Welcome to this week’s edition of Let’s Talk, where we delve into the world of sales strategies for 2023.
In today’s discussion, we will explore the most promising sales tactics and techniques for 2023. Our conversation will cover a range of topics, including the integration of emerging technologies and the significance of establishing strong customer relationships.
Regardless of your level of experience in sales, our experts will provide valuable insights into the most effective sales strategies for the upcoming year.
Simon Laskaj, Regional Sales Director, ANZ South and Public Sector, Confluent
“Customers are getting increasingly used to convenience, a behaviour rapidly cultivated during the pandemic, and customer experience is the new brand loyalty. Businesses need to focus on innovations that improve customers’ journey to purchase and be able to meet customers effectively where they prefer, whether in person, online or other channels.
“Personalised experiences are best created by leveraging real-time data. The ability to consolidate data, including customer feedback and purchase history from multiple touchpoints, and respond with personalised offers can reduce cart abandonment and enable further upselling and cross-selling opportunities down the line, directly driving revenue. For example, AO, one of the UK’s leading electrical retailers, delivered hyper-personalised online experiences by combining historical customer data with clickstream data and other real-time digital signals from across the business. This increased customer conversion rates by up to 30%.
“With real-time data, each customer can be treated as unique, boosting customer satisfaction and encouraging repeat sales. Businesses need to improve their access to more data to meet demands for real-time applications, and data streaming is the solution.”
Mark Buckley, Vice President ANZ, Genesys
“Companies must shift their attention from business-centric (inside-out) to people-centric (outside-in) decision-making. Many organisations now realise that the experiences they orchestrate for customers are as important as their products or services. By having a pulse on customer interactions across every touchpoint, businesses can holistically understand the customer journey and engagement with their brand and be able to provide end-to-end, empathetic experiences. Positive customer experiences help build trust, promote loyalty, and in turn, create potential for long-term revenue growth. Once loyalty is established, businesses can engage with their customers using cross-sell or upsell offers at the right moment, through the most appropriate channel, to boost sales conversions.
“Businesses can further bolster their customer engagement by retooling AI for automation. For example, tools like predictive engagement enhance (rather than replace) human interactions by making the customer feel heard and understood, thus building deeper connections. Ultimately, the holy grail of revenue-building is solving real business problems for customers, which is always the driving force behind any strategy.”
Elise Balsillie, Head of Thryv Australia
“The ability to close a sale isn’t just about the product you’re selling; it has a lot to do with your customer relationships and pricing strategy.
“Most small business owners try to increase profits in two ways: sell more or cut costs. But an effective sales strategy to grow the business and revenue is to adopt a strategy of; “don’t sell, help”, and “optimise your pricing”.
“Small businesses can sometimes focus more on products, or in outselling their competitors. Instead, by focusing on helping customers rather than on selling, you’ll create better experiences, leading to positive word-of-mouth.
“When it comes to pricing, many small business owners experiment with daily deals but none of these will translate to bottom-line success if you don’t optimise pricing. This, aligned with demonstrating the value you provide, is one of the simplest and most effective ways to increase profits.
“Buyers will pay for value, but without a sound approach to value-based pricing based your business provides, you’ll be hostage to market changes and competitive pressures.”
Paul Hadida, General Manager, APAC at SevenRooms
“SevenRooms research revealed that 82% of Australians feel the current cost-of-living crisis has impacted their spending habits. However, they also said personalised, meaningful experiences would incentivise their loyalty.
“Incentivising loyalty with your current customers not only increases the frequency of transactions per customer, but it can also support by boosting average transaction sizes and the number of customers through referrals.
“For Australia’s vibrant and dynamic hospitality industry, the businesses that recognise every customer has different habits and preferences – and caters to their individuality rather than targeting them with one-size-fits-all marketing and customer experiences – will find it easier to drive customer retention and increase revenue.
“To go the extra mile, restaurants can incentivise and reward a guest’s visit with a complimentary drink on arrival, and offering rewards or loyalty points.”
Kristina Trood, Technical Project Manager, Megantic
“A great strategy that small businesses can use to increase revenue is to decrease their cost per acquisition. Decreasing the cost of a sale will increase the profit and revenue as a result. This can be achieved by ensuring marketing budget is utilised efficiently, i.e. on the products with the highest profit margins or services with a higher client value.
“At Megantic, we have an extensive research and discovery phase with all of our clients. This ensures we’re not only targeting high traffic and qualified keywords, but we’re also putting our resources in the right places to drive organic revenue up and the cost per acquisition down.”
Ellis Mitchell, Business Development Teams Manager APAC, Aircall
“In this challenging economic climate, it is best practice to focus sales efforts on retaining and growing existing customers, because capturing new customers likely won’t be as easy.
