10 Points for Confident Business Growth Even in Crisis

By Thomas Bennett Financial expert at Priceva
Published on July 11, 2023
A crisis is a time of active market redistribution and the unveiling of new opportunities. This is definitely not the time for businesses to shrink and switch to economy mode. It's a time to expand and grow with confidence. And you should do so, not out of desperation and fear of losing everything, but from a position of confidence and strength.

If you're selling with the sensation that your business is on the brink of collapsing, you won't be able to energize your team or inspire your sales managers, making sales a difficult task. Your ability to generate new cash flow is the best recipe for business growth, even in challenging times.

So, let's look at 10 points you need to work through in order to guarantee an increase in your income.

№1. Laser Focus

Your attention should be laser-focused on the crucial point that guarantees revenue - primary and repeat customers.

Let's explore the steps that can help increase the number of initial and repeat sales.

Success often comes from having a sharp focus. A common issue that entrepreneurs encounter when scaling their business is spreading themselves too thin. In the pursuit of sales growth, they may launch numerous initiatives simultaneously, creating a multitude of businesses and products across different niches. Consequently, neither the owner's attention nor the company's resources suffice for all directions, leading to problems.

Therefore, the main task for the owner and senior management during this period is to review business development plans and understand which directions might obstruct revenue generation at the moment. They need to weigh up which unprofitable directions to abandon, which ineffective employees to let go, and which growth plans to discard.

As an example of this strategy, consider Apple's history. When Steve Jobs returned for his second tenure, the first thing he did was to eliminate many directions and focus on a narrow product line. Before his arrival, the company had fifteen platforms with numerous product options for each. He simplified Apple's lineup by creating a product grid with four quadrants, defined by platform (desktop and portable) and market segment (consumer and professional). Jobs directed all the company's resources towards creating the best product in each of these four quadrants. The result was market hits like the iPhone and iPad in the consumer segment, and the Power Mac and PowerBook in the professional segment.

The equally renowned electric car brand Tesla adheres to a similar strategy. It remains strictly focused on manufacturing electric vehicles, resisting the temptation to produce gas or hybrid models.

Seek that leverage point, the focus on which will yield maximum effect.

Think about which directions in your business are weighing you down like lead weights, and which area, when exerting additional force, will generate the maximum effect.

№2. Strong Team + Business Assistant

The second key aspect of market dominance is a solid team backbone composed of smart and professional employees. You need like-minded individuals who share your vision and ambitious plans.

It's particularly crucial for the business owner to free themselves from routine tasks during such moments to focus on what's most important. This is where a well-chosen business assistant can be of help. There are two types of assistants: personal and business. In this case, a business assistant is needed. When selecting such a helper, pay attention to what they list under work experience in their resume. You don't need someone who merely organizes meetings and schedules, but someone who can tackle business tasks: conducting interviews and research, working with analytics, compiling reports, tracking projects, creating persuasive presentations, soliciting client feedback, etc.

Such a professional won't hesitate to detail their experience in their resume and will highlight their work results. Once a potential assistant has passed this aspect of the selection process, you can ask them to take a test.

So, any transformation begins with a clear focus and determining who you're entering this transformation with. Offload some of the routine tasks to concentrate on the main objectives.

№3. Product Focus

The primary guarantee of any business's success is the "right" product. If sales are dropping, an experienced businessperson first seeks the reason for the product. Usually, they find the cause in either the product's declining quality or its irrelevance to the market for some reason.

In moments of instability and uncertainty, products requiring a long wait for return on investment or risky investments with unclear results are unlikely to be in demand. However, "right on point" products, ones that are timely, can be a hit. Various crisis management programs or products and technologies adapted to new realities may become sales sensations.

Therefore, if your sales are falling, first check whether everything is okay with your product. Is it still demanded by your target audience? Or has their task and priority changed, and you've overlooked it, continuing to "flog a dead horse"?

And here, the concept of "PRODUCT" should be understood in the broadest sense. This concept includes not only the product/service itself but also the service accompanying it, product packaging, the customer experience obtained from interacting with this product, and even your employees who directly interact with customers.

Take the time to speak with customers and get their feedback. Discover what they like about the product and what irritates them or causes negativity. Anything you can change should be quickly adjusted. Now more than ever, it's essential for your sellers to believe in the product. Unfortunately, very few small and medium-sized businesses collect customer feedback.

Monitoring reviews will undoubtedly help collect some customer information, but this alone is insufficient to form an objective picture of the situation. Since primarily very dissatisfied or very satisfied customers write reviews, the picture may be distorted. To accurately assess the situation, it's necessary to make planned calls to customers right after they make a purchase.

