5 signs that show your business is running below its potential

When sales leaders seek to increase their sales and margins, they often struggle with the next right move to make.

They can be torn between solutions that may work, like recruiting new sales reps to increase sales when they are given the opportunity.

Some “solutions” quickly show their limits, like increasing the sales targets and putting more pressure on the sales teams. However, as most of us have experienced, it is only fair to say that simply increasing the number of reporting events has never increased the number of sales closed.

Therefore, while it is tempting to think in terms of “what more can we do?”, it is sounder to begin with “can we do better?”.

The first priority should be to “leave no stone unturned” and consider a plan to highlight and address the untapped business potential most companies can show if they put efforts into finding the low-hanging fruit.

“Untapped business potential” describes the additional business that can be addressed by revisiting sales practices without engaging additional resources, which are probably already stretched.

Before doing anything, it is necessary to assess the untapped potential by spotting revealing signals.

To highlight just a few, here are 5 signs showing that your business runs below its potential and requires immediate action:

# 1 – Your sales manager is the best sales rep on the team

Although it is highly recommended that the sales leaders have solid sales experience, it is equally important that your sales reps are better sales reps than the sales leader.

If this is not the case, there is a high probability that your sales reps are not running at their full potential. This situation could involve negative consequences: sales leaders are tempted to compensate for less skilled sales reps or they are being involved in most deals; both items result in a bottleneck.

# 2 – Clients whose deals have been lost or abandoned are never called back

Keep in mind that you might have lost a deal, but still have created a relationship with the potential client. I strongly recommend building in follow-up calls to the client several months after you lost the deal against a competitor, as you are never sure if the winning party performed well.

Likewise, the business conditions that led to a project being abandoned might have changed some months later. Don’t make it the client’s responsibility to call you back and inform you about the changing context. Take the initiative and stay in touch. In both cases, there is always a good (business) reason for the sales rep to get in touch and stay on the radar screen, provided it brings value to the client.

# 3 – Sales occupation time is not optimal 

How is the time allocation of your sales reps? Do they spend most of their time performing business generating activities? If not, make sure to revisit their occupation and bring structural improvement, as it is easy to demonstrate that a team of 10 sales reps could be performing like 5 because of tasks that could easily be handed over to others in the workplace. To avoid misunderstandings, updating a CRM platform is considered a sales task and not an administrative task to be delegated.

# 4 – Lead generation is the responsibility of sales reps (only)

A Marketing department? A presence on LinkedIn? … and yet, 99% of the leads are the direct responsibility of the sales reps?

Make it an objective to increase the number of incoming leads through lead generation programs, an improved online presence, an effective PR campaign and creating awareness among, or even incentivizing, every colleague (presales, operations, …) who can help spot new business opportunities.

# 5 – Your wallet share within your largest customers is low, when known

Select your largest customers that make up a large chunk of your revenue. Hopefully, your relationship is good and customer satisfaction is equally good. It’s possible that, despite those two positive indicators, your wallet share is low.

Several reasons can explain this: it could be that your clients are unaware of the breadth of your portfolio or that your surface of contact is limited (in number of contacts and beyond the procurement department), or both. Immediate action should be taken in this case.

This list is not designed to be exhaustive, as several other criteria can also act as good indicators. The rationale of this checklist is to seek additional business opportunities among the obvious with the ambition of engaging activities with high ROI.

If one or more of these signs are present in your organization, it’s definitely the moment to act.

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