Emerging Sales Trends

Emerging Sales Trends

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Evolution and innovation are an inevitable part of any environment. This is true for any business settings. The components involved in a sales process are changing. These changes are changing dynamics between a customer and seller and even the way a company views its competition, product and service.  An ideal sales representative will understand and monitor these changes and develop an appropriate sales strategy. 

Given below are the major changes in the sales environment: 

1. Unlimited access to information 

Before the advent of internet, only the sales representatives had information regarding their products. They kept the data sheets, reference information and price list. Now, the unrivalled power of the Web has quickly turned the table for the consumers. Buyers can easily get the required information online not only from the seller but from other buyers and third parties. The power of negotiation has shifted and consumers are armed with the needed information even before they meet the sales representative.  

2. Influence of  Social Media 

Many businessmen quickly dismiss social media as a medium of entertainment. This is a far cry from reality. It is a tool for communication, information and collaboration. It can also be easily assimilated into the sales process.  Online platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and various blogs are used for marketing purposes. It serves as a link between the company and the consumer. Many consumers often review the products and rate them which can ultimately affect your customer base. 

3. Influence of  Technology 

Technology has not only improved the socializing platforms but has even affected business. There are various tools and applications available to a sales representative to improve the sales process. Cloud Computing, Internet, CRM applications and other mobile applications has shortened the sales cycle, improved connection with customers and simplified data storage and accessibility. Technology is touching every facet of the sales process and making the process more competent and operative than ever before.  

4. Different decision makers 

Another trend noticed in the present era is the way how buyers make their decisions. It has been long believed that an “economic decision maker”, that is, a single individual holds the ultimate responsibility for the decision to buy.  But in the current age there are various committees where multiple layers of approval are needed to finally close the deal. This has significantly increased the average length of sales cycle in the last decade. An efficient sales representative will take this process into consideration and build a strategy is has the support of all the major stakeholders. 

5. Current Lifestyle 

Technology has made man’s life fast and busy. Therefore, a simple solution or regular means of communication will not grab the attention of the customer. Sales representatives must be creative and hardworking to survive in a fast environment. There is also a shift from personal relationships to a more objective and formal relationship between the buyer and seller. Consecutively, sales process has become more complex.  

As said by William Pollard, “Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement.” To remain constant in an ever-changing world will put an end to the development of your business. Age old methods and tools are no longer efficient is a technologically driven world.  

Customer service, ideal response times

Customer service, ideal response times

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The average company responds to an email in about 12 hours and 10 minutes according to a study conducted. But is this quick enough is the question! 

Research Findings 

With numerous avenues to contact a company including Twitter, email, and Facebook how fast does the average customer expect a response and does their age affect their expectations? A study conducted in 2017 showed that under 45% of customers were very satisfied with their email correspondence. Customers that were satisfied noted down speed being the top factor affecting their interaction. A typical business takes about 12 hours to respond to an email. This is definitely an upgrade from the previous one-business-day standard response time but it may still not be up to par. A previous study done showed that the ideal response time expected even then was just one hour. A follow-up study was done in 2018 to see if this expectation has changed. According to the results the ideal standard for response times through email was still one hour with a response within fifteen minutes remarkable service. This was based on what would satisfy at least 80% of the individuals surveyed.  

Email Response Time Expectations 

If an email was responded to within a couple of hours a company could capitalize on 70% of customers. A one hour response time is the expectation that would satisfy 89% of customers. When categorized by age the findings showed that Baby Boomers within the ages of 55-73 actually expected the fastest response. Expectations were similar among coworkers expecting responses within the hour. At work, this may be very hard to fulfill and may lead to emails being glanced over quickly and not getting detailed responses back. The average email thread amongst coworkers was reported to be 4.5 emails. The age group that expected the fastest response was GenX, who are 39-54 years old.  

Managing Twitter & Facebook Response Times 

On Twitter the stakes are even higher with the standard expectation being just fifteen minutes. This can be especially challenging to fulfill as Twitter is decreasing in popularity and is usually not the preferred method of contact. Phone calls, and email are still used more, thus allotting staff members to focus on Twitter may not be the best allocation of company staff. Again, Baby Boomers expected the fastest response.  Expectations on Facebook were similar to email with one hour being ideal and fifteen minutes being remarkable. Millennials, ages 23-38 expected the fastest responses on Facebook. Although more people use Facebook to contact companies than Twitter, a rise from 40% to 50%, only 55% of Millennials reported using Facebook to contact a company.  

