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Stop it Before it Happens: 8 Tactics to Avoid Declining Sales

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Stop it Before it Happens: 8 Tactics to Avoid Declining Sales

Summer is great for a lot of things, including long days at the pool or beach, boisterous backyard barbecues, and catching up on all the sunshine you missed over the winter months. What summer is not so great for, unfortunately, is sales.

The reasons for the summer sales slump vary but seem to boil down to the fact that people are more busy enjoying the weather than engaging with businesses. Likewise, your sales team may be equally eager to get out into the sun, and in turn, a bit less invested in their day-to-day tasks.

Maybe you’ve noticed the summer slump yourself. Or maybe you’re dealing with declining sales at a different time of year and for different reasons. Either way, if your sales are down, then you need to be taking specific steps to remedy the situation. There are also things that you should be doing to avoid slumps entirely and keep your sales on pace regardless of what’s going on around you.

Here are eight things that you can do to prevent declining sales and to help ensure you’re doing everything you can to meet or exceed your goals.

1. Understand Why Sales Slumps Happen

We’ve mentioned one type of dreaded sales slump, but summer trends aren’t the only thing that may be at play when you start to see your sales dip.

There are lots of different attributable reasons why your sales might be going down, and in order to remedy them, you need to be able to pinpoint what they are. Some possible explanations in addition to seasonal trends include poor team morale or a lack of team talent or incentives. It’s also possible that you’re not targeting the right customer base or that your sales and marketing objectives are too narrow — or too broad.

Whatever the reason, it’s imperative that you put on your detective hat and get to work identifying them. The sooner you can understand the roots of your declining sales problem, the sooner you’ll be able to take steps to fix them.

2. Create a Happier Workforce

Happy employees don’t just contribute to a more positive workplace culture — they also contribute to driving more sales.

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A happy and engaged workforce just might be the single biggest advantage your business can get in today’s economy. A study out of Yale University found that happy salespeople make more sales, upsell more often, and lead to more satisfied customers.

So how do you create a happier workforce? It starts with ensuring that your team members feel valued, which includes everything from offering attractive compensation and benefits packages to promoting a better work-life balance. The more that you can improve sales team satisfaction, the more benefits that you should see in daily productivity and overall sales.

3. Set Clear and Achievable Goals

All businesses want to sell as much as possible, but that’s not a very clear directive to give your team. Instead of just telling everyone to aim for the stars and leaving it at that, make sure to lay out very clear and realistic goals that your sales reps can strive for.

What these goals look like will be unique to your company. Base them on past performance and actual data, keeping in mind that if a majority of your team is unable to meet your expectations, then it’s almost certainly the goals, and not the individuals themselves, that are to blame.

4. Set Out Incentives

Just as crucial as setting achievable goals is recognizing and rewarding team members when they reach them.

One way to do this is to offer a tiered commission structure where the further a rep exceeds their goal, the more their commission rate increases. Bonuses and perks for exceptional performance can also go a long way — as does actually calling out and recognizing those sales reps and teams that go above and beyond.

Incentives do more than just give your employees a carrot to chase after. By recognizing and celebrating hard work, you show that you value your team members and all that they do for you. This helps create that happier workforce we mentioned earlier and also goes a long way toward ensuring your staff feels valued.

5. Invest in Training

You can’t expect a poorly trained sales staff to be at their most effective.

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The onus is on management to organize and encourage proper training protocols. Failure to do so means that you have a workforce that likely isn’t on the same page in terms of what you’re trying to achieve and how you intend to achieve it.

An employee handbook is not enough. Make sure that you’re facilitating impactful training practices starting with onboarding and continue to offer new ways for your team to learn and grow together. Not only does this keep everyone briefed on how to best do their jobs, but it also provides management with an opportunity to regularly take the pulse of their employees and hone in on any areas where dissatisfaction or a lack of guidance is standing in the way of optimal sales.

6. Optimize Your Marketing Strategy

Sales and marketing are inextricably linked, with failures in one department often speaking to failures in the other. And while it’s definitely unfair to put all of the blame on marketing if your sales are on a downhill trend, it is possible that the marketing tactics currently being used are missing the mark — and that fixing them could have a positive impact.

You don’t need to overhaul your marketing plan entirely to see better results, but you do need to focus on being more strategic with it. Look at your marketing data and analytics to see where the gaps might be, and undertake important tactics such as reworking your customer personas, organically growing your email contact list, and upping the ante of your re-engagement campaigns.

7. Re-evaluate Your Audience

It’s possible that declining sales are a result of a misunderstood audience pool.

While all companies have a desired customer base, the actual people who buy your product may or may not align with this vision. In order to maintain and increase sales, it’s essential that you know exactly who you’re selling to, including not just their demographics but their preferences and pain points.

Re-evaluating your audience is about research. You want to really dive into the details of what makes your core customer group so that you can be sure you’re not just reaching out to the right people but reaching out in a way that is going to be most effective for sales.

To start, take a look at your current customers and their similarities. And while you’re at it, make a point of monitoring common sales hurdles. Chances are that there are pretty standard reasons across the board the deals aren’t closing and that the opposite is true of the deals that do go through.

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8. Stay Positive

Sometimes it can be your outlook standing in the way of making a less than desirable situation better. Perhaps the best tip that we can give if you’re facing declining sales is to stay positive and keep your head in the game. Giving up and assuming that things can’t get any better than they are is a surefire way to guarantee that that’s the case. Meanwhile, if you continue chugging along with what you’re doing while also looking for specific problems and resolutions, there’s a huge likelihood you’ll overcome the downward trend.

Success isn’t a passive endeavor. Nor is it always promised to you. By accepting that slumps happen — and working through them when they do — you give your business the best chance at rebounding your sales and seeing brighter days ahead.

