What SMBs are Neglecting


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What SMBs are Neglecting: Experts Weigh In

The demands on small business owners and management can be overwhelming. There is so much to do and only so many hours in the day. From tracking sales, to marketing, to maintaining client relationships, managing staff, and about a million other tasks — something is almost always being neglected.

To help sort through it all, we’ve reached out to a panel of small business and sales experts and asked them all a single question: “What is one thing that many SMBs are neglecting and shouldn’t be? “

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What SMBs are Neglecting

  2. 2. Follow-up.Chances are, when you first contact or meet a potential client Ian Brodie they’re not going to be ready to buy right now. Partly it’s timing – probably Ian Brodie helps consultants, coaches and other professionals to attract and win more clients. He writes the award winning More Clients blog, and recently released his Pain Free Marketing approach to getting more clients without the pain and expense of traditional marketing. the issue or need isn’t big enough for them yet. And partially it’s because you haven’t built up enough credibility and trust yet for them to feel comfortable hiring you.It may be 3 months, 6 months, 9 months or more before they’re ready to buy. And when they are, if you haven’t followed up, if you haven’t kept in touch and built your credibility and trust – then it won’t be you they reach out to.But if you keep in touch. if you keep adding value – doing useful stuff for them (rather than just nagging to see if they’re ready to buy) then when they’re ready, they’ll turn to you.Unfortunately, most SMBs don’t do this. They give up if someone isn’t ready to buy straight away. As a result, they’re always chasing new hot leads – rather than closing the big deals that have warmed up over time. 2
  3. 3. In a tight economy, it’s important to “skeptic-proof” your business. I think Julie Steelman SMB’s need to re-fine their sweet spot and get more clear about their Julie Steelman’s former clients read like a Who’s Who of big-name corporate giants with Apple, Microsoft, Toyota, CBS, Sony Studios and Universal Pictures in her rolodex. She generated more than $100+ million in sales during her 30-year sales career. Julie is the author of The Effortless Yes! and is known as The Sales, Success & Bankability Mentor. 3 specialties and unique offerings. Make sure the salesforce knows exactly how to tell the story and get busy elevating customer relationships with it.
  4. 4. Thanks for viewing! Nice find! You're well on your way to becoming a sales machine. Now be a friend and share this resource with hundreds of your closest Internet pals.
  5. 5. Financial Statements: One of the top areas of neglect for entrepreneurs is Carol Roth in financial statements. Many small business owners don’t pay attention Carol Roth is a business strategist, deal maker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She has helped her clients, ranging from solopreneurs to multinational corporations, raise more than $1 billion in capital, complete more than $750 million worth of M&A transactions, secure high-profile to financial statements or worse yet, don’t even do them on a regular basis. In fact, a lot of business owners think credit card and checking account statements qualify as financial statements (or worse, don’t know licensing and partnership deals and create million dollar brand the difference between a 401k plan and a 5K run). Being lazy or ignorant loyalty programs. in this area can spell ruin for business owners. Financial statements can show you what is working and what isn’t, where expenses are running amok and even cash flow issues. If you don’t understand the financial statements, hire someone else to do them and to teach you what to look for. Ignoring your financial statements can put your business in serious jeopardy. 4
  6. 6. Most businesses today are neglecting the importance of knowing their Liz Strauss own values. Values define how we make our decisions. If we know our Liz Strauss is a Brand Strategist, Community Builder, Founder of SOBCon. She blogs at LizStrauss.com and Successful-Blog.com values, we can identify our ideal employees and our ideal customers. An extreme example, if my highest value is simply growing the bottom line, I want to people who share that value, because then I can trust that their decisions will be based on making money. When our values are aligned we don’t have to explain why we’re doing things. Values drive the mission that keeps all of a business going in the same direction. Steve Jobs valued different thinking that brought art to technology and held that expectation to every product, partner, and employee. In turn that attracted customers who shared those values. Your values are the key to customer loyalty. 5