It's recommended to schedule a certain number of calls, for instance, surveying no less than 5% of the customer base, and asking them the following questions:

• What do you like about our product?
• What needs improvement in it?
• What should we do to make you purchase from us more often or in larger quantities?
• How would you sell our product? What would you particularly highlight, what would you change in the offer and promotions?
• What do we need to improve in the product to make you more satisfied with the purchase?
• With which other products do you compare ours before buying?
• In what aspects are our competitors stronger, and in which are they weaker?
• What would you do in our position to make it easier to sell?

Think about how you can increase the amount of feedback information you collect from your customers at this stage. These calls are especially important for expensive products and in the B2B sector.

If customers overwhelmingly tell you that the product is inconvenient or useless and changes won't help, this is a sure signal to review your product strategy and look for new sales hits. Customer responses can also help you understand what you're missing in your current product line and even provide hints on where to look for new products.

When seeking new opportunities, consider the strong competencies your company and its employees have, which could form the basis for a new direction. This may not be in your current niche but in related ones.

By staying abreast of the market trends, you can notice if something's off with your product at the earliest stage. In this case, you'll be able to carry out business diversification in time, while the old product is still generating income, and not when all resources are exhausted and there's nothing left to launch a new direction with.

Be open to new things. Your task as an entrepreneur is to look for opportunities to make money. Now is a great time to start a new business instead of trying to resuscitate those areas that have stopped working under new realities.

№4. Understanding Your Customer

After we've addressed the product, we need to shift our focus to customers. It's essential for the whole team, especially the salespeople, to have a clear understanding of who and what we'll be selling to. It's necessary to define key customer personas or avatars.
When developing a customer portrait, understand that the avatar of a first-time buyer and a repeat/regular customer are different customer avatars. This is because a customer who already has experience interacting with your business and your product has different decision-making factors than someone who has never interacted with the company before.

For repeat sales, it's important that the first-time customer has positive impressions from using the product. Also, consider that regular customers have a frequency of consumption for certain goods. Some products, even those that left the most favorable impressions, cannot be resold sooner than in 3 months or half a year, as that's the consumption cycle of the product.

№5. Attention to the Background of Sellers

Sales staff need to have a good understanding of the psychology and motivation of their customers. For a sales manager to be successful, 4 points must be met:

• The salesperson must have a deep understanding of the product and all related topics. If, for example, they're selling office furniture, they need to know not only their assortment and its parameters but also understand the standards for equipping office spaces, ergonomics laws, style solutions, and so on.

• They should understand the target audience, its "pains" and expectations, be able to identify the key motivation when buying, know which arguments can persuade, and in the B2B segment, influence decision-makers.

• They should be equipped with RTB (Reasons To Believe) tools, i.e., materials that help create a basis for the customer to trust your product. Such tools include: description of industry experience, a list of clients, availability of cases, awards and ratings, licenses, certificates, reviews. In other words, any facts that confirm your product's ability to solve the customer's problem.

• They should know how to prepare estimates, be able to write commercial proposals, conduct effective selling both offline and online meetings.

№6. Repeat Sales

As we wrote earlier, sales can be increased in two ways:

● make more primary sales,
● make more repeat sales.

But first, attention should be paid to repeat sales. You should always start with boosting repeat sales as it is the simplest way to increase revenue.

In the search for missed opportunities in the segment of current customers, such a tool as RFM analysis will be useful. It allows categorizing buyers into groups depending on three criteria.
By assessing these three key activity metrics, you can segment all customers and, based on these identified segments, develop personalized promotional strategies.

№7. Creating a Large Coverage Funnel

When repeat sales start to please us, it's time to turn attention to primary sales.

Improving primary sales can be facilitated by expanding the sales funnel. Special attention should be paid to the top of the funnel, which provides primary coverage of potential customers: try to maximize the number of subscribers, visitors, applications, leads.

To understand which channels you can tap into that you are not present in yet:

• Study the channels where your direct competitors, companies from related markets or companies from other markets but with a similar target audience, are active.
• Get expert advice, colleagues in the market (conferences, forums, and communities can help).
• Survey customers to understand where they typically look for the product when planning to buy it.
Digitize what your sales funnel looks like at each stage and how much you need to increase the number of leads at the first stage to reach the planned number of final customers at the bottom of the funnel.

For this, it's important to answer the question: "At what maximum acceptable price can you afford to acquire leads?".

№8. Knowing the Threshold Cost of a Customer

And here we move on to the task that flows from the previous point, namely, calculating the threshold cost of a customer. There is a regularity in business that the company that can afford to buy a customer more expensive than its competitors wins on any market.

