Sales make the world go round

ECONOMIES don’t improve because of governments. They improve because of sales teams and results-driven business development professionals.

In every sector, including the travel industry, it doesn’t matter what an organisation delivers, produces or manufactures, someone has to sell it and the more those people sell, the more the economy improves as a direct result. However, growth comes in waves. It ebbs and flows and there really is no getting away from this. After a downturn comes growth, then after growth comes a recession and this is not unique to any sector or business. It affects all of us and the only variable is the length of time between each upward and downward trend and how organisations react.

Most companies respond to a downturn in the same way. They retreat. They baton down hatches and conserve costs until they see things improving. But I believe this is the very worst thing an organisation can do. Success and growth should instead be sought by inverting corporate thinking and rather than retreat, businesses should seek to advance and dominate their market.

When we arrived in Aberdeen, Traveleads had one simple objective: growth. We arrived in the midst of a huge downturn and to grow in a harsh economic climate, we chose to do the opposite of everyone else. We didn’t scale back and wait for the storm to pass. Instead we invested heavily in bolstering our sales team and went out looking for opportunities that others were not chasing.

During tough times, businesses will seek to protect their bottom line by cutting costs. Whilst it’s important to control costs, your business won’t grow by simply doing this. This is because growth comes from driving revenue at the top. I believe you should focus up not down and look to drastically increase sales performance. You need to become more aggressive with your sales strategy. Get to work on USPs and value propositions. Set goals that scare you. If they don’t, they’re not big enough. Real sales professionals are excited by massive goals. They give them the drive and motivation to take action. Pay well for the best people because this is crucial to increasing sales performance and achieving growth targets.

And whilst on the subject of targets, it’s only natural to feel more comfortable setting achievable targets that are a ‘safe’ bet. You see, to miss a target is a perceived failure and failure is a dirty word. However, ‘safe’ bets don’t inspire or motivate. They breed a culture of average and yet, safe and achievable targets are the benchmark for many organisations. Setting goals that are hugely challenging is not the norm but they do inspire and motivate teams to succeed.

In my opinion, the widespread practise of shrinking targets is a big ‘no-no’. Rather than decreasing goals when it looks unlikely they will be hit, I believe the target should stay exactly as it is but activity should be ramped up to get there using a planned approach. With the right plan, people, timescales and pipeline you can lead an inspired team to excel and achieve incredible results. Chose not to and you risk your route to growth, your sales team becoming stagnant and who wants to swim in a pool of mediocrity?

To grow a business and improve economies takes planning and execution from a highly skilled and committed sales team – they really do make the world go round.

Sally Cassidy

Sally Cassidy