Does your small business seem stuck on a plateau?

Friday Funnel Focus by EPOCH Sales Management Solutions

In 2009, as a partner in a sales training firm, I kept seeing small business owners, who started their own small business with some special skill or expertise.  Between that skill or expertise, their passion and desire to pay the bills, they grew their business to a certain level and seem to hit a plateau.  Have you ever experienced that?  They appeared to need CFO help, Sales Management help or both.  At that moment I knew that I wanted to create a business to help other business owners like them. I started that business in late 2012 to help small businesses scale from under $5 Million in revenue to $10 Million and beyond.

In 2022, Tad McIntosh, as a panelist on a webinar that I hosted, said he thought the most challenging hire for a small business owner was their FIRST SUCCESSFUL salesperson.  It dawned on me that Tad was right and that he identified one of the biggest reasons, if not the biggest reason,  so many small business owners get STUCK ON A PLATEAU.  They muddle along with “B” and “C” salespeople, at best, cycling through multiple “D” players.


First, let’s review a couple of things from last week’s blog article,  3 Critical Hires for a Small Business Owners

We covered 7 Steps to Launch that first SUCCESSFUL Salesperson in that article. You can click on the link above to review those specifics. Bottom line is that you need to be intentional about what you are looking for and make sure you are picking someone that can fill that role.  You also need to be prepared to onboard them on how to sell your products or services into your market.  Lastly, be prepared to lead, coach and develop them to be successful at selling in your business.

We stated that in order to do this, your business needs to be “sales team ready”.  As a small business owner, you need sales.  You need someone committed 100% to selling.  Most small business owners can’t afford a full time sales manager who is committed to first building a sales team. Most successful small business owners own this process. Many get help from Sales Management Consultants that guide them on how to make their business sales team ready.

Last week, we also mentioned 4 Requirements to Make Your Business Sales Team Ready.

Here are the items we discussed:

  • Get the strategy right - Focus on the Right Things
      1. Get the Messaging Right
      2. Align the Sales Strategy
      3. Get the Targeting Right
      4. Promote a New Business Development Mindset
      5. Measure What Matters
  • Process to Build a Healthy Sales Pipeline using multiple New Opportunity Processes
      1. Grow Existing Clients
      2. Intentional Networking and Referrals
      3. Intentional Marketing to grow engaged contacts
      4. Multi-Touch, Multi-Channel Targeted Sales Outreach
      5. Speak about your Thought Leadership
  • Process to Win More Deals - Converting those opportunities
      1. Prepare and Open Sales Calls
      2. Discovery and Qualification
      3. Present, Propose and Close
  • Process to set up Sales CRM for Success
    1. Model Selling Process in Pipeline to track opportunities
    2. Build filtered contact or company views/lists to track lead process
    3. Be intentional with objects, records and properties to build an effective database
    4. Optimize sales activities through Sales CRM
    5. Build reports and dashboard to track progress
    6. Automate, where possible

Look at your current situation.  Here are some steps to consider.

  • SWOT Analysis - Many small businesses conduct a SWOT analysis to review their current situation. We recommend a Six Factor SWOT Analysis from Jeremey Donovan and Marylou Tyler in their book, Predictable Prospecting.  It helps alleviate bias from near term memory and help you be more complete on your SWOT analysis.
  • Define Roles and Responsibilities - We recommend the Accountability Chart process in Gino Wickman’s book, Traction, to help define needed Roles and Responsibilities for now and in the near future for your business.
  • Evaluate Needed Sales Role - Which Sales Role is what you need right now.
    • Account Executive - Win new business at new accounts
    • Account Manager - Maintain and grow business at existing accounts
    • Sales Development Rep - Create new opportunities
    • Sales Date Specialist - Clean up data on prospect lists


More information is available here: Which Sales Role Should You Hire Next?

Where do you want to go and what is keeping you from getting there?

  • Where do you want to go? You are the best person to answer that question.  
  • What is keeping you from getting there? You may know the answer to this question or part of the answer. It may help to get someone to guide you through this analysis to see what is holding you back that you are not seeing.

Recommend that you think about what sales role you enjoy? Which role is best suited for you right now? Which role is the right gap to fill for your business right now.

What do you need now?

Initially, what you need is sales! So,hire someone 100% focused on growing sales and a sales management consultant to help you part time to get your business sales team ready and how to grow the right person on your team in the right sales role.  Down the road, you can bring in the right sales manager to fine tune your sales strategy, sales processes, sales tools as they lead, coach and develop your sales people.


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While growing Small Businesses and Building Great Sales Teams is hard, the process to do this is simple. But, simple does not mean easy. 


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August 5th, 2023|Categories: | |

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