The Jan/San industry is a busy market. Finding new growth opportunities can be a mammoth task. There are things you can do to ensure your sales stay strong and profits soar. We have put together a few hints and tips to get you thinking about changes that you can implement to establish a successful sales pipeline.
Tip 1: Understand your products, it can be difficult
It may seem obvious but not many businesses truly understand all of their product lines. From our experience of working in the Jan/San market, we find that very few businesses know exactly which products give them the most profit, are best sellers, contribute to another sale or are losing traction amongst customers.
With many competitors all trying to undercut you on price you need to know which products you should or shouldn’t be pushing. Your back-office systems and, CRM system (if you have one) may not be up to the job of accurately predicting your customer’s buying behavior. Plus, they may struggle to give you those all-important timely reports to make better business decisions.
What can you do?
Delve into the depths of your business and surely enough you’ll find all the data you need. The problem is when you try to put this data into a manageable format, in which to act upon. Ditch Excel, forget manually trying to process all your data because it isn’t going to work. Instead look at a sales or business intelligence solution that works with your back office data and creates sales reports automatically. You will save time and money as well as ensuring your sales people have timely customer reports to follow up on so you never miss selling opportunities.
Once your reports are created, look at what products give you the best margin. Then you can maximize your profits by seeing where they fit with other best-selling products. For example, who has purchased mops but no cleaning fluid to go with it in the past month? Mops may be a good seller for you but offer limited profit margin, where as cleaning fluid may give you the margins you desire. With this information it is easy for your sales people to cross-sell additional product lines or undercut competitors on a lower cost item as you know you’ll retrieve the profits from the other product.
Don’t forget the power of the smartphone or tablet either. These are vital tools for a sales person, especially if they need to receive customer reports whilst out and about. Simply connect them to your IT systems and give your sales people all the customer information they will ever need to maximize your share of wallet.
|Implement a sales and business intelligence tool to manage your data
|Create top level, simple reports on leading product lines to act upon
|Maximize profitability by cross-selling additional products
|Use technology. Smartphones and tablets are here to help
Tip 2: Retention, retention, retention
If you think the only way to grow your business is through acquiring new customers then, sorry, you are wrong. It costs 7 times more to gain a new customer than keep an existing one. The happier and more valued your customer feels, the more likely they will repeat purchases and increase spend.
There are only so many customers in the Jan/San market so every one you keep will be one less going to one of your competitors.
What can you do?
Firstly, you need to know your 80/20 split. Find out which customers make up 80% of your sales, generally this will come from 20% of your base. Once you know who they are you can spend more time with these accounts, nurturing more sales, keeping them happy and retaining them for longer. From our experience in the Jan/San market we find most businesses give equal precedence to every customer. As nice as this sounds it is not ideal and you need to give preferential treatment.
Technology in business today has altered the way we work, some good, some bad. Better telecommunications, faster Internet connections and more communication channels have made a lot of companies faceless. At the end of the day, people still buy from people, so build up trust and meet customers in person.
If you haven’t already you should consider customer intelligence software. By implementing this type of system you’ll be able spot cross-selling, up-selling and link-selling opportunities. Customer intelligence software will also allow you to spot competitor threats and identify leaking sales so you can act quickly to retain your priority customers.
As I’ve already mentioned, the Jan/San market is packed with competition. It is hard to differentiate from them by product alone, as many are like for like. Therefore, focus on another aspect of your business. Become support superheroes (even make a costume if that helps), create a slick supply chain or lead on price. Whatever you choose, you need it to be unique to your business and communicated to your customers.
Finally, you should showcase technology like smartphones, tablets, and a good spec computer in your sales meetings. We all want to do business with a company with a good image, so use these tools to your advantage.
|Find your 80/20 customer split and prioritize your time
|Don’t be faceless as people still buy from people. Build your relationships
|Spot competitor threats and leakage with customer intelligence software
|Stand out by having a unique selling point and a modern image
Download our Jan/San eBook – Going mobile in the janitorial and sanitation supplies industry for more tips.