Many sales targets are simply unrealistic
This is because they are based on false hopes and expectations. Many companies expect all things to go well. They expect customers to carry out all the same large projects that they placed the year before. They budget for them to expand their businesses. They assume that they will stay loyal and never move to a new supplier.
All companies should budget for drop off
Some of your customers will decide to use less print. Some will sadly go out of business. Others will decide to choose another printing company to work with.
According to one study that I have read, printing companies should expect to lose 15-20% of their customers each year. Many of these will be smaller clients, so fortunately this will not usually result in the loss of 15-20% of your business!
Nevertheless it is the reverse of what many companies plan in their budgets.
The state of your current business can change dramatically with very little notice.
It only takes one supplier review and you can lose a large percentage of your current turnover. This will be immediately apparent to you and your company. However, gradual declines in business are far less noticeable.
Here are three things you should be constantly measuring to make sure you know the state of your current business.
- Measure what is happening to your largest clients
You should review the monthly activity of your largest ten to 15 clients. How is their performance changing from month to month? Is this what you were expecting? How does it compare to last year?
Sometimes you may be ahead of budget. How will this affect how you have planned to use your equipment?
However, at other times you might be falling short. That’s where the next measurement comes in.
- Measure the gap you need to fill
How much extra business do you need to focus on in the short term? Is your new turnover going to fill any gaps caused by a drop off in current business? You should be reviewing your forward sales regularly, using the process that I described in my last article.
You may need to task your team with targets to fill a short-term gap. If all is going well, you may need to focus on longer-term sales rather than immediate requirements. Whichever situation you are in, the final measurement will be useful.
- Measure your sales activities
What activity targets do you need to set in order to manage the short-term situation? (I covered setting activity targets in my last article.) If you have a big gap to fill you may need to focus on trying to persuade current clients to place more work. Alternatively, you may need to focus on what you can do to attract new business.
If things are going well, you may spend more time talking to your current clients about the upcoming requirements. You may need to manage expectations. You will certainly want to avoid booking in new clients in the short term!
These measurements will make sure that you are focusing your sales efforts correctly
They will also ensure that you can react appropriately to any unrealistic sales targets.
Editor’s Note: This is a two-part series on effective sales strategies and tactics:
- How to Create Realistic Sales Measurement
PS If you’d like more information on how to use social media effectively to drive readers to your newsletter and to sell printing services, download my free e-guide “Ten Social Media Rules For Print Sales People”. You’ll also receive my regular “Views from the print buyer” bulletin, full of ideas on how to use social media and sell print effectively.