Search Results

Describe your strengths and weaknesses for me. Don't worry. I'm not writing about how to ace a job interview. Although, this is one of those all-time favorite questions people like to ask job applicants. And the trick to giving a great interview is to twist and play with the English language to make your weakness sound like a positive trait. You know, something like, "Well, I've been told that my attention to detail can intimidate my co-workers because most of them do not possess the same level of detail." Puh-leeez!

Well, as a business owner or business development director, it's important to take an honest look at what your company is doing to increase sales, revenues and profitability. So, what are your strengths and weaknesses in your sales and marketing efforts?

It's important to understand your strengths and weaknesses so you know where, specifically, you need help. Let's start with a list of common SalesMarketing101 components:

Data & Data Management - Is your data in a spreadsheet that is rarely looked at or is it continuously updated and managed in a Contact Relationship Management (CRM) tool? I am constantly amazed at the number of successful companies I see that keep their customer contact data in a spreadsheet without any tracking system. This makes it very difficult to know what prior communications were with Prospects or Clients or what the next step should be. I've also seen companies that believe they have tapped into their entire market, but after doing some research it becomes apparent that they can easily expand their Prospects with proper data sourcing.

Defined Sales Processes - Do all of your prospects and clients have the same excellent experience with your company or does your team 'wing it' through a presentation? Do you have a written sales process and system for managing your pipeline?

Marketplace Definition - Do you pursue anyone with a pulse or do you have a profile of what your best clients look like and where they are? Could your business grow if your marketplace was better defined? This is also part of defining what sets of data to purchase. But, it also includes where you spend your time networking. I often meet Clients who spend hours each week networking in general business groups when they could get better recognition and results by targeting a few key industries and becoming recognized as the expert within those marketplaces.

Sales Personnel - Do you have a profiling method for hiring sales people or do you tend to employ people that end up costing your company a lot of time and money with little results? Just because someone seems energetic and friendly does not mean they will be a great producer. By using a few simple interviewing techniques (but NOT asking them goofy questions like, "What are your strengths and weaknesses?") combined with inexpensive profiling systems, you will have a higher likelihood of choosing the right person for your organization.

Marketing Collateral - When was the last time you updated your marketing materials (including printed sales brochures, letters and business web site)? If you can't remember, it's time to make some changes here.

Marketing Campaigns - Do you have a system for regularly communicating valuable information with your database? Once you have a successful system in place, you will be able to accurately estimate how much revenue you will generate with each email or mailing campaign.

Business Networking - What results are you getting from the current networking activities you do? Are there other networking and referral groups that could possibly make you more visible to the types of people who need to know about your business? Wouldn't that be a better use of your valuable time?

So, if you're truly honest about yourself and your business, where do you see some of your weaknesses in the list above? How much would it be worth to your business if you could measurably improve in those areas to increase your sales? Begin writing a plan today to convert your weaknesses into strengths. Once you begin to make some of these changes you should see your sales numbers improve.