“Different strategies can be applied. For example, looking at expansion opportunities. Can an existing customer buy more licenses, products or services from you? Cross-selling and up-selling should also be explored. Are there any additional services that you sell that would be relevant for some existing customers? Would some of them be willing to buy higher level packages or services?
“If you are selling a product or consumable, you may want to explore bundling. There is a reason fast-food chains always ask if you want it in a meal. It’s a powerful way to increase the average “basket-size”, while also offering greater value to customers.
“Are there any opportunities to create partnerships with companies offering products and services that complement your own, and create stickier customers that are loyal and spend more? Partnerships can take various forms depending on the type of business, and product and service sold. For example, two complementary tech solutions can bring more value to their users by integrating their technologies. A restaurant could partner with a nearby cinema to sell food to their customers, or an appliance maintenance business with local appliance retailers for post-sales services.
“Finally, provide a great customer experience and ask your happy customers for referrals. They can bring you new customers for free. Referral systems or loyalty programs are a great way to incentivise customers so that they keep advocating for you.”
Russ Townsend, Senior Solutions Executive, Cincom Systems Australia
“At Cincom, we believe that the most effective sales strategies for SMEs to increase revenue begins with adhering to core values. While tactics such as upselling, cross-selling, and discounting can certainly play a role in driving revenue, we don’t pursue those at the expense of values.
“Instead, we focus on building strong relationships with our clients based on trust, integrity, and a shared commitment to excellence. This means taking the time to understand their needs and providing personalised solutions that deliver real value.
“One way we achieve this is through leveraging technology to streamline our sales and support processes to provide personalised service to our clients. Using customer relationship management (CRM) software helps us track and analyse customer data to identify opportunities for upselling or cross-selling and deliver targeted marketing campaigns.
“Another strategy we use is to invest in employee training and development to ensure that our team is equipped with the skills and knowledge to provide exceptional customer service. We empower our employees to be brand ambassadors, we provide them with the tools they need to succeed, and we create a culture of excellence that drives our customer relationships and sales for long-term success of the business.”
Rachael Evans, Founder, The Workshop Whisperer
“In a tightening economy where there is a fiscal need to halt consumer spending in order to control inflation, it can be tempting for small businesses to jump to the conclusion that they have to discount their pricing in order to keep their customers returning.
“This is a race to the bottom for those partaking in this strategy. Loyal, non-price-sensitive customers can be 80% of your customer base and are still looking for the same as in good times: Value for money, and convenience.
“Include extras that make your offering more appealing, like vouchers for other local businesses that are also looking to add value to their clients or customers.
“Make yourself the most convenient option by ensuring that if you do upsell or cross-sell, your customer doesn’t have to return a second or third time to receive the full benefit of your product or service.
“Finally, forget discounting. This cheapens your brand, and your self-worth, and invites the price shoppers along who will give you most of your customers’ headaches. Giving only a 10% discount means that to hold a 45% profit margin you have to do an additional 29% in sales! Focus on adding value instead.”
Tahnee Sharp, Founder, The Marketing Room
“The Power of Recurring Revenue: How Subscriptions Can Transform Your Business!
“The usual way to increase revenue is to get on the phones, cold calling, warm calling, emailing and sending texts to the point of overload. But sales nirvana is a constant stream of revenue, steady throughout the year. So, stop upselling, reselling, cross-selling, and overselling and focus on offering subscription-based services.
“Subscriptions aren’t just for Netflix and newspapers. Did you realise there are one-off high-ticket items offering subscription services now?
“For example, BMW now has a subscription service offering customers the ability to switch on and off luxury services like heated seats for $19-a-month. Now why would BMW bother with a $19-a-month subscription? It’s not like BMW need to worry about income, but they’ve realised a set-and-forget income stream tabilises their revenue generation across the year.
“While floor sales teams come and go, markets crash, and businesses rely on EOFY sales, the forgettable subscription is here forever. For a service-based business, perhaps you’re a mechanic that could offer an oil change or a maintenance subscription.
“If you’re an online business, you can offer content, support, e-learning and membership subscriptions. No excuses, what could you offer for your customers to subscribe to?”
Des Hang, Co-Founder and CEO, Carbar
“While it may be counterintuitive to how many small businesses currently operate, I’d implore owners to give subscription a try. Recurring income is king when it comes to building a business. Subscription is a surefire pathway towards this.
“In terms of how you do it with the products you have on hand, get creative. Five years ago, cars weren’t available for subscription in Austrlalia. Now it’s fairly common. It all comes down to looking at a product that customers need on a day to day basis, and adding to it in order to turn it into a service.
“One thing we have learned though, is that while subscription is a fantastic model, you can’t go all in on it. It will only ever cater to a certain portion of your market, and that is OK. But having a strong pool of subscription customers to provide a baseline to your ongoing revenue is a great position to build from.”
