“I can’t get my people all on the same page”.
One of the biggest complaints I hear from business owners is that they just can’t get their employees to take full ownership of their jobs. Most small business owners all make the same assumption: “My employees should feel just as passionate about the business as I do”. This assumption is generally promptly followed by the assumption that: “My employees should be willing to do whatever it takes to make the business successful”.
Just stop right there. Hold your horses! You’re the owner, you’re the boss. That means that your priorities and your employees priorities are not the same. What you consider success will not be what they consider success. Now what? There is a way around this pesky fact. There is a way to unite everyone toward a common goal.
Last week we talked about three things that business owners tell themselves that hurt their business. What does that have to do with employees? Motivation! The one thing that you share in common with your employees is the fact that you both want a pay raise. If your business is not sales focused it becomes very hard to determine when a rise is appropriate or what success is. Creating a sales centered organization fixes this problem. When every job and task is seen as a function of sales it becomes much easier to figure out how to improve, and who to reward.
Sales driven organizations see every employee and every job function as vital to the growth of the company. There is no differentiation between sales, support, customer service or even janitorial. Each role helps promote the growth of the company. A clean bathroom is just as important as good customer service when the goal is to create growth.
Let’s face it small businesses don’t have janitorial staff. It is the employee’s job. The problem is that the employees don’t see the importance of cleaning the bathroom so it falls on you to keep them clean, along with a hundred other little tasks that don’t seem “important” but all add up. Of course, these little tasks eat up your time preventing you from going out and selling. With a sales focused business employees understand that their success is based on the growth of the company. All of a sudden helping you free up your time to sell becomes objective # 1, both to you and to the staff. Your priorities shift to handing off the little things to the employees and the employees priorities shift to doing whatever it takes (even cleaning the bathroom) to insure that you are free to grow the business.
Another benefit of a sales driven organization is that it leaves no room for the status quo. Things like location and marketing are weaved into the overall sales strategy but they are never seen as the primary growth driver. In a sales driven organization location becomes a selling point, but it is never the sales strategy. Instead of opening the doors and waiting for people to wonder in, a sales driven organization is always asking the question, “how do we get in front of our customers”?
One way to get in front of customers is through marketing, but all that marketing does is gets your message out. If you and your employees don’t follow up with new prospects, or give new customers a reason to come back for a second, third, fourth time; the marketing effort fails. Many businesses see a quick bump is sales during a promotion, but they fail to create an ongoing sales strategy to take advantage of the increased activity. A sales focused organization uses marketing to drive traffic in, but they also have a plan in place to capture the traffic and encourage repeat business.
Obviously each one of these topics can be expanded on. Today’s article is not about all the details, but it is designed to help you start changing your mind set. The actual strategies come later. The first step is to realize that no matter what your business is, it must be sales focused in order to grow. Most of the issues you face, rather they are lack of employee commitment, loss of a customer base, or failure of your marketing, can all be improved by turning your whole organization into a sales machine.
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