According to industry surveys, most companies wish their sales arms performed better. The "Conversion Rate Optimization Report" from Econsultancy found that only around 22 percent of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates. Identifying the cause of low conversion rates can be tricky, though, leaving leaders unsure which changes will boost performance.
For marketers, the issue lies in the leads. HubSpot reports that 63 percent of companies cite lead generation as their top marketing challenge. When the leads aren't great and sales aren't converting, revenue slows down, spurring executive teams to action.
Leaders might be tempted to implement extreme changes to correct these issues, but major disruption often leads to major disappointment. When the business structure is sound, a series of minor adjustments can transform poor sales and marketing performance into a company strength.
Small Changes That Drive Big Results
More productive sales and marketing initiatives mean more leads, which lead to more clients and more revenue. By getting your sales and marketing teams in sync, you can improve your closing rates by 67 percent.
Don't move to a new house when fixing the faucet will do the trick. Follow these six strategies to make minor adjustments, and turn underperforming departments into sales and marketing powerhouses.
1. Know -- and communicate -- what you stand for.
In most markets, products and services are similar. Companies distinguish themselves not by what they offer, but by who they are.
Establish a clear mission statement and communicate that mission to employees. Continually emphasize that commitment to your values to give employees something to stand by when they need guidance.
According to Gallup, only 41 percent of employees know what their employers stand for and how that mission differentiates their company from the competition. Sales and marketing departments depend on a concrete mission to convince prospects. Avoid becoming an also-ran by establishing a vision and sticking to it.
2. Keep your online presence up-to-date.
In the Internet age, companies without robust digital presences don't inspire much confidence in prospective buyers. Make it easy for customers and potential clients to learn about your products and contact you.
Keep your blog updated with recent activities. Post regular content so clients know what to expect before working with you. Improve your website by updating contact information, developing new content, and incorporating some user-generated pieces to boost engagement. The longer people stay on your website, the more likely they are to become customers.
3. Reach the right audience.
Staying on top of shifting marketing trends and demographics is an expensive, time-consuming endeavor -- but it's worth it. Save money in the long run by establishing more segmented audiences and running better-targeted campaigns. Use tools such as Mention or Pew Research Center datasets to sift through relevant data.
Jeff Kear, founder and CMO of Planning Pod, recently discussed targeting: "Developing the strategy and properly identifying and assessing your target audience is key. ... If you do not properly identify, assess, and profile your target audience, everything you do afterward is wasted effort and money as you try to reach the wrong audience with the wrong message and the wrong tactics."
4. Make sure your employees know their stuff -- and see the big picture.
Can employees -- especially sales and marketing employees -- answer questions about the company when other leaders aren't around? If they can't, do they know whom to ask and how quickly they can get a response? Rick Cheatham, U.S. sales practice leader for BTS and co-author of "Selling Vision: The X-XY-Y Formula for Driving Results by Selling Change," explains that "leaders should always connect individual objectives to the larger team objectives and make these sessions a bigger part of what the company is reaching for."
Customers expect sales and marketing to know everything about the company -- both the larger goals and the actions of other departments. Fair or not, whether sales and marketing teams meet that expectation can make the difference between boosted sales and waning interest. Leaders can help instill that knowledge in their employees, but it's up to the employees themselves to keep that information top of mind.
5. Wring every ounce out of every day.
Slow sales days don't have to be wasted time. Sales and marketing staff can still improve themselves and the company on off days by training, evaluating, and planning.
Jeff Winters, CEO of Sapper Consulting, is an expert in helping companies turn data into insights. Winters observes that days not spent out in the field can still be productive: "Encourage your sales managers to engage in real management activities, such as practicing with their salespeople, shadowing sales calls, de-hassling their team, or building plans to achieve objectives in future quarters during their home office days."
6. Dig into your performance data.
Some sales and marketing issues hide in the data. Root them out by using the right tools to track and measure performance.
Use Asana to track sales KPIs and identify bottlenecks. Check out the variety of tools from HubSpot to see if any of its products could boost your team's performance. Both of these tools have paid huge dividends for me personally at Firebrand Group. Every company is unique, but with the right tools in place, leaders can eliminate common problems and keep teams focused on the task at hand.
You don't have to rebuild the C-suite from the ground up to make these changes. Instead of grinding business to a halt to reinvent the company, follow these strategies to implement small changes that will drive big revenue.