Smart businesses don’t need statistics or evidence to tell them just how important managing and keeping existing customers is to their success. Losing customers is losing business, plain and simple. Businesses know that keeping and growing existing sales, across as many accounts as possible, leads to consistent growth. However, good sales performance alone doesn’t guarantee that you’ll always be the single most important supplier to your customer. It does take some research and analysis.
The most important analysis is to perform a gap analysis on each customer account. This not only provides the necessary steps to support your existing business, but is essential in understanding those opportunities that remain. It will better prepare your sales people, and allow them to successfully grow business across all accounts.
Sales professionals tend to think they have all the bases covered. They are relied upon, and rewarded, for providing results. It goes without saying that they don’t like to admit when they may not have all the answers. Therefore, when looking at performing a sales account gap analysis, make sure it isn’t a choice, but a prerequisite for the sales team. After all, it isn’t only for their benefit, but for the company’s as well.
Businesses need to know what potential remains, what additional sales might be coming, and how to be ready when they do come. Performing a sales account gap analysis will help expose all opportunities open to both the sales person, and the company. It’s quite an eye opener, and helps to get your sales team motivated to produce results. So, what are the steps to performing a gap analysis?
Covering all your bases has always paid huge dividends for sales professionals. Planning for the best, but being prepared for the worst, is just smart. Knowing the current value of the business, and the threat of losing that business, is essential. Take the time to write down all the mitigating circumstances that would lead to both success and failure. Don’t become so enamored with your success that you think it’s guaranteed. Your competition is always trying to displace you.
The first essential step in performing the sales gap analysis is to not only be cognizant of the account’s value, but to develop a hierarchy structure of the account’s major decision makers. Sales professionals always have stories of how they lost business because they ignored someone in the customer’s organization. It happens all the time. Be aware of the account’s value, and demand that the sales team properly identify all the account’s major decision makers.
Often when sales professionals haven’t done a proper gap analysis, they’ll use the following phrases like, “I believe”, “I think” or “I’m pretty sure”. This is fine if they have yet to do the analysis, but is simply inexcusable after they’ve successfully done one. The purpose of the analysis is to remove these uncertainties, and ensure that the sales person continues to properly monitor the account.
The gap analysis empowers the sales person to be completely aware of opportunities, roadblocks, keys to success, and the reasons for failure. Make sure the sales person properly identifies all remaining business, and is able to provide all the answers about how the business will be won. Make sure to apply a monetary value to the business that remains within the account. This will force your sales team to dig deep, and ensure they cover all their bases.
A number of companies are really bad at being able to recognize their own limitations. It isn’t easy to admit your shortcomings. However, if you don’t, then you’ll never be able to capture new business. If your sales people can’t tell management what needs to change in order to win new business, then performing the gap analysis is useless.
The purpose of the analysis is to take inventory of existing business, potential for losing that business, and the roadblocks to winning new business. Some of those roadblocks will be about the company’s service, abilities, and approach. Therefore, be prepared for both the good and bad, and provide the atmosphere that allows sales people to come forward.
A sales account gap analysis is a great way to shed light onto potential business, and essential in protecting existing business. When a sales professional understands what’s at stake, and what’s available, then they are always better prepared. Competition is always present. Your competition will do everything they can to take business away. Knowing what threats there are to existing business, and putting a monetary value on potential business, is essential for account management and growth.
Allowing the sales department to come forward with customer feedback is also an essential part. If the company provides all the tools, and is open to investigating change when needed, then the sales person will always have a greater chance of success.
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