By Ed Pierce, Fleet Industry Marketer
More often than not, sales budgets are built the old-fashioned way: by either incremental percentages or a number agreed upon with the sales team. Or, at most, it is the aggregate of a company’s product lines and the territories it covers.
While the second approach is probably more accurate than the first, neither is as realistic as a customer-centric sales budget. In both of the traditional cases, the sales team often struggles with the planning part. It’s just too hard to understand what has to be done to achieve the numbers — especially if there are new team members.
The Customer-Centric Sales Plan Foundation
The strength of a customer-centric sales budget and plan comes from a foundation based on three solid components:
1. Customer Acquisition: How many new customers do we currently acquire? How many do we expect to close in the coming budgeting periods? And, what sales volumes and values will we realize from our current new customers and expect from our new customers?
2. Customer Retention: How many customers do we currently retain? How many do we estimate we will lose? And, what sales do we expect from those we retain?
3. Customer Value Development: How have we added value to our old and regular customer accounts? How many customer accounts will we grow from sales point A to sales point B?
Where to Start?
Many larger businesses are already collecting and analyzing “big data” for the purposes of predicting and planning sales. However, even with a basic CRM database, a company can develop a more customer-centric plan. For example, transaction data can lead to basic value development by identifying what products sell together and developing cross-sell propositions for its customers at large.
Once a business knows this breakdown, it will have a much clearer understanding of the required actions, leading to an enhanced ability to win, keep, and expand customer relationships.
Being able to see a business’ health from a customer-flow perspective is much clearer than relying on location-specific sales, or depending on the number of units sold without customer profile data. At this point, a company can start developing a plan to find the answers to these questions and develop its first customer-centric sales budget.
Ultimately, the real value of customer-centric sales and marketing comes from establishing more meaningful and profitable relationships with your customers.
If you have any questions, comments, experiences, or opinions about fleet industry-related marketing that you’d like to share, write to me at edpierce@ITAcommunications.com
Happy New Year!