Every business owner knows that robust and consistent revenue growth is key to ensuring a thriving enterprise. But how? Martin Oakley, of The Alternative Board (TAB) Cambridge, offers some key insights.
Sustained growth is not easy to achieve in the current market with a slowing global economy, rising inflation and geopolitical unrest.
Growth that delivers profit can seem elusive at times but business owners who can harness the right mindset and approach can achieve healthy expansion despite a challenging market. Here’s how…
Grow who you know…
Achieving sustained revenue growth requires more than having astute and active sales and marketing teams.
Many successful business owners highlight that a significant portion of their revenue growth comes, not from brand new customers, but from their existing client base, and that they specifically focus on growing their ‘share-of-wallet’ from these existing customers.
Increasing sales revenue by expanding the range of products and services sold through established relationships can materially reduce direct cost of sales and is a well-trodden path to sustained growth for many businesses.
This approach to revenue growth is not easy, however, or necessarily lower cost. It requires time and effort to be devoted to other areas of the business to create the client goodwill that is essential for a more organic sales strategy. The most important requirement is that you develop a strong and trusted relationship with your clients.
Does your business get it right first time, on time, every time? And if, occasionally, you do fall short do you move quickly to address your client’s concerns and issues?
Factors to consider in support of this organic sales strategy need to include:
- Does your company have a clear purpose?
- Do your clients understand and buy into that purpose?
- Does it distinguish you from the competition?
- Do your products and services consistently meet or exceed your client’s needs and expectations?
If you can answer no to any of the above, spend some time working on your business rather than in it. Reassess your core values, products, service and the competition to ensure you and your team all have a clear understanding of your brand.
Remember every business is a service
It is important to think of every business as a service business. Even if you think you only sell products, how you sell and deliver those products will be perceived by your clients as your service. If done poorly this can damage a client’s perception of even the best products, along with their overall impression of your business and its competence.
Clear, timely and honest client communication is key. Are you easy to contact and responsive when your clients need to speak with you? Do you have the information they most need to hand and are your team empowered to make fast decisions in front of the client?
While your ability to respond flexibly to your client’s needs will also be valued, this aspect needs to be handled more cautiously. While requests for customised products and services, often associated with higher margin pricing can seem attractive (especially when received from a favoured client), they can also be costly and disruptive to your core operations.
Each situation should be treated on its own merits, weighing the longer-term client relationship, one off profit-margin, and potential to recycle for other clients. The scale and nature of the disruption likely to be caused by the opportunity must be carefully considered alongside the time and resources invested.
Start a referral programme
An organic sales growth strategy should be extended to include a formal referral programme that leverages the goodwill and relevant contacts of your existing client base, to generate warm leads for new clients. This is most effective where you can get your client to make the introduction. A successful referral programme is further payback for the work done with your existing client base to gain their trust and loyalty.
In summary, one of the most cost-effective approaches to growing your sales revenue is by extending the range and volume of products and service sold to existing clients – increasing your share of wallet – augmented by a formal referrals programme. The prerequisite is that you cultivate a client base that trusts you implicitly to delivery to their expectations, with no perceived obstacles or frictions. In short, the satisfied phrase: ‘it was a pleasure to do business with you’, should be one you hear from every client.
Martin Oakley is the owner of The Alternative Board (TAB) Cambridge, a business that harnesses the power of peer advisory boards to help privately owned SMEs. The Alternative Board model combines personal coaching with monthly facilitated meetings between local business owners, who bring their experiences and challenges from their different companies and sectors to the table each month to support each other. Martin has a number of opportunities for business owners across East Anglia to join TAB to help them achieve greater success within their business.