How small businesses make it to big businesses by staying ahead of the game.
I hear every day that SMEs are eliminating all but essential over heads in order to survive our current recessionary climate. Few shrewd business people would disagree with this principal but I often find myself challenging; what are the necessary expenses? Rent, heating, lighting, staff wages, production costs, these ensure that your business exists but will investing only in these business basics ensure that your business succeeds?
Ask any small business owner what their overwhelming business concerns are and they will tell you that making more sales, getting more clients or increasing their profits are their main needs. Customer loyalty, growing revenue, good staff retention these must surely be considered fundamental to an effective and successful business, and they are all areas that require strong planning, good sales expertise and excellent communications systems.
Great quality sales training is the one service that you can invest in that will bring all these benefits to our businesses and yet so often we hear that training budgets have been slashed in response to difficult financial times. In any business this strategy is risky but in the SME sector this is more dangerous than ever.
After the last recession overwhelming evidence demonstrated that those companies who continued to invest in training and development came out of the slump better placed to grow and out-perform their competitors. They had strong, loyal and highly skilled work forces, who were all working together in a disciplined way.
Naturally the revenue produced by sales is the life blood of a business. Whether you have a sales team who are not exceeding expectations, or in fact no real sales team at all it is essential that those people who are responsible for generating profit to your business are well trained.
Sales is a process, it is a series of steps that a prospective client goes through when evaluating your business. A good sales process is made up of a diverse selection of activities and methods, each of which must be properly executed and the whole sales process must be monitored at all times. A really strong business needs a sales strategy, it needs precise sales activities to support this strategy and it needs these activities to be measured and the results evaluated. It is this type of business practice that will really bring results and which cannot be competently executed by a willing amateur. These business practices are what a competent trainer can impart to your staff and which, with constant mentoring and development, will grow into the most powerful tools in your businessâ€™ arsenal.
Beyond this, staff who receive training from their employers develop far higher levels of commitment to that company. Most national salary surveys show that business employees in both public and private sectors value good training provision above even remuneration when considering whether to remain loyal to an employer. Training makes staff feel valued, it is a great way of recognising and rewarding their success and thereby increasing their levels of motivation. In the SME environment where large salaries and six figures bonuses cannot be considered retaining staff through other methods should be a key consideration.
A well planned and executed sales process can increase conversion rates by up to 30%.
In order that you draw lots of loyal customers to your business their experience when working with you must be a positive one. From the service they receive from your staff to the way that your businessâ€™ systems work. You must not leave their encounter with you to chance. Taking control of the customerâ€™s experience of your business is essential to controlling your eventual profits. This is what good sales training makes possible.
How can I find sales training that really works?
It should always be totally bespoke training, crafted to suit your business, delivered in a way that you are comfortable with. At SOS we will meet with you, on our time, for up to 3 hours, we will talk about your business, itsâ€™ needs and what your management style is. We will work out not only what your team specifically need to know but what is going to be the most appropriate way to teach it to them. Then, taking into account the specifics of the individuals who will be learning as well as the goals of the business we will write tailor made training content that delivers that message. We check our results with great follow up that focuses on ensuring that actions are being put into real use in the workplace. We will even provide reports on the outcome of the training on each individual. In short the training is written for your business, about your business and we take responsibility for making sure it works.
About the Guest Author
Karen Dunne-Squire is the MD of Select Outsourcing Solutions Ltd. They provide sales expertise to small businesses with a large focus on training and mentoring. Karen has worked within front line sales and senior level sales management for the last 14 years and has a reputation for developing high performing teams. Karen believes that good sales training is the bedrock of any business.
Image courtesy of Select Outsourcing Solutions