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Determine the Effectiveness of Your Sales Efforts - 25 Crucial Questions You Should Be Asking (Part 4 of 6)

Are your New Product Introductions poised for success?

As part of an ongoing analysis of key questions that should be asked because they provide insight into the hidden factors that determine the effectiveness of your sales efforts, we began by looking at external conditions that may propel or hinder sales growth. However, it is the internal factors that really set the stage for success. In order to remain vibrant, organizations often dump wads of cash into the research, development and launch of new products and service offerings. The responsibility of the sales team is to promote and sell these new innovations into a crowded marketplace.

The problem is that the biggest fear of a salesperson is being embarrassed in front of a prospect or customer. A lack of confidence in a new product or service will send the wrong message to the marketplace. Let’s look at some important questions that will provide the necessary intelligence regarding an analysis of your organization’s products and services.

1) When did you last introduce a new product line, product modification or service offering? Let’s hope it was not more than five years ago as this means you may be behind the eight ball with regards to your competition. Since I know most organizations have provided new offerings in the past five years, then take the time to maximize your chance for success by understanding how these new offerings will truly benefit your customers.

2) Did your organization conduct a feasibility study to determine if the new product or service line would be successful? This may seem like a no-brainer, but many have failed to take this necessary step before pumping in millions of dollars only to find out that the new ABC2000 is not in demand. Warehouses are full of products collecting dusts. If you fall into this trap, then what can be done to resurrect your offering out of the garbage can and into the limelight? Perhaps marketing needs to be involved to craft a new campaign and generate the buzz needed for success in the marketplace. Make a list of targeted prospects and customers that are in need of your offerings and focus your efforts there.

3) Based on your product and service line, which products and services have the highest profit margins and are they driving the bulk of your revenue? Let’s face it, commission plans will ultimately determine how much and what products and services actually get sold. Fail to spiff in the right way and you set the entire line up for failure. Make sure you are paying on those products and services that have the highest profit margins. Selling is a game of margins and not just about volume. Greedy capitalist salespeople will always gravitate to those products and services that pay the most. Make sure you are rewarding those products and services that have the highest margins and should drive the bulk of your revenue.

4) What type of ongoing marketing research process exists within your organization? Marketing research allows your salespeople to communicate the right message to the marketplace. They will be able to convey the real value that your products and services offer because they will know what the demands and needs are. Every feature has a benefit and a sales team needs to be able to convey the real value of your offerings. Marketing research allows you to understand what your prospects and customers want!

Having a strong strategic vision for the products and services your company offers is important to the long-term success of the organization. A large part of that vision is understanding the needs and wants of the marketplace. Doing the diligence needed is often overlooked by companies and they pay for it in spades on the backend. In my next blog, we will explore the critical nature of having the right sales team in place to sell your organization’s products and services.