Business Insight Series: #1 Build A Strong Backbone for Sales
In any sales effort, a solid admin backbone is key to success. You can visualize this backbone as consisting of four fundamental elements: pricing, forecasting, templates and “DAR”, which stands for Data Archiving and Retrieval.
Pricing, the first important element, is the science of determining how much to charge in order to obtain a profit margin that allows you to run your business successfully. Anyone in a sales role should know how much each service or product you sell costs as well as the maximum discount that can be given for each product. More than any other factor, your price determines how much your business makes. Did you say you want to be prepared to build in a 25% discount? Then be prepared to accept 25% less earnings at the end of the period!
Forecasting is the best guess of the earnings your business will make over a period of time. A forecast should include all the income you expect to make from retained and new accounts. This figure should be expressed based on a time period (usually a quarter, half-year or year), show your profit margin and be based on a realistic result of prospecting and client retention activities. If you plan on marketing to 1000 people, expecting 100 of them to buy from you may be realistic depending on the dynamics of your specific industry. Many businesses are run by individuals who feel they can win all or most of the business they prospect. This is rarely the case, and these individuals are usually wrong. Seasoned professionals always expect to market to more potential clients then they end up selling to.
In any sales organization, templates are the documents that drive the sales process. These include presentations, proposals and sales contracts. Because client retention is a factor for a lot of businesses, templates include customer service documents given to existing customers in the process of service delivery. Useful templates allow your business to produce and deliver these documents quickly and efficiently. Imagine your forecast requires you to send 300 proposals, 150 contracts, 150 on-boarding documents and 75 first customer service reports in one quarter. That’s 675 documents in 3 months. How long does it take your company to create each one of those? A person usually has less than 600 work hours in a typical quarter. Time restraints like that force us to come up with templates that streamline and speed-up our administrative processes.
Finally, there is DAR, “Data Archiving and Retrieval.” DAR is the system you use to save and easily find your past administrative documents. How much time would it take you to find the activity waiver of the person who attended a yoga class at your Miami Gardens studio last month? Perhaps you need the last retainer document you sent to an architecture firm or the contract you amended for a current client three years ago. Your system should be organized, disaster-proof, electronic, backed-up and accessible. This will save you time, protect your business from disruption when employees leave and potentially reduce legal costs.