Does your business suffer from uneven sales results? Perhaps you get a flurry of sales in response to a marketing campaign, or perhaps you win one big deal and put your head down to deliver the business, only to find that when you pop your head back up again – your sales pipeline has gone dry.

Many businesses suffer from an exhausting roller coaster of being up one minute and down the next: selling then delivering, then selling then delivering, then selling then delivering – never quite reaching those sustainable, predictable and (hopefully) growing sales results that a small business needs to become a bigger business.

Why businesses fail to achieve steady sales results

Other than seasonal or industry-driven peaks and troughs in demand, there are 3 key reasons why small businesses, in particular, suffer this staccato rhythm to their sales:

1. Doing the doing: When a large project or big deal comes through the door – all of your key staff get busy delivering that paying work with no time devoted to finding the next piece of work.

2. Campaign mindset: You blow all of your marketing cash on one big bang campaign – generate some leads, and then find that there’s no money left later in the year.

3. Tactic burn: Jumping from one tactic to the next – looking for something that will deliver those on-going sales results, but never quite finding that elusive silver bullet. (Sound familiar? See more on tactic burn)

Uneven sales affects more than your bottom line

There are three highly negative effects that staccato sales results can have on your small business:

1. Any work will do: When your business gets into this rhythm you may end up taking work that’s not quite right. When the sales pipeline looks dry, and there are bills to pay, anything can look better than nothing. (Sound familiar? See more on the wrong kind of work)

2. Nothing to shout about: If you’re not doing work you’re proud of it can be even harder to win the work you want, because you have limited case studies or referrees to point people to.

3. Unable to plan: Another side effect is that you cannot predict income. In micro-businesses, not knowing where the next deal is coming from will cause sleepless stressing about paying the mortgage. In any size of organisation, not being able to predict future income will make managing that business extremely hard. Do you recruit? Can you cover wages? Should you invest in that piece of software? All of these questions become almost impossible to answer if you don’t know how much money is coming your way, and when.

Why go up and down, when you could go up and up?

The key to a steady, predictable, sales pipeline is steady, predictable, marketing.

Uneven and unpredictable sales results are often the result of a yo-yo marketing diet. An approach that is as bad for your business as fad dieting is for your health. Commit to Watertight Marketing, that is a consistent set of marketing tools and techniques mapped against every step in the buying decision, and you will achieve consistent sales results. There will be a time lag as the effect kicks in. But, once it does, you’ll soon see your sales results on the up and up.

© Bryony Thomas | Yo-Yo diagram illustration by Lizzie Everard  This is an adapted excerpt from Watertight Marketing.

Bryony Thomas

Bryony Thomas

Author and Founder, Watertight Marketing

Bryony is an inspirational marketing speaker, and author of Watertight Marketing (Panoma Press, £14.99). Billed by Start Your Business Magazine as “a must for small businesses.” It was described by one MD as “the entrepreneur’s essential marketing manual”. By another, as the “best business book I’ve ever read.”

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