It’s important for any company to achieve increased in profitability. However, a key source of profits is sales; without sales growth, profits will ultimately decline. A former executive at a large US group, quoted by the Financial Times, said “You cannot conjure profits out of thin air. Without increases in revenues, it is difficult to sustain profit growth.”
It’s obvious from recent quarterly earnings reports that major corporations, within the Dow and S&P, are highly skilled and successful at cutting expenses and reporting higher profits. What is also obvious is that sales growth is a lot more difficult to attain in this uneven economy.
To achieve an increase in sales you must take away market share, which is clearly difficult. That is where an effective sales organization will earn its’ keep, and that is when a customer asks for my help. The approach I take uses my business education and practical experience in sales, operations and marketing to help a customer solve a problem or take advantage of an opportunity.
So how many ways are there to win markets share? The two that immediately come to mind are increasing your share of wallet with an existing customer and wining new customer(s).
Winning a new customer in this economic environment is the more challenging, generally speaking. So let’s talk about increasing your share of wallet, the low hanging fruit. I am defining increasing your share of wallet as selling or providing more services and products to an existing customer. In my experience the best place to start is by getting to know your customer better. Warning! Make certain you choose, the “right” customer to pursue; just don’t choose any customer.
I remember early in my sales career, when I pursued the share of wallet strategy. I was brand new to the company and was given one existing customer. Having completed my on-boarding process, my boss asked me to prepare and present my territory sales strategy.
I remember my boss telling me as I left that meeting was to be careful not to invest too much time in increasing share of wallet with my one existing customer. I heard him but I didn’t listen. So I put a significant amount of time and energy into increasing our share of wallet. We increase share of wallet with that one customer by 50%. However, the time I invested far exceeded the value of this increase. One reason for my efforts is that it felt easier to increase share of wallet than winning a new customer
I did not make that mistake a second time.
What’s your experience in growing share of wallet?