SMM  Strategic Marketing Montreal

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[Newsletter #20]
Maximize selling efficiency by minimizing $PACE

Unsatisfactory Sales Growth - Check Here for the Solution.


Sales should always be growing. As with the growth of a human infant, growth is not just getting bigger. Growth means getting better and realizing your full potential. For you, sales growth may mean seeking higher profit margins from the same (or even a lower) sales volume. Or it may mean trying to change the profile of sales, so that sales are less concentrated with one or two major customers. Or perhaps creating a sales pattern with less seasonal variation. Or it may mean just getting more sales.

If you are not achieving your sales growth objective, what is going wrong? This newsletter provides the answer for manufacturing or service companies selling business-to-business. The same truths may well apply in other business sectors as well.

How market places function now

One reason why companies do not have satisfactory sales growth is that they have not realized that the world has changed dramatically over the last 5 years. What worked in 1997 will not work as well now. The reasons for this are as follows:

  1. The Internet puts the Customer in the driving seat.
  2. Customers can do their research, without needing to meet sales people, as they work down to a short list.
  3. Permission marketing means customers decide who they will listen to and who they refuse to listen to.

In this very different world, the same methods you used in 1997 will still get results. However they will not work as well as they should. You will probably be disappointed in the outcomes.

There are now better methods. So in 2002, how can you get the sales growth you would like to see.


The Sales Growth Ladder

In this competitive world, sales don't just happen. Or at least, they don't happen at a rate sufficient to meet most companies' sales growth goals. A deliberate marketing-supported, sales programme must be followed. This is what the Sales Growth ladder depicts. There are 7 steps and each builds on the previous one. Each one must be solid to support the remaining steps in the programme. The next diagram shows the steps. If your screen resolution doesn't allow you to see the whole diagram at once, click on the arrow at the right to move down to the first step. Then [Page Up] to see the succeeding steps. [Page Down] will then take you to the rest of the Newsletter.

Practical details for each of the 7 steps
Step 7. Repeat sales
    a. After-sales service
b. Sell more to them and their friends
Step 6. Deliver the goods
    a. Be superb in your customer service
b. Deliver the goods
Step 5. Repeat contacts
    Make repeated contacts - 6 contacts are needed to make a sale but it's a "permission marketing" world.
Step 4. Contact ALL prospects
    Contact ALL the market niche customers once - Play the percentages. Do it in such a way they will want to talk to you.
Step 3. Get website visibility
    Make your website visible - see Newsletter 18 for more details.
Step 2. Create the website
    Design a website so that such a customer visiting your website will keep you on the shortlist - see Newsletter 17 for more details.
Step 1. Meet the Need
    a. Follow your passion - Develop energy from the whole team
b. Define your market niche - Focus, focus, focus
c. Determine the problem that your market niche customers have that you can solve better than your competitors - our publication "Winning Marketing Plans are Client-centric" provides useful details for this.


Just like the feedback we receive on some of the Newsletters, a few in the audience will be saying, "That's common sense and we're trying to do just that." However these are a small minority of companies.

The step where many companies fall down is Step 4. Many put most of their efforts into Steps 1, 2 and 3. These must be done well. This is the engine that drives the whole process. However, if you assume that your website, which is well listed by the search engines, will produce the sales, you are in for a big disappointment.

You need a proactive process of contacting ALL prospects. Step 4 is the critical step in the whole process. All it takes is a well planned program, a well-trained sales team and lots of hard work.

However there is a big challenge here. Many prospects are stressed and overwhelmed by too much information flow. In an age of "permission marketing", they may almost become hostile if an uninvited person wants to take some of their time. However you must find a way to break through. Again the client-centric approach mentioned earlier helps. You may already have your own ways of overcoming this challenge. More specific advice on how to do this will be given in the next newsletter.

Other benefits of a successful sales growth ladder

If you get the sales growth ladder running well, then you may well have too many potential orders. Some of the additional actions you can take when faced with this embarrassing situation are:

  1. Raise prices while giving even more service (so improving your gross margin and your bottom line)
  2. Toughen other sales conditions - don't deal with customers who don't pay or are too difficult.
  3. Have more fun.


Although much of the above is common sense, people often are too close to the process to realize that they are not handling some step as they should. In particular, Step 4, the critical step, is one where many companies fall down. SMM will be happy to assist you in building your sales growth ladder so that you achieve the sales growth you desire.

If you wish to build your own sales growth ladder, SMM will be happy to work with you. Our help can be configured to meet exactly the needs you have. Our strengths, experience, creativity and practical common sense can complement those of your company. So write us a Fast Message today, , on what you're looking for.

Barry Welford


So do you agree or disagree? Are these the right steps? Have you found the steps work well for you? Is there some step where you have a problem? Would you have liked more information on any of the steps? Whatever your reaction, please click on the button below to give us your feedback. In this way, we can tune the content of future Newsletters to better meet your needs.

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Copyright 2002 Barry Welford, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Added to site 16 September 2002