illustration: jozefmicic

If you have a good company that does good work, provides good customer service and has knowledgeable representatives and account managers, you should have no shortage of sales. Yet companies struggle to get the sales they expect. As we enter peak selling season, let’s look at common obstacles that stand in the way.

1. You’re bogged down by the sheer number of proposals

Sales reps and account managers become so involved with proposals, estimating and content creation that they can’t do anything else. In my company, we improved account manager morale and increased productivity and turnaround by expanding our proposal team to include our estimator and landscape architect. To simplify execution, we repurpose our best proposals and pull from a well-organized inventory of graphic files and target market data. Our customers love it because we show them what we can do and how well we do it, and how much we respect their time by being prompt.

2. Capacity and backlog

Keeping sales and operations in balance is a constant struggle. Make sure that information between departments is shared which helps account and production teams satisfy delivery objectives and become less overwhelmed. Taking some of the load off the account managers having to do all the work frees them up to sell more.

3. No clarity around unique value proposition

Your value proposition is not a one-size-fits-all understanding of what your customer values. Each customer segment (HOAs, commercial, hospitals, schools, etc.) benefits differently from the services you offer. Ask your customers what matters most, and spend time to understand their perspective and priorities so you can anticipate what and when they need it.

4. You’ve lost track of how your customers buy

Customer buying preferences are changing. Selling successfully requires that you address and eliminate obsolete messaging that has lost its relevance. Generations, genders and demographic groups each respond differently to your message and each have a separate list of things that keep them up at night. Improve selling by understanding the uniqueness of your customer, their business model and budgeting cycle, and sell to them the way they and their businesses want to buy.

5. Lack of documentation

In this day and age, “fast beats slow.” Invest your resources in technology to streamline processes. Cloud-based tools and systems track customer activity and help you to see what’s working. They will also improve your opportunity pipeline at every stage. The more you know about your customer, the better you can sell to them. The better your workflow and reporting systems, the easier it will be to generate revenue.

Bruce Wilson is principal of green industry consulting firm Bruce Wilson & Company.