position in the business and procedures for the key operating activities. In just a few short months, this has made a world of difference in each person’s effectiveness, to the point where the existing staff should be able to support another doubling in size next year.
Second, was people. Getting the right people in the right roles has also had some false starts, but now the team is really starting to fire. Having clear definitions of their roles have allowed them to focus on their jobs and reduced wasted time, and multiple people being involved in processes where only one was required.
Third, is execution focus. With the main operational areas now under control, Miranda and her team can now focus on executing the future business plans, such as expanding overseas distribution channels and developing innnovative marketing strategies.
Inika has fantastic products (or so I’ve been told by the females in my life that have tried them), and now the company can begin to capitalise on that knowing that the organisation can support another round of massive growth.
I’ve received a whole bunch of emails from friends on the other side of the world, concerned about the fires around Melbourne and whether I’m OK. (If you haven’t seen any news for a few days check it out here in a video from The Age, a Melbourne daily.)
Some of them I haven’t heard from in over a year and most of them have re-connected through Facebook or LinkedIn. It’s strange how tragedy makes people reach out and pull together and I wonder what could be done to get people to do the same in pursuit of a positive goal instead of one of rescue?
I’ve been speaking with Andrew Vincent lately, the talented man who produced the television series Your Business Success. It’s a series of interviews between experienced and less experienced entrepreneurs and is full of both inspirational stories as well as fantastic tips on improving your own businesses, from strategy and finance to marketing and customer service. The show featured some of Australia’s best known entrpreneurs from a variety of industries.
And speaking of successful entrepreneurs, I was reading Naomi Simson’s blog today – check it out! She’s a fellow EO member and the founder and “Chief Experience Officer” at Red Balloon, a successful online gift retailer. It’s full of good advice, was an inspiration to read and got me fired up to start blogging on a regular basis about all the fascinating people I have been meeting and the exciting things I have been learning.