Category Archives: Business strategy

The Difference between Sales Process & Sales Tactics

SalesProcessMany people don’t understand the distinctions between strategy, process and tactics.

A strategy is an overall plan to achieve specific, generally long-term, goals. It’s an approach, a broad, general roadmap, a way to go about doing business.  A strategy defines how an organization intends to get from where it is now to where it wants to be in the future, perhaps three to five years out.  Pursuing Whales to grow revenue is a strategy.  Going global is a strategy. Penetrating a specific industry is a strategy. Increasing visibility to raise awareness about a product or service is a strategy. A strategy may include time frames but typically they are ‘end point’ dates.

A sales process is repeatable plan.  It outlines milestones involved in bringing on new clients, moving the prospects from “Stranger” to “Raving Fan”, for example.  It defines what is needed along the way to move from one point to the next. A sales process will also help you determine how likely you are to close a particular deal. It is in some regards, independent of the people who implement it.  Obviously people are involved in the process but if it is laid out well, it mitigates the reliance on a Rock Star salesperson.  A primary principle of  Whale Hunting: Land Big Deals, Transform Your Company states, “Success is 90% process and 10% magic”.  Once proven, people can be taught to implement the sales process.

The steps in a sample sales process might be as follows:

  1. Qualify
  2. 1st meeting
  3. Proof
  4. 2nd meeting
  5. Proposal
  6. Close
  7. Intake

Sales tactics, on the other hand are day-to-day activities individual team members execute in service of the strategy that has been laid out.  Tactics outline what will be done.  They are measurable and can be assigned to specific individuals. They are observable and trackable.  A tactical plan (made up of a series of tactics) may cover a time frame of six to 18 months.

Let’s say a company decides to implement pursuing large firms as a strategy to achieve aggressive revenue growth targets.  The company will likely have already set specific revenue targets and due dates.  Here are some sample tactics for the various roles in the firm

  • CEO: Schedule an in-house workshop to introduce Whale Hunting to the entire company
  • Sales Specialist/Assistant: Spend an hour a day researching and compiling dossiers on selected Whales
  • Sales Manager: Recommend three whales to approach to CEO
  • Salesperson: Contact a key decision maker at the prospective whale to schedule an initial meeting within 5 days of receiving a completed dossier
  • Subject Matter Expert: Make a list of Good-to-Great questions for an upcoming meeting with a prospective whale

Defining and communicating a strategy throughout an organization helps align the staff and focus its attention on what’s important. Tactics help people find their place in and get engaged with the strategy. Tactics give staff personal accountability, ‘skin in the game’, that can be measured and rewarded.

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5 Keys for Maximizing the ROI on Your Professional Development

If you’re like me, you love to learn. I am always looking for ways to be more of the  best version of me and ways to improve the operation of my business.

The risk that you run with that kind of passion is that you’re consumed with learning, but weak on implementing and it’s implementing that allows you to monetize your investment and create a strong ROI.

Here are 5 things to keep in mind as you strive to improve yourself and your business:

1. Set aside time to integrate what you learned immediately.
When you attend a conference or a class, schedule some ‘down time’ the next day so you can review your notes and plan what you’ll do with your new knowledge.

2. Avoid taking too many classes in close proximity to each other.
It’s likely to take you weeks or months to fully integrate your new strategies into your routine.  Strive to allow sufficient time to assimilate your new knowledge and turn it into improved strategies and actions before piling on more knowledge.

3.  Practice and share your new ‘stuff’ immediately.
Many times people feel tentative when they start implementing something new. That tentativeness is played out by not sharing what you’ve learned with your community.

The longer you wait, the less likely you’ll be to ever implement. So give yourself permission to be a newbie. Try new things. Offer a small group of clients special ‘early adopter’ pricing for your new approach.

