Does your business create and maintain consistent growth? Are you finding it difficult to maintain business growth even though you have set your sales goals?

When creating goals, you want to stretch your team and positively impact your bottom line. How you decide to set those goals will determine the ultimate success. Many organizations use figures from previous periods and then forecast based on what they would like to happen. However, without really delving into insights based on your processes, particularly in sales and customer service departments, your goals will most likely fall flat.

When gathering information from customers regarding the processes that impact business growth, organizations often choose to perform a basic customer survey and then communicate only the raw data using charts and tables.  However, if you have dug deep enough, gathered insights appropriately, and then received feedback from personal interviews, why would you simply write a report and stop there?

Too often gathering insights is done at a surface level and not seen as an important growth tool. Choosing not to include past customers to understand why they are no longer customers is a good example. You cannot fix what you do not know is broken.

Even understanding what is broken does no good if changes are not made.  Sometimes the results are not positive. Choosing to discount the results or discarding them only ensures you will continue to lose business.

Getting to the bottom of an issue will ensure an organization return to a solid growth path. So why choose to minimize or ignore the insights?

Challenge the Norm: Once a decision is made to dig deep into your processes, it is imperative that an agreement is reached up-front as to any boundaries of change, and the willingness to change is communicated internally. If there is a true willingness to implement change, executives are empowered to take the insights received and adjust the business strategy. As we have discussed in previous posts, creating goals and having insights aligned with segments are first steps. Getting early buy-in from your team will also help, as they will see a change and will need to be prepared.

Get the sales team and/or customer service representatives involved early in the process. They have their finger on the pulse of your customers and prospects. However, they are not a substitute for going to the source.

Choosing a third-party to do the research will reduce bias and ensure more candid responses. Plus these organizations will provide assistance on creating good questions to ensure you receive the information you need to  positively impact the decision making process. For example, it is important not to ask questions or give options if they cannot be implemented within your organization.

Dig deep into the information customers are willing to provide. Questions should provide insights on:

  • Competitive benchmarks – who else in your marketplace do you customers seriously consider?
  • Value propositions – when you determine your customers’ consideration sets and decision drivers how do you stack up? Are you clear on your customers’ ideas about your organization’s strengths?
  • Customer perceptions – it is imperative to survey and personally interview existing customers, potential prospects, and companies who chose not to purchase from you. Without this information, you do not have a complete picture of customer perceptions.

After all the insights are reported, you will have information that outlines strengths and competitive advantages to capitalize on quickly, as well as areas of improvement to address.  This information positions your sales team to adjust according to customer perceptions, rather than forecasted numbers. Now you can implement positive change that will improve authentic selling – a sure fire way to put your organization on a growth path!

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