Getting your startup off the ground can be daunting. There is a lot to do, and it’s hard to do alone. And then there is business growth — being able to scale and expand. Some of the hardest challenges businesses face are around this topic of growth. It takes more than just making money. You need the right people, vendors, technology, and more.
Phil Gerbyshak is a speaker, sales expert, corporate sales trainer, and small business coach. Phil trains his clients on the power of connection, leveraging the reach of social media, and the deeply personal work of nurturing one-on-one relationships. This work leads to business growth and profitable, long-term clients as well as transforming businesses and boosting revenue. He sat down with Ramon (virtually, of course) to discuss sales, scaling, and growth. But, did you know there is a difference between growth and scaling? We were pretty surprised too! The key is to do it properly, or else it could backfire.
1. Are You Ready for Business Growth?
So let’s create the ideal candidate for business growth, a $2 million company.
A company like this most likely has a founder, someone who understands the business extremely well. Probably someone who’s got a great idea. Usually, there’s one other founder or one other person on the senior leadership side.
They probably also have a couple of people to help with operations, two to 10 employees. So far the business has been working. They’ve been out hustling, trying to do as many sales pitches as possible. But frankly, it isn’t going to scale.
They’ve got to spend more time casting a vision to grow the business. They’re goal-oriented and thinking, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could go from $2 million to $10 million? If we could go from two to 15, two to 20, two to 25, then we could go from five to $25 million.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could go from $2 million to $10 million?
2. What Should Sales Look Like?
Now if we believe we are ready for growing our business, how do we scale it? We have to make more sales, but how does that happen? You can take the direct to consumer approach, set up a great website, and hope that it drives demand and sales. But that most of the time you’ll need some outbound sales as well.
Phil also explains how you need to be a problem solver and know how to switch things up:
“You’ve got some smarts and then a solution. You have to be able to solve the problem. If you combine the two of those, you can be successful. But organizations, often they have the solution, but they only know maybe one to five use cases. They can’t imagine if they had 10, 20, 50 use cases, how much bigger their sales would grow. Because frankly, they’re talking to people just like them. They’re solving problems that they had with people just like them.”
3. Who is selling in your organization?
Another important question to ask is: who is involved in selling within your business? Is it the CEO? Was it accidental? Is it someone’s family member that’s helping out? And is that their highest and best use? If you think about it, the CEO would naturally be the best salesperson because it’s probably their vision. But that’s not feasible. Business growth can’t happen from the guy running the show.
You don’t have to be the loudest guy, but try being the most persistent guy who adds the most value. Because whether or not you ever do business together, you should want to know that you added value.
4. Are you getting any inbound leads?
What’s coming in from your website? Are you getting inbound calls? And not just your cell number, but do you actually have a phone number with a couple of people that you could actually reach through that same phone number? A real sales system has that, and that allows for inbound leads.
Inbound leads are what help your company scale in a natural and organic way. When leads come to you, they are cheaper and sometimes better quality. Why? Because someone reaching out to you needs your product or service. They are already in the buying funnel. For outbound leads, you could be reaching out to people who are not yet ready to purchase.
[Tweet “The number one job, the first job of a sales professional, is to qualify if the lead can even buy from you.”]
“You might be getting a thousand leads a day, but are they just a thousand suspects of people who think you’re cool and want to download your stuff? Or are they people that could actually buy from you? Are you qualifying? How are you qualifying people? Do you even have a qualification process?”
5. Do your leads consist of quality customers?
Phil reminds us that it’s not just about quantity. Seasoned sales professionals know that the goal is to call the right customer, not just hit your call quota. You want to have the right conversation and get that customer qualified. The number one job, the first job of a sales professional, is to qualify if the lead can even buy from you.
Some questions to ask when analyzing your leads:
- Does the prospect have a problem you can solve?
- Does the prospect have the authority to buy?
- Is there a budget?
- Is there a timeframe?
If you’re solving a problem that you could only solve once, you probably don’t need a sales team. This is again why quality is way more important than quantity. And to follow that idea, we want value over volume. Every touch that your sales team has cannot be circling back to the same spot.
Phil said it’s possible to get a lot of referrals from people you’ve never even worked with. But it’s key to still add value. The value should always be the first priority. With that mindset, the sales will follow.
So what were your answers to these questions? Is your business ready right now for high growth?