How do I improve sales results? The Road Not Always Taken

With the new financial year just around the corner, you‘re likely to be taking stock of your business performance and whether you’ll hit those targets you set a year ago. Hopefully, you’re on course to reach your targets, perhaps you might just about scrape through, or maybe you’ll end up some way short of your target. Whichever is closest to your situation – whether you’ve had a good year or not – there is one question we ALL need to answer: how do I improve sales results next year?

So where do I start?

There may be lots of enthusiasm for targeting new sectors, refocusing the sales team, enhancing your online presence, new marketing campaigns, maybe some price restructuring or relaunching products or services with a new look, all of which may be perfectly valid and, if handled correctly, assist in increasing the company’s sales performance into 2019.

Or you can STOP, take a breath, and follow the road not always taken. Speak to the one group who can provide a better insight into how you can keep achieving those ever-challenging targets and why, perhaps, you’re not hitting them in the first place – your customers.

Do you, for example, really know what your customers think about your company, how they view you in comparison to your competition, what you do that’s good and what’s not so good? Do they think you offer value for money? What about your website? Your product range? Oh, and your marketing material? How do they view your sales people, after sales service, delivery performance and your accounts department? And while you’re at it, do you know if they even plan to buy from you next year, and if not, why not? If you don’t know the answers, now might be a really good time to find out!

A well-constructed, well-executed and independently conducted Customer Survey can help you identify where you should be focussing your attention; what aspects of your business exceed expectations and which fall short. With a proper understanding of what your customers really think – not just what your sales team tell you – you’ll identify the keys to unlocking an improved sales performance and enhance your standing and value to your customers. You might even find that you’re already doing a great job and that’s good, too. Without quality research, you simply won’t know, and you won’t be able to formulate an informed business plan, however, with it you can, and you’ll have a benchmark to measure the success of that plan.

Oh, but customer research is expensive and time consuming! No, not necessarily. Quite apart from the value being many, many more times greater than the cost, the cost itself can be quite modest. In fact, we have developed a low-cost programme which combines telephone research with an online platform, which not only enables full control of the sample, but also produces a results analysis pretty much on the fly, and, critically, ensures complete respondent anonymity and GDPR compliance.

The benefits of asking your customers what they think provides an invaluable insight into what you should be doing to retain or capture their custom – so, yes, Customer Surveys have their place in your strategic business planning today and tomorrow.

It need not be expensive, but the benefits of having an independent, experienced market research partner design and conduct the surveys allows for a more open and honest interaction, produces more meaningful feedback and ensures you gain real insight. The results will enable you to accurately target those areas that will promote sales growth for the coming year. Anything else is guesswork.

Click here to find out more about our new Customer Survey package

An example

We were commissioned to undertake a study which particularly focussed on our customer’s Key Accounts (i.e. most valuable). The aim was to see if these extremely important clients were happy with the quality of service they were receiving, and, at our suggestion, we incorporated some questions to establish overall spend levels on our customer’s type of product, how many other suppliers were being used and how spend varied across those different suppliers. Our customer was staggered to discover that, in almost a third of their Key Accounts, they didn’t rate in the top 3 suppliers in terms of spend. Research also established why, and a strategic plan was developed to rectify the situation. Progress – and success – was then measured in subsequent studies.

Another one

One large industrial client asked us to research their existing and lapsed customers to see if there were any shortfalls in their product portfolio. That was easy but what was unexpected was that our customers perception of “lapsed customer” rarely matched the perception of the customer themselves. They generally felt that they were “live” customers but were being largely ignored. It was simply down to buying cycles NOT matching sales forecasting, but no one had ever asked. The result: a campaign was undertaken to refresh contact with all customers from the past several years resulting in a pool of new, prospective business opportunities that would otherwise have been missed entirely.

So, come on take the road not always taken – it can make all the difference! Need more convincing? Why not read: – ‘What do people think of your company?

If you’d like to know about our new Customer Survey package, please fill in the enquiry form below.

Did you know TJC has over 20 years’ experience of conducting tailor-made surveys to suit all types of businesses. If you need help please check out our website:

Audrey Fisher By Audrey Fisher | 23 March, 2018