One of my sales managers used to say that the best type of competitor is one that is dumb, fat, and happy. Is your business dumb, fat, and happy? If so, by definition, you probably don’t know it, which makes you a sitting duck for hungry competitors. Here are 10 things that may be going wrong that you aren’t aware of — things that will cause your business to unravel.
1. Unmotivated Sales Department. How many hours are your sales reps putting in? How many cold calls are they making every day? Do you really know? Business owners sometimes assume sales reps have the same intensity and work ethic they do. Not always true. This is why it is vital to set clear expectations and monitor activity.
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2. Unarmed Sales Department. Even when sales reps share your intensity and work ethic, they will still fail unless you give them the critical tools: high-quality products and services, training and mentoring, effective collateral, customer service support, the ability to follow through on commitments, and a fair and motivating compensation plan.
3. Outdated, Counterproductive Online Marketing. If your search engine optimization (SEO) program hasn’t been updated in the last 3 to 6 months, it could be doing more harm than good. Those pop-up subscription windows on your blog could be driving away readers instead of attracting them. Internet marketing best practices change rapidly; dumb, fat, and happy companies fail to keep up.
4. No Customer-Retention Strategy. Another common marketing problem is putting all the focus on customer acquisition and forgetting about customer retention. This blunder not only hurts revenues, it also causes the cost structure to crumble: Retaining a customer, in terms of sales and marketing effort, is far less expensive than acquiring a new one.
5. Slow Collections. Many businesses are lackadaisical in enforcing their payment terms. Not only do they allow customers an extra 60 or 90 or 120 days to pay, they also fail to assess late payment penalties, fail to take steps to ensure future orders are paid on time, and fail to raise prices to compensate for late payments. When all of this happens, cash flow takes a beating. In time, there won’t be enough cash on hand to make payroll, let alone expand.