Following the very successful ‘Helping SMEs Build Resilience’ training sessions delivered by HEED, we’ve reached out to Ali Shour, Consultant at HEED to share with us his top 10 tips for SMEs in the realm of revenue growth.
The ‘Helping SMEs Build Resilience Program’ was launched by Berytech under The Rapid Response and Recovery Programme, led by Youth Business International (YBI) and funded by Google.org, to support underserved micro, small and medium businesses to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
The following set of guidelines can provide SMEs with a coherent approach on how to implement certain aspects within their sales strategy and direct organizations to strategically position their products/services in a marketplace with the end-goals of better knowing and serving their customers and achieving desired profits.
- Outline your goals and objectives
A clear outline of your short and long-term vision is necessary for effective and sustainable company-specific growth. To run an organization with no clear targets in mind is a recipe for failure, so embrace objectives, organize up frequent team meetings, cross- compare your current performance with desired objectives – whether financial ones or growth ones – and subject to the outcome, re-allocate your resources and efforts appropriately to direct your organization back to the desired path.
- Identify your product/service offerings
Always have a structured list of products and services that you are planning to sell to end consumers. Do not limit yourself to the ones that you have already developed; brainstorm other products/services you can co-sell with existing ones – for instance – different sized products, a variety of flavor-oriented products, or new items you can cross-sell with existing ones.
- Recognize your target customers
As an organization, it is practically impossible to sell your products/services to everyone
– hence – it is essential to narrow down your perspective to a particular target audience in bids to enable salesforce teams to appropriately allocate their efforts toward the most promising customer segment(s) and promote more effective marketing efforts in return.
- Define your customer persona
A customer persona provides an organization with a 360-degree overview of the characteristics of those most likely to acquire your products and/or services – your prospective customers. These traits are centered around the demographics (e.g. age, income, marital status …) and psychographics (e.g. lifestyles, interests, attitudes …), thus enabling organizations to obtain an archetype of their ideal customers. This customer model enables sales teams to allocate their resources and capabilities to customers who believe your product/service brings them the most value.
Furthermore, the customer persona can then be utilized by your salesforce team to understand their buying process, pain points, projected gains and how is this particular product/service providing value to the customer.
The creation of persona(s) usually takes time and is achieved through multiple rounds of experimentation – notably through surveys, research, and interviews.
- Derive your value proposition
Once your customer needs/preferences are identified, you are able to determine how your product/service is able to fulfill them. The extent to which your product/service can satisfy these needs allows an organization to craft its tailored value proposition hence differentiating yourself from competitors. From an internal point of view, salesforce teams are then better able to engage with prospective customers and provide them with solutions aimed at tackling these needs.
- Adopt a pricing model
Nowadays, customers are quite price-sensitive when it comes to products & services, with price being one of the top differentiators amongst customers. Study the different pricing schemes – cost-based, competition-based, and value-based – and then appropriately set your price point based on these benchmarks. Adopt surveys when it comes to determining the value-based price, while for competition-based pricing, ensure your chosen competition serves the same customer segment. Consider cost-based pricing as a starting point but never as a long-lasting pricing solution.
- Motivate and reward your sales team
The efforts of your sales team should be appropriately rewarded to ensure consistency and dedication in their long-term performance. You should allocate Key Performance Indicators, KPIs, to provide an overview of the targets set towards each sales team member and in return, if this target is optimally met, financially reward him/her based on a commission scheme. This set-up significantly motivates your sales team and enables them to strive for more whether it was formed with 1 member or more.
- Customer Reach
Expand your customer base; do not limit yourselves to one segment of customers. Organizations can target different customer segments, and within each one, further segments exist. Hence, the outcome can result in the creation of multiple consumer personas that will allow you to better understand their needs and in return, allow you to craft a value proposition to each one. This is a win-win for you and can be a game-changer in revenue growth.
- Align your sales team with the marketing team
Your marketing and sales team are both responsible to drive revenue growth and meet mutual goals; so, embrace a unified working arrangement rather than separate business functions. Whether it comes down to agreeing on consumer personas or creating personalized content for a particular consumer, alignment between these two functions is a must.
- Know your route to market (or Go to Market)
Explore different distribution channels to bring your product/service into the market; do not limit yourselves to one channel. After identifying your customers, create a comprehensive list of potential channels you can utilize to reach the customer then map out the pros and cons of each model before assessing the feasibility of each one factoring in current industry-specific distribution trends and your financial limits.
Finally, as an SME leader, do not be swamped in the tactical and small operational problems but rather focus on the big picture and formula to grow your business exponentially.
About the Author
Ali Shour is a consultant at HEED with experience in helping startups and SMEs in training and coaching in different areas of industries and business maturity levels in sales growth and marketing management. In addition, his role is crucial in analysis and execution phases of large enterprise projects when it comes to sales analytics, and pricing. Prior to this step, Ali graduated from Imperial College London and was a Partner and Co-Founder of WANOWI, an innovative online B2C e-commerce platform that connects streetwear buyers & sellers across the MENA region.