November 2017 - TAB Corporate

7 Needless Expenditures to Stop Paying Today

needless expenditures

At some point, every business makes needless expenditures that sap valuable time and resources from other projects, and damage the bottom line. These excessive costs—which also detract from funding new customer acquisitions or product upgrades—often perpetuate themselves, making it very difficult to pull the plug farther down the road.

But if you feel the time has come to crack down on unnecessary spending, here are actions worth taking:

Improve the process of tracking expenditures. Businesses that fail to monitor spending often later find areas of waste and overspending that could have been avoided. With a plethora of cloud-based expense tracking apps to choose from, there are plenty of opportunities to strengthen existing processes and eliminate areas of excess spending as soon as possible.

Crack down on paper costs. If your business still spends money on paper products, it’s well past time to shift to digital technology. Virtually overnight, you can cut printing and storage costs dramatically. Scan important documents and email them to clients and suppliers, rather than incurring costs related to personal deliveries.

Eliminate unproductive meetings. Most businesses are susceptible to meetings “that waste everyone’s time and lack any viable ROI.” Think of the money you can save by holding only productive, actionable meetings. This frees up your team to engage in other, more focused (and often revenue-generating) activities.

Analyze the purpose behind every business trip. Back in the day, it was considered necessary to travel throughout nationally or internationally in order to maintain solid working relationships with clients. While this remains true to some extent, in fact, many businesses no longer feel compelled to show up in person at every industry conference, trade show or overnight client presentation. Digital and video technology make steady contact easier than ever—often at a fraction of the cost.

Hone your negotiating skills. For all the needs of your workplace—from leased office space to purchasing supplies and equipment—it’s vital you get the most for your money. If your negotiating skills aren’t up to par, it’s possible you’re paying more to vendors for their products and services than is absolutely necessary.

Be on the lookout for ways to negotiate volume discounts, for example. Armed with information about much you regularly spend with current vendors—and what competing vendors might charge for similar products and services—you can negotiate ways of “aggregating purchases to achieve savings in volume.”

Explore options to outsource technology functions. Businesses can opt to purchase the most costly, up-to-date equipment to support their operations, but they don’t have to. Technology and software isn’t cheap and often entails further expenses in terms of technical support personnel and/or server administrators. Outsourcing IT services offers potentially significant financial and operational advantages, such as:

  • Decreased staffing costsAccess to data applications without paying license expenses
  • Opportunities to focus the internal IT staff on large infrastructure initiatives, rather than day-to-day desktop glitches
  • No need to constantly update IT equipment, a responsibility assumed by the third-party service provider

Outsourcing IT functions isn’t the perfect choice for every organization, but it’s a flexible, cost-effective option worth considering.

Encourage submission of cost-saving ideas from your employees. When leadership makes clear how important it is to reduce unnecessary spending—in order to continue making a profit and paying the workforce—employees feel incentivized to look for cost-cutting measures on their own. With your encouragement, they may come up with creative suggestions to consolidate current expenditures and other money-saving ideas well worth implementing. It’s up to you to communicate this organization-wide priority and reward the best cost-saving suggestions.

Want to learn more about sales management and training? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!

 

How to Create a Success-Oriented Sales Culture

success-oriented sales team

Success in sales remains an elusive goal for many companies, partly because the sales process can’t be configured or engineered in a way that guarantees closing a deal with every prospect. Too many variables are involved.

However, building a success-oriented sales culture within the organization can tilt the odds in your favor. The key is paying special attention to sales management in a way that’s positive, instills confidence and rewards sales activity, not just results.

Here are action steps you can take to boost the success rate of your sales team:

Honor the role of salesperson. If you come from a sales background, you know first-hand what a difficult job it can be. Failure and rejection come with the territory and it takes a strong individual to bounce back from these challenges and start fresh all over again.

For this reason, it’s good to “promote how honorable it is to be a sales rep for your company,” notes small business expert Megan Totka. “Put the importance of their position on a pedestal, and highlight how pivotal it is to the success of your business.

Automate repetitive tasks. Salespeople thrive on high energy and welcome the unpredictable nature of their jobs. That’s why they often find repetitive sales-related tasks so draining and demoralizing. It’s up to you to free them up to do what they do best—sales. Wherever possible, employ technology to handle routine customer relationship management tasks (such as sending customized messages to prospects), thus giving your team more latitude to focus on other key responsibilities.

Enforce a consistent sales process. Yes, we all know about rock-star salespeople who “act on a gut feeling” or otherwise go it alone. That’s not the path to a success-oriented culture. Instead, every business should establish a consistent sales process, says sales expert Alana Nicol, with “specific steps that everyone takes so each person knows clearly what it takes to identify, qualify and close an opportunity.”

Train for the results you want. Businesses do the best they can to hire talented salespeople who can get results out of the gate. But for the best results, sales training is the most effective strategy. Such training can emphasize a variety of techniques and attitudes, including how to:

  • Stop talking to the prospect and ask questions instead
  • Position yourself less as an expert and more as a problem-solver
  • Hone your company’s unique selling proposition
  • Focus on sales activity as much as on results

For sales veterans and rookies alike, it’s helpful for the manager and/or CEO to occasionally sit in on phone calls and/or face-to-face meetings with prospects, and offer constructive feedback afterward. Most salespeople welcome such feedback, as long it’s framed in a positive way.

Offer opportunities for learning. Training is one thing, continuous learning something else entirely. As part of honoring your sales team, give them every opportunity to participate in webinars, attend sales conferences and engage in other learning activities that help them hone their skills and network on behalf of the company. When they can collaborate and share new ideas, they’ll come away re-energized and excited about incorporating new strategies into the sales process.

Avoid micromanagement. Perhaps the best way to instill self-confidence in your team is by not micromanaging them. Delegating responsibilities and leaving them alone to do their job is another way of saying you trust in their judgment and abilities, and that you expect them to give their very best with every prospect. Sometimes they’ll succeed and sometimes they’ll fail. It’s up to you to avoid casting blame, but emphasize instead the value of learning from experience and doing better the next time.

By honoring their efforts and giving them the tools and responsibility to succeed, you can build a culture of sales enthusiasm and energy unlike anything you’ve seen before.

Want to learn more about building a successful sales culture? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!