The Marketing and Sales How And what

Like many entrepreneurs, the founder of my company hadn't believed in sharing financial information with his employees. We received monthly sales reports, and the bonus program for managers depended on profits. I knew that profits depended on sales, and sales interested me insofar as it pleased me to see. I wrote actually sold. However, sales seemed magical to me; I had no way to predict them. More important, I didn't think I could affect them in any immediate way. I eagerly awaited the accountant's proclamation at the end of each year—to find out whether I'd get a bonus. I had no clue how I personally could impact sales.

The Marketing and Sales How And what

The Marketing and Sales How And what

Like many entrepreneurs, the founder of my company hadn't believed in sharing financial information with his employees. We received monthly sales reports, and the bonus program for managers depended on profits. I knew that profits depended on sales, and sales interested me insofar as it pleased me to see. I wrote actually sold. However, sales seemed magical to me; I had no way to predict them. More important, I didn't think I could affect them in any immediate way. I eagerly awaited the accountant's proclamation at the end of each year—to find out whether I'd get a bonus. I had no clue how I personally could impact sales.

When I became CEO, I found that trying to boost sales was hard, but I de­veloped a number of steps you can take to make your forecasts more ac­curate. In my case, I did the following things:

  • I listed all the products we sold, from the biggest revenue earner to the least; I then made the same list using our customer data. I was eventually able to calculate the profitability for each product and each customer. This became my company's guide as to which products to sell most aggressively, and to which customers.
  • We discontinued products where we were unable to reduce costs or raised prices where we thought the market would allow it. Some programs worked well, others didn't work at all.
  • We closely tracked all our marketing efforts and duplicated those that worked well in tests.
  • We constantly tested new approaches; and we worked out kinks in marketing, production, and fulfillment.
  • We refined and simplified our corporate vision and mission statements.
  • We began to develop offshoots of our most successful products.
  • We paid close attention to what our largest customers liked and didn't like and constantly improved our existing products. This resulted in a doubling of our sales in a few short years.
  • We simplified our reports and key indicators, focusing them on things of importance and ridding them of everything else. These had started out unnecessarily complex, based on imprecise for­mulas and assumptions. The longer we used them, the more basic they became.
  • Finally, personally, I had to train myself to understand how the business was doing on a daily basis. Equally important, I had to make sure the other employees knew how the business was doing so that they would work toward the objectives we developed. I discuss tactics for motivating your employees and communicat­ing your goals.