  7. 7. Focusing on buyers who would give them the best return on time Bob Urichuck invested. They spend 80% of their time of buyers who give them 20% of Bob Urichuck is an International Professional Speaker, Trainer and Author of two best selling books “Up Your Bottom Line” and “Disciplined for Life: You are the Author of Your Future.” Bob has been recognized as Consummate Speaker of the year and ranked #7 in the World’s top 30 Sales Gurus. 6 their revenues, instead of 80% of their time on buyers who give them 80% of their revenues. Targeting for R.O.T.I.
  8. 8. It is the combination of ROI and helping others (building community too) Elinor Stutz that builds a truly dynamic business. My observation is that most men Elinor Stutz, CEO of Smooth Sale, LLC authored the International Best-Selling book, “Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building That Gets Results”, Sourcebooks and the best selling career book, “HIRED! How to Use Sales Techniques to Sell Yourself On Interviews”, Career Press. She provides team sales training, primarily focus on their own ROI, while women primarily focus on their passion and how to make this a better world. Perfection would be the meeting of the male and female minds! Having interviewed a number of private coaching and highly acclaimed inspirational keynotes for entrepreneurs who faced devastating circumstances that would have conferences. caused most to quit, they instead chose to build up communities as they built themselves up from literally nothing. By helping others as they advanced and remaining true to their belief in success not only did they see incredible advancement and ROI but very loyal communities further helping to advance their business. 7
  9. 9. Customer satisfaction should be their most important issue.Time and Jacques Werth resources, for everything else, should be systematically allocated on daily Jacques Werth is President of High Probability Selling, Inc – a sales consulting and training company founded in 1989 . The company specializes in sales process improvement. They have trained salespeople, sales managers, consultants, and business owners in over 70 industries. 8 and weekly bases depending on their importance, i.e. sales and marketing, design, production, administration, shipping, record keeping and profitability analysis, etc.
  10. 10. I have seen SMB businesses fail on many fronts, but the ONE thing I Ken Thoreson often see is the failure to create a “prescriptive approach” to their Ken Thoreson, Acumen Management Group, Ltd. president, is a sales leadership professional who “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes to pull sales results out of thedoldrums into the fresh zone of predictable revenue. His blog, Your Sales Management Guru, has been rated in the top 10 sales blogs in the United States business. Each aspect of your business must be documented and each action by each employee should be clearly defined. This would not only include the purpose of their job, but also a documented approach as to how to do their particular job.When SMB owners and their employees “wing it”, we see lost dollars, rework, and customer dissatisfaction. As you add employees or hire new ones, this documentation will make it easier to train them and in many situations, when we do this, we will find better ways to improve the process. 9
  11. 11. SMB’s make the mistake of not nurturing their employees. Coincidentally, Dan Waldschmid t Dan Waldschmidt is at war with conventional sales thinking. His Edgy Conversations have turned hundreds of companies into rockstar businesses and the Wall Street Journal calls his blog one of the” Top 7 sales blogs” anywhere in the world. He’s on a mission to empower millions of high-performers all over the globe. You might call him “an ordinary dude with an outrageous vision”. 10 uninspired talent is the single biggest reason why small businesses fail. Keeping an agile team of flexible workers mentally healthy is key to them stay motivated and high performers — and you growing your business fast and profitably. It might seem “kooky” to provide therapy for your team, but it’s the best benefit you could ever deliver.
  12. 12. Selecting, building and developing the right people. The reason seems to Harlan Goerger be a short sighted view of addressing short term needs rather than long Harlan Goerger has spent the last 25 years leading hundreds of his client’s companies to expansive revenue growth. He is the author of “The Selling Gap” and “Bypassing NO in Business” and spent 20 years as a sales leader with Dale Carnegie Associates. term growth needs. Lets hire someone who costs less and see if they stick around. So many times I’ve seen this happen and the outcomes were not pretty. Poor performance, increased cost, costly errors and short term employment. 11
