How to drive sales growth:
Sales growth should increase in an organization’s revenue and profit over time. This case study shows it can be done, even when the situation looks bad. Really bad.
It’s okay to need help.
Don’t give up on your struggling business, without giving it a fighting chance to recover.
You can learn from this story of a 12-year-old, $1.7 million, a privately held organization that was on the brink of disaster.
The company didn’t give up, even though the situation seemed bleak.
The company was in trouble.
The owner/president was putting in 70+ hours a week into a ship that was sinking fast.
And it wasn’t just one issue that was poking holes in the hull of the business.
Let’s take a deeper look into what was going on.
One of the key employees wasn’t able to get along with the rest of the people in the organization.
Due to the constant friction, this person was moved off the Customer service team and into a new sales role – the first for the organization.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t the solution the company was looking for, and things continued to spiral downward, as two excellent team members left because of an increase in conflict.
The bottom line, the company’s sales were stagnant.
Sales growth was less than 5%, in an industry that was averaging 10%-15%.
A few factors were contributing to these unsatisfying numbers.
- The salesperson had no sales experience and failed to populate the CRM.
- No one was tracking sales activity, nor were they paying attention to important metrics that could have provided much-needed guidance for their efforts.
- The compensation method left a lot to be desired, too. Just one salesperson was being paid $100,000 – all from renewal revenue – and no new revenue goals were being set.
It was a sink-or-swim time for this company.
But help was on the way.
1. Outsourcing the right help
The first step in righting the ship was outsourcing a V.P. of Sales to determine where things were going wrong in generating and supporting revenue – in all areas, not just sales.
2. Hiring competent salespeople
One of the issues that needed to be addressed right away was the salesperson who was causing problems.
Once expectations were defined and metrics to gauge competence were in place, it was easy to show that this person wasn’t capable of fulfilling the duties of the role.
Once justification for a performance-based release was in place, the toxic salesperson was let go and two new salespeople were hired.
3. Adjusting compensation
Another necessary change was in the way the salespeople were paid.
A fresh approach was instituted so that incentives for new client acquisition were balanced with the revenue from retention.
A salesperson now had to meet a certain goal for bringing in new clients before they could earn a commission from existing customers.
4. Implementing a sales-growth mindset
With no clear goals and a lack of structure previously, the fresh culture with clear expectations was welcomed by the new-and-improved sales team.
There was now a clear focus on service first, with the addition of growth as a mindset.
The team had established expectations and concrete goals to work toward – all with the necessary metrics to keep them on track from day-to-day and for the long-term.
Weekly follow-up with each salesperson gave them a chance to monitor progress and measure their activities against objectives.
Finally, the CRM was redesigned to be more functional for the sales teams’ activities.
It didn’t take long for the hands-on, customized approach to turn things around for the company.
1. Sales skyrocketed
The sales team got right to work and landed two big clients within the first three months of implementing the new strategy and processes.
And in less than two years, sales more than doubled – to over $3.5 million.
2. Peace amongst employees
One of the most satisfying transformations that happened was in the working relationship between the sales team and the rest of the company.
The clearly-defined sales process was integrated with other departments and everyone understood their roles, ownership, and who was accountable for which actions.
3. Sustainable growth
A year after making the sweeping changes, the outsourced V.P. of Sales was able to step aside and support the hire and onboarding of a full-time V.P. of Sales and Operations.
The moral of this sales growth story
This company was able to come back from near-death with the help of an advisor, who used a proven, systematic approach to bring alignment, growth and consistency to their organization – and put the company on a sustainable trajectory for sales growth.