Sales never come as soon or as fast as you’d like and no one on your team or in your ecosystem has the same passion for your brand as you. These are simple truths.
I am asked all the time by founders how to speed up the sales process. They tell me that they’ve hired a great broker, sales agency or even a salesperson but, sales still aren’t coming fast enough. They share that there is white space in the market, they’ve armed their team with aggressive trade promotions, social media spend, and even free fills. Still, not enough buyer meetings are taking place and even fewer yeses being given.
My immediate questions in return are:
1. How many sales presentations have you been on?
2. How many phone calls have you made?
3. How many emails have you sent?
For whatever reason, founders often disconnect themselves from the sales process and that is a massive mistake. Your brand may have awesome products, great positioning and true differentiation, but the superpower is you. It is your visceral passion in and belief of what you are doing that is the most compelling force.
Further, no one is going to work harder than you. You can’t expect that of others, it just doesn’t happen.
Don’t cede your responsibility for sales, it is on you. That account you want, go get it. Sure, leverage the relationships that your broker, sales agent, or employee may have, but don’t simply leave it to them to make it happen. Chances are it won’t or at least not fast enough.
The smart play is to recognize that you’re a vital part of the sales team and process. That you working in support of your team makes everyone better and more effective.
Join every sales call you can. Put a list together of the accounts you want and work with your team on a game plan to go get them.
For those accounts where your team doesn’t have any connections, there are all kinds of ways to get in front of a buyer. Be scrappy. Simple tricks like using LinkedIn to find out a name and then send a connection request. Here is one that is crazy, call the office and ask for the name of the buyer. Crowd surf sending an email to your network with a list of five buyers you want to meet. Ask them to make an introduction for you.
Don’t worry if “sales aren’t your thing”. You must make time for it even if it doesn’t come naturally. So what if you don’t know all the industry jargon. You’ll learn over time and buyers are the best teachers. What’s far more important is that you find yourself sitting in front of the decision maker sharing your passion and conviction.
This approach is especially important in more disaggregated channels. Conventional Retail is pretty consolidated but that doesn’t hold true if you want your products in coffee shops, college bookstores, corporate campuses or elsewhere. In those channels, you must be a bigger part of the sales effort.
The bottom line is if you want your sales to really grow you need to lead the effort. You can’t afford to cede that responsibility to anyone else.