The fact is that marketing is becoming more expensive every year, the cost of a click and application is growing both in search and on social networks. If the profitability of your business is such that you can afford to buy customers more expensive than your competitors pay for them, and at the same time remain in the planned profit, then you can "cream off" the market, taking all the most "tasty" customers.

You can achieve a high threshold cost of a customer if your average check is higher than the market average, and there are many repeat sales that increase your margin without requiring costs for attraction.

You should analyze whether it is really possible to raise the price without negative consequences. If yes, this needs to be done. Perhaps you have not reviewed prices for a long time, fearing that people will stop buying, but as practice shows, a slight price increase by a couple of percent goes unnoticed by buyers, but is very useful for the business.

Also, the growth of margin is facilitated by introducing a flagship VIP product into the assortment, i.e., a super premium and super expensive product. And even if its purchases will be counted in units, this will have a positive effect on the margin.

Then you need to evaluate whether there is potential for increasing repeat sales and conversion. Sales growth is facilitated by marketing techniques aimed at increasing the number of items in the check, namely: bundling and stimulating promotions such as "3 for the price of 2", "every 5th product as a gift", and so on.

The creation of a department that only drives repeat sales and brings back lost customers drives sales well. Managers of this department need to be taught how to present your product coolly and effectively handle objections.

Sales growth is also facilitated by strong psychological pressure, that is, the use of techniques that stimulate the customer to make a decision here and now. To do this, you need to make a super attractive offer, limit it in time or quantity, and show that the customer is losing a lot if they do not make a decision quickly.

№ 9. Testing Advertising Channels and Hypotheses

Once you have determined the threshold cost of a customer, consider how wide you can "cast your nets". Generate 30-40 hypotheses where you can launch advertising activities to expand the current reach funnel.

Then gradually test all the platforms to find the most effective ones. See which of the tests showed the best result.

Don't be afraid to fail, even if you only find three effective platforms out of thirty and the rest are a failure, your experiment will pay off many times in the future.

Suppose you want to boost your Telegram channel. Take small profiled publics for a test and test different creative ideas (pictures and texts) on them. This experiment will be inexpensive for you, but you will understand which of the messages achieves the goals and gives a good response. And the creatives that have shown high efficiency can be scaled, making posts in publics of well-known personalities or brands with good coverage.

№10 Working with the Database of Collected Leads

Rarely in any business does a customer decide to buy after the first touch with a brand or product. Almost always there are several touches: from 3-4 in simple and inexpensive products to 20-30 in expensive or technically complex ones.

Therefore, it is so important to collect a significant database of leads for further warming up. Having collected the base, you should not immediately try to sell something to it head-on, the conversion will be poor. Start with educating and entertaining potential customers. Send them useful materials and videos, collect a list of all objections and make a case for each objection.

Show with specific examples how your product works, what benefits it gives to customers. Any evidence works great, whether it's digitized results, "before and after" photos, or video reviews. All this warms up the base, and the more you warm it up, the higher your conversion becomes.

Then move the "warmed up" leads through the classic funnel. Make an easy entrance in the form of a welcome discount, provide demo accesses, testers. Then offer inexpensive products, mini-courses, limited access. And to those who have gone through all these stages, know you well and trust you, you can confidently sell the main product.

But this is not the last stage, then you remember the RFM analysis and start motivating regular customers so that they make repeat sales as often and as long as possible.

If all the steps are gradually and qualitatively worked out by you, any crisis will turn from a threat into an opportunity, an excellent opportunity for your business to grow.

And the Priceva service will help on this path, providing timely and reliable information about competitors' prices and the out-of-stock situation.


What are the 3 major crisis strategies?

Three key strategies include maintaining clear and open communication with all stakeholders, being agile and ready to adapt strategies as the situation evolves, and focusing on preserving strong relationships with customers through empathy and support.

How do you manage a business crisis?

Effective crisis management involves quickly assembling a dedicated crisis response team, assessing the situation accurately, communicating transparently with stakeholders, taking decisive action to mitigate impacts, and continuously monitoring the situation for any changes.

What are the 5 steps of crisis management?

The five essential stages of crisis management are: first, proactively preparing and preventing potential crises; second, identifying and assessing the crisis early; third, responding promptly to contain its impact; fourth, resolving the situation and initiating recovery efforts; and fifth, analyzing the crisis for key learnings to improve future response strategies.

How do you navigate a crisis?

Successfully navigating a crisis requires businesses to stay informed about the situation, prioritize the safety and well-being of employees and customers, make data-driven decisions to adapt strategies as needed, and communicate openly and honestly with all stakeholders about the steps being taken.

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