In conclusion, the ideal response time for a company to  reach a majority of their customers would be to respond within the hour. 

Conquer Your Inbox

Conquer Your Inbox

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One of the most convenient ways to reach someone at the office is not walking over to their cubicle, rather it’s shooting them a quick email. Not only does this keep a written record of everything, it also allows you to go back and reference what was discussed. But with such a high volume of emails constantly bombarding one’s inbox it can be hard to keep track of what’s important and still needs to be dealt with and what’s been read. These are some simple tips that can help you “de-clutter” and conquer your inbox.

Set time-limits 

For starters as soon as an email has been read move it out of your main inbox to stop yourself from re-reading it again later. Next instead of stopping what’s currently being worked on at the ping of a new incoming email, turn off the notifications and instead allot a set time where you check your emails. This can be at the top of every hour or even every couple of hours depending on the necessity.  

Have a clear-out Plan 

Having inboxes that are overflowing with emails wastes an average of 27 minutes per day according to research. There must be a clear plan to clear out or move read emails out of the inbox in order to avoid building backlog. Archiving or deleting emails after reading them would be the best option. 

Use the Search option 

Finding messages that we’ve already read is a big part of the work of email processing. Search is one fix. Some people create multiple folders to categorize emails to deal with this problem. But research finds this to be 9% slower than the simple Search feature. Search option is argued to be the easiest option to overcome this problem. 

Simplify  

Also, remember your email isn’t a library, it doesn’t need multiple categories to be sorted into. Rather have just two folders, one with emails that need to be responded to, and the other for emails being kept as a record but don’t need a response.  

Set filters 

Reading and processing irrelevant emails costs us 8 minutes per day. So it is important to cut the spam. Have an automated filter to soft out newsletters and flyers that are not read. Make sure to unsubscribe from lists and stores that you don’t actively seek out information from. By cutting the clutter you’re already halfway there to conquering the clutter. 
 
By following the simple tips provided you can take charge and conquer your inbox! 

7 steps to create an Action Plan for your Business Strategy

7 steps to create an Action Plan for your Business Strategy

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Behind every success story is an even more successful plan. In a business when formulating an action plan to attain a goal for the coming year it is necessary to delegate tasks and have a clear idea of who will be doing that job, and what the timeline for said-task is. The action plan is typically created at the end of the strategic planning process, after you’ve set out your vision, done a SWOT analysis and established objectives.  

Here are the steps for creating your action plan. 

1. TeamWork

The more you involve the people on your team in the planning of the task, the more invested they will be in its ultimate success. The more time people spend working on something the more emotionally invested they become in seeing their projects success. Also, by involving people from the ground-up you can get a variety of opinions from people from all different levels of the company who may encounter and see things management may not be directly aware of and new places for improvement.  

2. Clearly define & delegate tasks

Different tasks should be kept separate and worked on by divided groups. This will help to avoid confusion and also facilitate focus. Also, appoint a person to be in charge and take responsibility for their team and let them know what resources are available to them and what they can work with.  

3. Set deadlines

Once the different tasks have been established a timeframe should be set to prevent procrastination. If there is no clear end time a task can be daunting like it may never be completed. By breaking it down into timed intervals a task can be completed on schedule without stressing out one person. 

4. Follow-up

Make sure that tasks aren’t just delegated and forgotten about that people are constantly being followed up with. This can be regular check-ins, or meetings to make sure milestones are being met. 

5. Be Transparent in your Communication

Another key to a successful action plan is good communication. Make sure that everyone knows what is expected of them to prevent any friction within the team. By facilitating open communication from the very beginning of the planning process people will always have a clear idea of exactly what they need to do.  