4. Make connections.
If you’re attending a live event (virtual or face-to-face), strive to connect with other people who serve your market but offer something to it that you don’t. These are great prospects for building referral relationships or strategic alliances. They will speak the same language as you (having just completed the same learning you did) and hopefully, will be equally motivated to monetize their investment.

5. Get support.
Making changes in your routine is often a challenge especially when you’re trying something new. As you make investment decisions, lean towards programs that offer some ‘post-learning’ coaching or Q&A support. As you implement, you’ll probably come up with questions that you didn’t have as you were learning the material. Follow up support can be invaluable and help you implement more efficiently.

Ongoing training and development is a necessary investment in your future success. You must tackle it wisely however in order to maximize your return. These tips will help you do just that!

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7 Factors for More Effective Marketing and Better Business Growth

I’ve been working with several private clients on building their businesses more effectively.

One of the things they applaud is how must more productive their activities have become. They cite things like having a plan, being held accountable for implementing that plan and improving the quality of their marketing message as critical components of their success.

These aren’t rocket science concepts, yet in the day-to-day chaos that sometimes consumes them, plans and good intentions fly out the window.

What is it that has some business owners increase their businesses while other struggle?

I’ve uncovered 7 critical components.

1. Establish short-term and long-term goals
I wrote about the value of goal setting a few weeks ago (Read the article). Goals for both time frames are critical. Goals give you something to work toward and also make the path to get on more clear.

2. Assess
How prepared are you to do the work required to get to your end goal? Do you have what you need or do you need to learn something, hire a consultant, reorganize work duties? Maybe you have to shift your thinking, expand your sense of possibility. Adopt a more empowering belief system that says “I can do that!”

3. Identify stumbling blocks
There are reasons you haven’t yet reached your goal. The assessment phase may have brought to light tools and resources you need but don’t have.  If you keep saying, “If only I had “x then I could market my company better”, it’s time to get off the dime and take care of that. It’s costing you money!

4. Lay out your roadmap
Once you know where you’re going and what you need to get there, you can start laying out the steps it will take and the milestones you’ll  have to reach along the way. Knowing the intermediate steps will make the realization of your goal more feasible, certain even.

5. Be proactive
All the best laid plans will produce naught if you don’t get off your duff and do something different. You can’t expect to continue with your old, comfortable habits and expect that magically they’ll turn into more clients and more profits.

When people hear about how painfully shy I was as a child, they always ask ‘What did you do to get over that?’ First came the realization that I could not accomplish what was in my heart and mind being a wallflower. Then came decisions to put myself in front of people, speaking to groups (which petrified me at the time) and to continue doing that until it became a now favorite activity.

6. Track your progress
This is an important step that most people don’t bother with. They may make to-do lists and cross things off, but it’s hard to track your productivity over time by just reviewing crossed off lists. You can’t see trends of things you’re doing well and things you’re consistently avoiding. Plus tracking your activity makes you WAY more conscious of and accountable for what you’re getting done.

7. Get support and master your psychology
No matter how driven you are, having someone or some ones in your corner, watching your back, giving you honest feedback, encouraging you when you’re down, brainstorming with you and opening your eyes to new possibilities while pushing you to think bigger, will go a long way to you reaching new horizons, more clients, happier clients and more money in the bank.

Implement these 7 factors and watch your business grow!

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How to Brand Your Expertise for Maximum Profit or Pay

I’ve been helping many of my clients lately figure out how to position themselves so they stand out in their marketplace or workplace like the true expert they are.

It can be quite a challenge, particularly when there are a lot of people who know much of what you know and do basically what you do.

The key to success though is having the right people recognize that YOU are the undisputed expert. The ‘right’ people include your boss, your prospects, your colleagues, your clients and your referral partners.

When any of those people see your true brilliance, your value goes up dramatically.

Here are some simple steps you can take to make yourself stand out, get seen and get recognized as an expert.

1. Know your audience
Resist the urge to try to be everything to everybody. Pick the people or groups you’re best suited to serve and focus on getting to know everything you can about them. Be particularly focused on the problems they encounter on a regular basis.

