Bill is a VP of sales for a manufacturing firm. His company is facing new competition. Customers are demanding aggressive price cuts, which are costing them key accounts. They were able to reduce some losses by implementing a plan. However, business is still below the previous year. His job is in danger.
June is the EVP of Operations at a retail company. She must increase sales in the same store. Two strategies were used by her: aggressive pricing and customer service renewals. The results have not improved over the past few months. Rumors suggested that leadership needs to change.
These types of situations are common in business every day. According to change masters, 75% of managers’ efforts to adapt to challenging conditions to fail. Why? Because they are focused on the mechanics of change: product, price, and processes. They neglect or forget the people.
One hundred-year-old business to business services company needed to increase sales to its existing customers. To compete with a global competitor, they needed to increase their sales. To help them, they hired an outside partner. They set out to gain 15% after identifying the problem and reviewing the situation. Their results rose by 75% after they implemented their plan in the second quarter.
The company did three things that were quite different from the previous two. They also did not adjust the price of products, increased product availability, and simplified a few work processes.
They kept their teams updated about the challenge and included them in the planning process. The top management participated in the strategic discussions, but so did employees and departments. Everyone was able to participate in brainstorming sessions, confidential surveys, and planning meetings to discuss their concerns and give their feedback. In a series of training sessions, everyone was made aware of the final plan and steps. Each manager and employee created their own growth goals that related to the company incentive. To ensure everyone was aware of the daily results, tracking tools were developed. This included all results from the local office, at all locations, and for overall company results.
An upgraded service and sales training program was put into place. Field managers were trained by the trainer and responsible for holding weekly training meetings with their team members. The tracking metrics were established. The sessions were held during the district leaders’ visits. Based on their findings, they gave feedback to the leaders about the quality of the training presentations and coached them accordingly.
A coaching program with a high level of intensity was implemented. Everyone is busy with many priorities and possible distractions. Higher performance was essential to reach or surpass their goals. It is vital to have a sense of urgency every day. Managers were taught how to coach their team in a formal setting every week, as well as how to coach informally daily. To ensure that their teams succeed, managers were provided with various coaching tools. The results were exceptional, as we have already stated.
There is no sales strategy that is foolproof. There are some basic strategies that work in every setting and are well-proven. With some support and guidance, any manager can achieve these results. Leaders and managers who are focused on the needs of their employees, as well as the operational aspects of the business, often discover a recipe that beats the competition.