6. Be Consistent

Lastly the most important step is to maintain momentum. It’s hard to stay disciplined and motivated once the initial hype of starting something new has worm off. Staying motivated during the lowest points is where the difficulty really lies. Making a plan and working out the logistics is only half the work; actually implementing it is the other half. After the assigned deadline is up analyzing the action plan and improving it for the next time is a sure-fire way to have a successful business

Identify your business strengths and weaknesses

Identify your business strengths and weaknesses

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Once you start a business it’s easy to fall into a stagnant area where you are satisfied with where you are but the business is not growing. This is detrimental because it obstructs growth

Developing a Strategic Plan 

A successful business owner is always looking at what works and what doesn’t. We must look at what extrinsic and intrinsic factors are effecting the business and scope out what new opportunities and threats are present. A very effective tool for this analysis would be a ‘SWOT’ (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats) Analysis. This analysis helps you see how you stand out in the marketplace; how you can grow as a business; and where you are vulnerable. 

Strengths Analysis 

When looking at the strengths of your business these are some factors to consider. Do you feel you have a competitive advantage over other people in your market? Think about what makes your company superior and capitalize on this. Other strengths include any specific skills that you have, or experiences that you have been through that have broadened you horizons and gives you company a step up over other companies. Something that makes you exclusive and cannot be easily copied. Strengths do not have to solely be skill-based. They can also include high-demand real-estate, good financial stability and organization, a happy well-trained staff, good leadership, and a loyal customer base.  

Analysing your Weaknesses 

Any good business is only as strong as its weakest link therefore knowing our businesses weaknesses is key to success. These are the factors that stop your business from reaching its highest level of efficiency. Some weaknesses include unreliable business partners/ suppliers, old equipment, poor marketing and exposure, insufficient leadership, and missing skillsets.  

Opportunities Analysis 

There are always new developments being made that can help your business. New innovations and markets developments can offer beneficial alliances and opportunities to make new sales. Technological advances can also increase the overall output of your business, knowing your target demographic allows you to specialize your product, support from various government organizations is also available. A good tip to find new opportunities is to look at what is missing in the market, or what weaknesses your competitors have and fulfill that deficiency in the market. 

Identifying Threats 

Now that we know the good, the bad, and the new opportunities for the optimal business, we need to look at what potential threats there are to endanger our growth. This can be factors that are out of your control like a declining economy, a decrease in the popularity of your product, a community protest, or conflicting laws.  By anticipating what the potential threats to your business are you can prepare to combat against them but, this system will only work if you are honest and critical when self-evaluating yourself.  

A SWOT analysis doesn’t have to be a long, complex document. Two or three pages of point-form notes are usually sufficient. Free templates for a SWOT analysis are easy to find on the Internet. 

4 Strategies that can make you an Elite Entrepreneur

4 Strategies that can make you an Elite Entrepreneur

An entrepreneur is someone who not only markets a business but, also markets oneself. It is for this reason that in order to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to know who you are and have a clear idea of what it is that you want. There are four strategies that you can employ to excel at what you do and to achieve maximum business growth. 

1. Be very clear who you are and where you’re going. 

Self-awareness is the biggest asset one should have. Be clear on what works for you and what does not. Knowing what you can compromise on and what you cannot is vital. If you think you will keep beating around the bush and making excuses, stop and remove this task from your to-do list and find an alternative you are able to actually complete.  By understanding what you don’t want to see within your business you can more easily identify what you do want to see. Knowing what you want is an essential part to promoting growth and setting attainable goals.  

2. Eliminate stuff from your life and business that doesn’t fit 

Once you’ve learned what you dislike take the necessary steps to remove that factor from your life. Surrounding yourself with negativity has a direct correlation with your mood and your productivity. If you have an employee or even a friend that is constantly straining your positivity and productivity sometimes the hard decision needs to be made to cut this person out of your life and remove them from your inner circles.  

3. Conquer the battles in your mind 

Another factor to consider is how you treat yourself as well. If you are constantly putting yourself down and telling yourself that you are not good enough, you will never be able to put yourself out there. You need to be your own biggest supporter first before you can tell others what to do and show them why you are worth it. Do the things you need to, to promote good mental health. Just like a fine tuned car will run for years, a fine tuned and healthy mind will keep working at its prime as well.                         

4. Be consistent 

It is easy to keep making plans of what needs to be done, and what you need to do but the hard part is actually doing it. A strong work ethic is the basis to anything successful period, whether it be a business or not. Being consistent and working hard will set the standard for everyone else in your presence.  

By thorough self-assessment, belief in yourself, surrounding yourself with good people and working hard to achieve what you need, you can become a successful entrepreneur.