Business uncertainty seems set to continue for some time, and we don’t know exactly how things will look on the other side. What was key to unlocking success before might not be the same going forward.
Priorities may need to change as new and exciting opportunities emerge. Now is the perfect time to challenge our plans and think about what we might need to do differently.
In a recent webinar, Dave Alford and Nathan Neal at Eloquel, a growth consultancy based in Bedfordshire, looked at how businesses can reset their sales strategy to ensure they are prioritising the biggest and best opportunities for profitable growth.
Nathan kicked off the webinar by encouraging business owners to take stock of where they are in the current situation by asking themselves two questions:
- How are the changes impacting what you do?
- How are they impacting what your customers do?
Any business that has struggled throughout the Covid pandemic won’t need to dig deep to answer these questions, particularly the first one.
But Nathan reminds us that although some doors are closing, there will be others opening too. He tells the story of an expo events business who spent six months developing an app that facilitates virtual events - a great example of how businesses can move from reacting to the new normal to owning the new normal.
Create a short term plan
Dave stresses the importance of creating a short term plan that reflects on the things you’ve learned over the last few months. Most businesses will have to adapt in some way or another, but what’s working and what’s not?
He suggests looking over all your activity over the last few months and asking yourself these key questions:
- What’s working great and you should keep going?
- What’s working ok but needs improving?
- What’s not working but could be fixed to work much better?
- What’s not working and should be stopped?
- What are others doing that you could simply copy and paste to make work for you?
“How can you learn from how others have adapted? You may need to tweak it to work for your situation. But in many cases some of the best solutions are found by seeing what’s already working elsewhere. So look outside of your business to find inspiration and great ideas.” Dave
“If you’re not sure, get insight from your customers. It’s easy to become very insular when times are difficult. Reaching out, networking, and asking questions is the best way to get inspired.” Nathan
Create a long term strategy
Beyond the short term, you should also be looking at your long-term strategy. This requires a deeper look at your business.
Ultimately, Dave believes that your long-term strategy should reflect what is going to be the biggest and best way to focus your time and effort.
“What are the few things that are going to make the biggest difference to your business? A SWOT analysis is a simple yet powerful way to capture and organise the information pertinent to developing your strategy.” Dave
You may have done a SWOT analysis before. But perhaps you’ve never quite got what you needed from it. Either you’ve ended up with too many points or weren’t sure how to pick our what’s really important. Or perhaps you have never really been sure what to do with the information.
But Dave offers some useful advice on how to use a SWOT analysis to drive your business’s next steps:
- Keep it succinct and meaningful - Strengths and weaknesses should be unique to just your business, so only include the things you can shout about for being a better solution than your competitors. Likewise, opportunities and threats should be both relevant and actionable.
- Look at how one aspect affects another - How do your weaknesses impact your ability to access opportunities? And what do they mean for your threats? Thinking about how your strengths and weaknesses impact your opportunities and threats will help you think about the ‘so what?’ and turn them into actions.
- Focus on the opportunities that have the biggest impact and are easy to do - If you identify lots of big opportunities, prioritise the ones that will have the biggest impact on your profitability and growth while requiring the least time, effort and resources to make happen.
“Sometimes the things that have the biggest impact require a lot more time, effort and money. Others are quick wins and easier to do. The ones you should focus on are those that have a big impact and are most feasible at that moment in time.” Dave
What does a great sales strategy look like?
Nathan reminds us that a good sales strategy does four key things:
- Targets the biggest and best opportunities
- Protects and builds on existing sales
- Enhances profitability
- Builds brand strength
“A great sales strategy should communicate what’s important to the business. That way you can make decisions quickly and easily, because you’ve done the work to decide what you should be focusing on. You’ll also have the confidence that what you’re doing will set you apart and build your business. And you’ll know what to focus on at all times. Focusing on developing and executing your strategy will help guide you through these uncertain times.” Nathan
Nathan and Dave end the webinar with three key takeaways on how to reset your sales strategy and ensure you’re prioritising the biggest and best opportunities for profitable growth:
- Identify what’s working and what’s not to develop your short term plan
- Capture new opportunities based on what you do best AND better than others
- Define a few priorities for the longer-term based on what’s easiest to do and makes the biggest impact
You can watch the full webinar here.
Chamber member Eloquel offers consultancy, training and growth engineering for companies striving to become a bigger and better business without compromising the speed, agility and uniqueness of what makes them successful. With over 40 years’ experience working with brands, they share simple ideas and solutions to help businesses unlock growth and enhance profitability.
To get in touch with Dave and Nathan or to learn more about Eloquel, visit the website here.