Take Action on Declining Sales

If you start to see your sales drop, it’s a warning sign that something is amiss. Be sure to keep a close eye on the data so that you’re always well apprised of dips as soon as they happen and so that you can take action right away. In many cases, your sales are due to outside forces and will bounce back on their own. And if that’s not the case, immediate action means that you can avoid the worst — and get your sales back on track as soon as possible.

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EMAIL MARKETING

What Not to do in Email Marketing

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What Not to do in Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the best ways to speak directly to your audience. You can build a relationship with them and create loyal customers. It is also a great way to generate traffic to your website, increase leads, and execute large campaigns.

With all of the benefits that your company can gain from email marketing, it’s no wonder that 64% of small businesses engage in email marketing. However, there are still a few important things to keep in mind. In order to be successful, you should avoid these 4 mistakes explained by 97 Switch when preparing an email marketing campaign.

Talk About Yourself

Many companies fall into the trap of only talking about themselves. They assume that since their audience signed up for emails, they want to hear all about the company and the sales. While marketing your products or services is important to do sometimes, your audience is still looking for value.

Failing to foster a relationship with them by being too sales-y will lead to unsubscribers and a loss of potential customers.

Instead, it’s important to give the audience something in return for their loyalty. Exclusive deals and sales codes are appreciated, but they also want to see educational or entertaining content in their inbox.

One way to do this is by creating content such as “you asked, we delivered” or “your questions answered” to show that you care about your customers and the feedback they give you, and it builds trust.

It’s also important to speak your audience’s language. Sometimes, companies get too caught up in trying to sound professional and impressive and end up using jargon that’s hard to understand.

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Using more simple ways to get your message across is imperative, as it makes the email easier to consume and thus more valuable.

Email Without a Purpose

While building relationships with your customers is one of the main goals of email marketing, you should keep in mind that they don’t want to hear from your company just for the sake of connecting.

Ensure that you have a clear purpose for each email you send, whether that be to inform, entertain, or motivate.

Being intentional about when to reach out includes sending timely emails. You should respond to relevant industry, company, or world news in a timely manner. Readers would find you reminding them about the last day of a sale important, and that qualifies as a purposeful email.

Part of proceeding with a clear purpose is also including a call to action in your emails. Your readers want to know exactly what you’re asking of them, and making it simple is the best way to get it. Beware of including too many calls to action, as it can be more confusing and seem more selfish than helpful.

Over Generalize

Personalization is one of the greatest strengths of email marketing, yet it is often overlooked. Simply including first names in an email makes it sound more personal and builds stronger relationships. This can easily be achieved using an email scheduling tool such as Mailchimp. Again, this is a way to build customer relationships. Research shows that using someone’s name in the subject line increases open rates by 26%. Be that as it may, personalization is more than just plugging in names.

Using an email marketing tool is also an easy way to utilize the segmentation aspect of personalization. By separating your audience into groups, you can categorize what they would each be most interested to hear from you.

It has been shown that segmented campaigns perform better than non-segmented campaigns. An example of this is categorizing your readers as beginners, intermediate, or advanced knowledge of your industry. Based on this category, you can send each segment a different email that would pertain to them more specifically.

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Your readers will appreciate that your content is tailored to their needs. Imagine sending a beginner an email that skips over the basics of a process. They would be confused and find it very unhelpful.

Now imagine an expert who is wasting time reading the basics that they know by heart. They would become frustrated and lose interest in finishing the email. These are just two examples of using segmentation to better serve your audience.

Use Poor Subject Lines

Often, people will decide whether to open an email at all based on the subject line alone. A mistake that marketers tend to make is wording the subject in a way that sounds like spam, and thus never gets opened or reaches the audience.

As we mentioned before, it is also helpful to include someone’s name in the subject line. While it might seem like a shot in the dark to form an effective subject, there are a few tips for the best open rates you can achieve.

A good subject line should be short. The ideal length for a subject is 7 words, based on a study conducted by Marketo.

However, you also want to make it interesting so that people are curious and want to know more. This curiosity is enough to encourage people to read the email.

However, you want to avoid click-baiting your readers with interesting subject lines that have nothing to do with the content in the email. Make sure that your subject is also relevant to what you have to say. Otherwise, you will have the opposite effect you’d intended by destroying trust and losing credibility.

Being Inconsistent

Simply sending out random emails is not enough to see results. You have to stick to a schedule that your readers can count on and know when to expect to hear from you in their inbox.

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The frequency can vary based on your industry and from business to business, but emailing at least once a month is recommended. The more you email, the more you will be on the top of potential customers’ minds when they need what you offer.

That being said, you shouldn’t always assume more contact is better. If your company emails are flooding their inbox, you can bet that they will either block the sender or unsubscribe from future emails. Finding a balance is key to seeing the best results from your campaigns.

You should also consider the brand voice that you are using to speak to your customers. If your emails all sound like they were written by different people, then it’s hard to gain the brand-strengthening benefits of email marketing. It is also confusing to your audience and makes it harder for them to connect with the company.

A good way to remedy this is to create a company persona, where you give a personality to the company that is sending the emails.

Are you funny and witty, or are you serious and somber? Consider strengthening your branding within the company before communicating it with the world.

Key Takeaways

You can’t expect to be perfect at email marketing, so don’t get discouraged if you find that you have made these mistakes. There is always room for improvements, and every so often it’s a good idea to evaluate how your email marketing campaigns are going.

Using analytics to track your results and adjusting your strategy will help you grow as you fix any mistakes you might be making.

By taking the time to improve your strategy, you will see the success that can carry across all your marketing efforts.

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