  13. 13. Small businesses tend to (not always, but quite often) have poor or no Lori Richardson processes in place to track potential customers and set next actions with them. They nearly never have a surefire system in place to track strategic Veteran Sales Detective Lori Richardson sifts through sales clues and business practices to uncover hidden problems and assets, then delivers creative tactics with a fresh approach so you can Score More Sales. She is a sought after speaker, prolific blogger, partners – those individuals and companies who can refer multiple opportunities their way. This is crazy because in the case of tracking sales trainer and multi-million dollar producer, and President of potential customers (prospects), it takes multiple impressions and Score More Sales – a sales strategy firm. connections to build trust to bring business to closure. Therefore, just by setting next actions and following up more, a company can grow business in a most simple manner. In the case of being proactive with strategic referrers, well this is the best type of business to get – referral business. When someone refers a potential client your way, they are already more qualified because a trusted person or company that they know recommended you and your business. This means a shorter sale cycle, and even more referrals when you do a good job. 12
  14. 14. SMBs are neglecting building deeper client relationships. This is terribly Diane Helbig dangerous and stems from any one of a couple of places. Some SMBs Diane Helbig is an internationally recognized business and leadership development coach, author, speaker, and radio show host. She is the author of Lemonade Stand Selling and founder of Seize This Day Coaching. think that their clients know everything the SMB offers and will call if they need anything. Others are so focused on bringing in new clients that they neglect current clients. And still others think their clients are happy and will call when they need something.Why is this so dangerous? For starters, SMBs need to know what’s going on with their clients. Do they need anything? How are things going? Are they growing? Shrinking? Implementing new initiatives? Knowledge is power. When you know what’s going on with your clients you can help them, thereby increasing your value. Secondly, you can’t assume that your clients know all you do. Chances are good that they only thing your clients heard was the solution to their current problem. It’s your job to continue building the relationship and uncovering opportunities. And possibly most importantly, your clients want to know that you value their business. If you aren’t staying in contact with them, how will they know that? So, SMBs owe it to themselves to continuously nurture the relationships with their current clients. That’s a place where more business easily occurs – fulfilling the need for more revenue. 13
  15. 15. Many are not harnessing the true power of the internet social media. Sean McPheat More and more decision makers are turning to the internet and social Managing Director of MTD Sales Training, Sean McPheat is regarded as a thought leader on modern day selling. Sean has been featured on CNN, ITV, BBC, SKY, Forbes, Arena Magazine and has over 250 other media credits to his name. Sean’s latest book “eselling® – How to use the internet & social media for media to complete their research as they like to be in control of their purchasing decisions more now than they have done in the past and that’s down to the availability of information via the internet. They can prospecting, personal branding, networking and for engaging the c- research information on the products and services that they are suite decision maker” is a #1 Amazon bestseller. interested in, they can find out about your company, they can even download your company accounts! They can look at review sites and then they can go on over to your competitors website and do exactly the same thing.So you need to be using the internet yourself to even up the odds. For B2B sales there is no better decision making database in the world than LinkedIn. You should also be using Twitter, Facebook pages and a blog for distributing information and content. Companies like to deal with experts so the more you can position yourself as an expert and trusted advisor via the internet, the better. 14
  16. 16. Many small business owners don’t spend enough time networking. While Alyssa Gregory finding the time necessary to attend networking events, conferences and Alyssa Gregory is a small business collaborator and the founder of the Small Business Bonfire, a social, educational and collaborative community that provides small business help to entrepreneurs. meetings is an undeniable challenge for most of us, investing time in networking is almost always worth it. Those who make networking a priority are able to expand their networks faster, find more productive collaboration opportunities, learn more about the competition and the industry, and think more strategically and objectively about their businesses. 15
  17. 17. SMB’s feel that they can relegate Marketing to the bottom of their list, Sue Watkins especially during hard times. This is a myth, as marketing your business Sue Watkins has spent the last 20+ years developing marketing strategies and campaigns. She also founded SMBmarketer.com and authors the blog Smart Marketing Basics and tweets regularly about small business marketing topics at @SMB_marketer is key to long-term, sustainable growth. Just as you must continually invest in new products and services, you should invest in acquiring new customer prospects, nurturing them over time, and eventually converting them into customers. 16