One of my favorite RSS feeds is the Harvard Business Publishing. With topics ranging from Sales and Marketing to Management and Economics, there is always something interesting to read. And the wide variety of writers creates a fascinating and unpredictable voice for this blog. Recently Darrell Rigby wrote a great piece on How to Turbo charge Sales in Turbulent Times. The tips make good sense for small businesses and larger businesses.  He says:

When companies are hit with declining sales and shrinking margins, the options can start to look bleak. Attacking one challenge–by raising or lowering prices, for example–can make the other worse. But one powerful way to shore up both sales and margins in a downturn is to make your sales force more effective.

He has several smart suggestions on how to do that.  Including:

  • Target your offering. Look at what appealed to your best customers and do more of that. This is not a time to try to expand outside your core segments.  Play to your strengths, do what you do, – just do it better.
  • Optimize tools and procedures. Whether you have a huge sales force or you are managing sales yourself, formalizing the process will make you more productive.  So what is your strategy?  How do you keep up with leads and proposals.  What type of routine followup techniques do you use to stay in touch with prospects?