So much time is spent strategizing, planning and wringing our hands, hoping to impact our company’s growth.
We allow the daily whirlwind to distract us with its importance due to its urgency. Our siloed focus on the minutia of HR, IT, OPS, Finance… you name it, allows us to take our eyes, hands and heart off the ONE thing that makes ALL the difference, Time spent on sales.
One important measure of our ability to grow our enterprises is simply counting the hours we and our team are actively engaged in sales. Whether it is cold calling prospects, presenting products or bids, closing sales or seeking referrals, nothing much matters if sales don’t occur.
I know… I know… delivery on the promises made by the sales force, compliance with regulations, addressing pressing legal issues, seeking capital for growth are examples of those things that can, if unattended, sink any company ship. What I’m addressing is simply a measure of how much effort, as a percentage of total labor hours, are being applied to profitable topline revenue.
There are some good rules of thumb for start-ups as well as established businesses. For start-ups (Those of us that are 2 years or younger) we should be devoting at least 80% of our day to sales. For established enterprises (7 years or more) at least 30% of total labor resources should be devoted to sales. If you’re in-between these two definitions, graph the percentage and draw a line between 80% & 30%.
The rationale for this emphasis does not require an advanced degree to understand. If you do not have reliable, influenceable, predictable, profitable revenue flowing into your company, in very short order, all the other issues you’re dealing with simply won’t matter.
Revenue covers a multitude of management sins. When sales are occurring, good things happen. Vendors get paid, doors stay open, and checks get written.
Sales are the core of a competitive advantage. There are many companies with great products that fail. What differentiates the leaders in any market from the rest of the pack is the strength of their marketing and sales.
Using the percentages provided above is a simple way to measure the strength of your company in the market you’re competing in. It is so easy to excuse ourselves from the immediacy of sales to attend to the immediacy of just about anything else. Don’t fall into that trap. Again, nothing else will matter if revenue is not flowing through the door.
Tom Watson, the founder of IBM, correctly stated “Nothing happens until somebody sells something.” Sales must be the monolithic focus of your company EVERY SINGLE DAY. Ignore that wisdom at your own peril and the peril of those that have tied their futures to your ship.
Want to grow your company? Focus on sales. Want to expand your product line? Focus on sales. Want to dominate your market and not be dominated by your competition? Focus on sales.
These is NO other obsession in your company that will have a more direct impact on the immediate and the sustained future success of your company than sales.
If you need help developing an actionable sales strategy, that’s what the UVU Business Resource Center is all about… plus free services to address the other stuff. We can be reached for an appointment at 801-863-2720. We’re happy to schedule the appointment around your busy sales schedule.
Written by Winthrop Jeanfreau, UVU Director of Economic Development, SBDC Director, and Business Resource Center Director.