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Everyone wants more sales, and most sales people complain that they don’t have a big enough budget to get them. Limited ammunition to hit your targets can actually help you focus, and focus is your friend.

What gets in the way? Well, over time, businesses settle into established ways of doing things. Thus, if they need to double their sales, they figure they will need a major increase in their sales resources. Similarly, if marketing and sales budgets get cut, they presume results will decline as well. In order to break out of this thinking, you need some fresh ideas and someone to challenge your thinking to stimulate new responses.

Here are a dozen proven steps that have helped businesses large and small gain better sales results.

  1. Zero in on your target. With limited ammunition, you need to go for rifle shots not shotgun blasts. This requires a very clear, laser-like focus on your ideal customer. The more precisely you can target the prospects, the easier they will be to hit. You can’t afford distractions.
  2. Go for the low-hanging fruit. Who is most ready, willing, and able to buy? These are prospects with a compelling need and the fewest hurdles to action.
    For example, a business offering novel mobile communications services targeted people already using email on their smartphones. Thus, the only new element for these prospects was mobile access for the new app. The company could easily reach and support these prospects.
  3. Pursue centers of influence that can multiply your sales efforts. Who are the key people in your market others follow? These people can ignite interest and build word-of-mouth referrals that are so important to leveraging your sales dollars.
  4. Focus on high-margin opportunities. You can lower your revenue targets and get the same profits when you find the people with the greatest need for your product or service. They will pay prices as much as 50% higher than the market overall. Often, their needs represent more than enough demand for what you can deliver.
  5. Look for schools of fish. Unless just a few large contracts or repeat customers will make your sales target, find concentrations of customers. Where do they congregate? Identify the seminars, conferences, and other gatherings they attend. It’s a lot easier to meet people there than to chase after each prospect individually.
  6. Deputize others to help you get business. Who are the scouts or guides who can help you find the prospects? Think of it as a missing person search. Give them a written description of who you are trying to reach, where they are likely to be, and how to contact you when they find them. Develop a map of where the prospects might be and be sure you have coverage in the most likely sectors. Arrange regular check-in times to get reports from your scouts. When prospects look hot, redouble resources in that area.
  7. Get start-up company marketing whizzes to brainstorm with you. How do they get results on slim budgets? Who would be your dream team to give insights and support? Call them.
  8. Create a sense of urgency to close. What is compelling prospects to give you attention now and respond now? If some aren’t ready, set them aside and move on as quickly as possible. There’s no time for maybes. You’re going for the sure shots.
  9. Stimulate and use free marketing resources. Highlight what is novel and newsworthy about your business. Create a buzz in the media (web sites, trade journals, etc.) about your business and what it has to offer.
  10. Develop your game plan and work backward from the target date. Give yourself time to see how the first shots land so that you can adjust your aim.
  11. Double your sales goal. It frequently takes longer or requires more effort to reach sales goals than we plan. Doubling the goal stimulates the kind of planning and scale of thinking needed to bring in the desired results. It also focuses on ways to leverage the sales efforts.
  12. Imagine you had no resources to market. What would you do? If nothing else, it will make you feel better about the few resources you have.

Sales and marketing–even with severe constraints–can be a fun and very profitable endeavor.

About Don Maruska

As a founder and CEO of three Silicon Valley companies, venture investor, and recipient of the National Innovators Award, Don writes, speaks, and coaches from a broad base of experience » Learn More

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