I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, regardless of what industry you are in, you are actually in the business of sales.
And the process of selling involves a series of events all linked together. If your sales aren’t what you believe they should be, chances are there’s a weak link in your business and your sales process.
Determining where that weak link lies is critical. So, let’s look at the key areas where there’s likely to be a weak link in your business…
The thing about weak links
The thing about links is that they never work in isolation. Consider a chain, for example…if one link in that chain is weak or broken, it affects every other part of the chain. In business and particularly sales, the same is true.
If one area of your sales chain is weak, it’s likely having an impact on all areas of your business.
A weak link study by Harvard Business Review
In 2006, Harvard Business Review covered the topic of weak links in sales.
They interviewed executives at some of the world’s best performing sales companies, and found the key differentiator for top performers was their strength across all areas of the sales process – from management to process and skills.
“To improve their sales organizations, executives need to ensure that all components of the sales apparatus are high functioning and mutually reinforcing,” HBR noted.
“Fixing one area while others lag won’t help much. Pouring resources into finding new leads, for example, has little value if the organisation can’t hold on to them.”
So where is your weakest link likely to be occurring?
Finding the weak link
There are multiple points in the sales and business chain where a weak link might be occurring. That makes it important to examine each area of the chain, looking at the links of:
Lead attraction – Such as advertising, word of mouth referrals, social media, email marketing, cold calling or warm calling.
Sales conversion – Including factors like the volume of website hits versus clickthrough, customer visits, marketing conversion, call conversion, and the number of sales pitches to actual sales.
Customer satisfaction – How many customers are repeat clientele or come to your business through word of mouth?
Staff satisfaction – Your staff are the face of your business, and their satisfaction impacts all sides of the customer experience. That means staff satisfaction should be among the links you consider within your business.
Looking at each of these areas will help you determine the weakest link, whether that’s a lack of lead attraction, the skills of your staff in converting those leads, the processes and procedures you have in place to ensure staff satisfaction, or the morale of your staff and how that impacts the customer experience.
The final word
When you understand the weakest link in your business, you can quickly determine what areas to focus on for improvement.
Then, as HBR explains, you are better positioned for improved performance due to all links in the chain being ‘high functioning’ and ‘mutually reinforcing’.