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60% of companies do not meet their sales target due to lack of strategic planning

Having a product or service that people need and promoting it, for example, in social networks may be insufficient to convert sales. A strategic plan is necessary and, as much as companies know about it, few put it into practice. So much so that 60% of Brazilian companies have not reached their sales targets in 2021. This is what the first edition of the survey points out Sales Overviewmade by RD Station with the support of TOTVS, Rock Content and the news.

Even though the past year has still been challenging for companies due to the implications of the pandemic, the number is a wake-up call. The survey collected 1,656 responses from companies in different segments, of different sizes and from all regions of the country between April 4th and 20th of this year.

“The big point is that the fact of not meeting the goals is due to poor planning”, says the director of RD Station and international expansion, Luis Lourenço. “If the company has good planning, even in a challenging scenario, it has goals that consider the context, scenario, history, delivery capacity”, he adds.

The commercial team at BRASAS English Course, in Rio de Janeiro, monitors the customer and sales flow on the screen. Photograph: Pedro Kirilos/Estadão

He points out that sales professionals have neglected these aspects, after all, 54% of companies still do not use tools to manage customer relationships and manage the sales team. As there is no basis to monitor the movements, it is difficult to think of new strategies, which can influence the results of the following years.

Despite this, entrepreneurs are optimistic: 67% project growth of 10% to 50% in 2022, which can be explained by the economic recovery. However, while 94% of sales professionals agree that results depend on a well-structured process, only 31% of companies say they have a predictable, scalable and sustainable plan.

“There is a question of the human nature of effort and reward, which is often not immediate, it comes in the long term”, says digital marketing specialist and co-founder of RD Station, André Siqueira. “Even with optimism, you have to adjust processes, planning, really understand why it’s 10% or 50%, what are the fundamentals that will lead to this and what I’m going to do in practice to reach that number”, guides Lourenço.

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The fact of not hitting the targets is due to poor planning”

Luis Lourenço, director of RD Station

Aware of the importance of a strategic plan, BRASAS English Course implemented, in May of this year, a customer relationship management tool in which it can monitor the entire consumer journey and the performance of the commercial team. Before, with data in spreadsheets, there was no way to visualize details that today have a positive impact on the business.

The company knows, for example, what day and time the person searched for the school, whether the click came from Google or a social network. “That made a difference, because we know that this is the time when the person is usually available and I can get in touch with them. Our rejection rate is now very low”, says Tatiana Cordeiro, commercial and operational manager at BRASAS in Rio de Janeiro.

The team sees if that potential customer has been converted, has already talked to a representative, has been registered and has a payment link. This whole scenario brought better results.

Only in August of this year, the company surpassed the number of students and enrollments of 2019, the best year so far. There was growth of 25% compared to 2019, 35% compared to 2020 and 95% compared to 2021. Tatiana says that the tool also optimized the team’s time and reduced the cost of customer acquisition.

Entrepreneurs who responded to the survey consider that a good salesperson has the power of negotiation and persuasion as their main characteristic. Siqueira recalls that this capability will only work if the client reaches him, but that may not happen. This is where the important integration of the sales team with the marketing team comes in.

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According to experts, the two areas work together to optimize the work, bringing efficiency and quality to the processes of attracting customers and making sales that will generate returns. Other positive interactions are with the product team, which will indicate what the customer needs and how, and the after-sales sector, to align the entire consumer trajectory.

At the Brasas English school, Tatiana says that sales and marketing started to hold weekly meetings, sometimes more frequently, in order to plan the most assertive strategies. “Today, we managed to change the route on the way, we don’t have to wait to close the month. From one week to the next, we can see if the opportunities have diminished, for example.”

With this more integrated look, it was also possible to better predict the goals. “We had a very wrong notion of sales, it was a cultural thing that enrollment is cyclical and only available in a few months of the year. But if you have a class starting, you can register every month and hit the monthly target”, says the manager.

The new tools available imply the role of the seller, points out Luis Lourenço, who now has a more consultative profile. In this case, other skills are important, especially soft skills.

“For a good sales professional, communication is important, but active listening is perhaps more important, to really understand what the person is looking for, what I am going to solve in their life”, says the director. Other skills he indicates are: curiosity, analytical ability and quick learning.

Persuasion as a strategy

“There is still in Brazil, in sales and marketing practices, a very instinctive and non-technical bias, little based on readings, knowledge, sharing and this happens because it demands an effort that will take time to be consolidated and bring results, but it is fundamental and will guarantee consistency in the achievement of goals”, analyzes André Siqueira.

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This instinct pointed out by him is perceived in the survey, in which 84% of companies believe that good negotiation and persuasion skills are the main competence of the sales professional. This is a skill that Nádia Laís demonstrates with mastery.

She has had a fine confectionery business since 2006, started after graduating in gastronomy. In addition to word of mouth, the main sales strategy is to knock on the door of potential customers, in the case of restaurants and buffets, to offer the product or receive it at her store, which is located in São Caetano do Sul, in the metropolitan region of Sao Paulo.

Nádia Laís closed contracts in the fine confectionery business, personally approaching potential customers.

“Every week we do tastings, where people get to know our product. With a good conversation, the fact of coming to the bakery, talking to me, having this exchange of information is much better. Having contact with the customer is more important, I can close more contracts,” she says.

A practice she did 15 years ago and does occasionally today is to assemble tasting kits and take them personally to restaurants in the region. “I went with the face and the courage, to introduce myself, to ask if you are interested, if it fits into their menu”, she explains. She also got in touch with establishments she met at a gastronomy event. That’s how she got three more clients.

She adds this more personal strategy to the analysis of data from the social networks in which she is present to understand who the audience is and what they like most. Nádia’s attitude reflects another perception of the survey: 63% agree that good results in the sales area depend more on the motivation and attitude of salespeople.

Nádia says that the importance of the initiative is a topic of discussion in a networking group among entrepreneurs of which she is a part. “The first point that I noticed that the demand increased was when I ‘came out of my anonymity’, came to a new business address and started to show myself more”, she says.

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“A sales professional can be super persuasive, but it won’t be more than the group of friends I asked. I understand that the professional must have the ability to persuade, but more technically, understand the client’s great pain and be a more consultative person, helping to solve the problem”, says Luis Lourenço.

The article is in Portuguese

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