2. Speak their language
When you’re an expert, it’s easy to default to using jargon, technical or quasi-technical terms that perfectly capture the nuance of the issue for you and other ‘geeks’ like you, but may not resonate with the people you’re trying to help. Talk to them with words they use.

3. Know your strengths
It’s tempting to believe that you are multifaceted and brilliant in every dimension. You might even be brilliant in many dimensions, but being a jack- or jill-of-all trades will minimize the sense that you are an expert and lower the perceived value of your worth. Pick a few things you’re masterful at that you enjoy doing and focus on those.

4. Articulate your process
Whether you know it or not, you have a particular approach to solving problems. When you can explain it in simple terms, you’ll seem like more of an expert than people who don’t have their process spelled out and look like they’re ‘winging it’.

5. Understand their goals
When I attended coach training school over 15 years ago (how can that be?!?!), our coach and trainer would often say “People are always on their way someplace”. What he meant was that most people are working on some goal, whether it’s a short-term to-do, an errand, a duty of some sort, a project or a much longer-term aspiration.  Unless they’re a couch potato, they’re trying to get somewhere even if their ‘where’ isn’t entirely clear to them.
We show up like some intrusion into their daily life and the things that fill it. When you help them see where ‘where’ is and position yourself as a key ingredient to getting there, you’ve just raised your value dramatically.

When you implement these 5 keys, you’ll stand out as an expert eligible and worthy of higher fees and bigger paychecks.

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5 Critical Concepts for Business Growth & Profitability

People often go in business for themselves because they have a special knack or interest in something. They soon realize however, that that knack is not the only thing they need to be a success.

There are many internal factors that influence how fast or how big a company will grow. If the owner doesn’t acknowledge and attend to those critical factors, they are setting their burgeoning enterprise up for potential failure or enduring mediocrity

The most critical factors often aren’t always obvious but I’m ready to share them with you right now to help you navigate the perils and enjoy the benefits of business ownership.

Here are 5 simple, yet critical concepts you MUST master if you are to experience the growth and profitability you desire.

1. Know your strengths and deficits – intimately
When you’re crystal clear about your skills, you can leverage them to move mountains. You can also use them to counterbalance your weaknesses. When you’re working in your blind spots, you’ll struggle to accomplish goals. You’ll try to do things you shouldn’t and fail to delegate profitably.

2. Work within your value system
The whole point of being in business for yourself is to more closely control your own destiny. Without a thorough assessment of what’s important to you, day-to-day and for the long haul, you rob yourself of bringing in experiences that will create the fulfillment you need. Once they’re clearly articulated, your chance for fulfillment increases dramatically.

3. Understand the marketspace you operate in
When you target the highest possible level of clientele for your product or service, your fees have room to expand. When you clearly distinguish yourself from the competition, people will seek YOU out.  If you go to market blindly, you run the risk of stepping into a crowded space, missing out on opportunities to leverage your company’s unique advantages and not being prepared internally for growth.

4. Have a variety of sources of revenue
You’ve probably heard about the importance of diversifying your investments. Well, your business is one of the most important investments you own.  While you can make a great living selling just one product or service, with more options, you’re likely to improve your revenue stream.  During the recent recession, many businesses had to expand their offerings to appeal to additional markets. Even as the economy recovers, having various offers for various kinds of customers can help maintain your revenue stream. Just remember to not diversify to far afield. If that happens, you run the risk of spreading yourself too thin and becoming ineffective in your efforts.

5. Utilize your time in the most effective manner possible
It’s tempting to work on that which is easy, comfortable and familiar. Unfortunately, those kinds of activities rarely lead to outstanding results. “Magic occurs outside our comfort zone.” Work in your personal ‘sweet spots’, delegate the rest and focus on the highest profit potential activities possible.

These concepts are critical for your success. Implement them and practice them consistently. They will pave the road to profitability for your business

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