Andrew Chen, Senior Sales Manager, ipSCAPE
“Small businesses who have high growth aspirations can leverage an outbound dialler as a component of their sales strategy to proactively engage with their customer base.
“It is crucial small businesses understand how customers interact with their brand and what drives their purchasing decisions. This will assist in developing and implementing effective sales strategies to foster growth and increase revenue.
“The sales strategies I would recommend to small businesses to increase revenue include:
- Leverage predictive dialing technology for sales outbound calls to increase the number of conversations your sales reps are having. More conversations lead to more opportunities available to increase revenue.
- Integrate a ‘Nurturing’ process by reconnecting with prospects at a later date when they may be ready to purchase from your brand. The preview setting of an outbound dialler will best support this strategy.
- Route emails from a shared inbox to effectively manage and respond to customer enquiries more efficiently; this can improve the customer experience, leading to repeat business.”
Anurag Vasisth, group CEO, Loyalty Now
“When it comes to increasing revenue, small businesses have an array of sales strategies at their disposal, such as upselling, cross-selling, and discounting, but one often overlooked yet highly effective strategy is the implementation of digital loyalty and rewards programs.
“By offering discounts and cashback to customers through these programs, small businesses can incentivise customers to continue shopping with them, while also gathering valuable data on customer behaviour and preferences. This data can then be used to create targeted promotions and personalised offers that further encourage customer loyalty and spending.
“In a time of economic uncertainty, where customers are increasingly feeling the pinch of rising costs, loyalty and rewards programs can help provide essential savings and financial outcomes. As such, small businesses that implement digital loyalty programs can differentiate themselves in the market, attract and retain more customers, build brand loyalty, and, ultimately, increase their revenue.”
Julia Ewert, Negotiation and Sales Strategist, Julia Ewert
Maintaining and growing a small business requires proper sales process. Before upselling, cross-selling or discounting, small businesses need to introduce a proper sales process.
“Upselling and cross-selling is best done when there is trust and a connection with the customer and discounting should be a last resort. Discounting can make a small business look desperate and is tantamount to cutting corners and the best small businesses grow and thrive on relationships and trust.
“The key mistake most small businesses make with their sales strategy is they don’t have a sales process and it should be part of their business model.
“Define your sales process so employees understand what your company does and how it does it. The sales manual should identify all the steps for staff to follow and include key stages in the sales cycle such as ideal customer and follow-up.
“Successful small businesses follow a sales process. If smaller businesses want to be able to better predict and forecast their revenue, they need to use a systematic sales process. The reality is small business won’t close a deal on their first phone call, meeting or approach. It takes an average five to 12 value-adding follow up phone calls after a proposal to close a deal.
“Every conversation with your potential customer should be an investment in the relationship. Ehen starting a small business there are no quick fixes and it’s about genuinely investing in the relationship to ultimately win customers and contracts that will increase revenue.”
Olivia Jenkins, Founder, Olivia Jenkins Consulting
“There are many effective sales strategies that small businesses can use to increase revenue, including upselling, cross-selling, discounting, and more.
“Here are some strategies that can help small businesses drive sales:
- Upselling: This involves offering customers a higher-priced or more feature-rich version of a product or service they are already considering. For example, a hotel might suggest upgrading to a more luxurious room for a higher price.
- Cross-selling: This involves suggesting related products or services that complement what the customer is already buying. For example, a fashion retailer might suggest a pair of shoes to go with the outfit.
- Discounting: Offering discounts on products or services can be an effective way to attract new customers and increase sales. However, businesses should be careful not to devalue their products or erode brand equity.
- Bundle pricing: Offering bundled products or services at a discounted price can be an effective way to increase sales and provide value to customers. For example, a skincare brand might bundle together a regime of products for a better price.
- Referral programs: Offering incentives to customers who refer new business can be a powerful way to increase sales and build loyalty. For example, a beauty salon might offer a discount to customers who refer a friend.
- Social media marketing: Engaging with customers on social media can be a cost-effective way to increase brand awareness and drive sales. Businesses can use social media to share product information, promotions, and customer testimonials.
“Overall, small businesses can focus on building strong relationships with customers and providing value in order to increase sales and revenue. By understanding the needs of their customers and using effective sales strategies, small businesses can supercharge their sales growth.”
Ben Lucas, Director of Flow Athletic
“As a small business owner of a fitness and yoga studio, I have found that there are a lot of ways to upsell that will not only benefit the business, but will also enhance the experience for the community. A few ways that we do it:
- We offer added value events such as our Flow After Dark Silent Yoga Disco, 5 Week Challenge etc. where our members will get a discounted rate to participate and those who are not a member will pay the normal rate. As often our members will bring a guest to join, we also get the chance for them to experience our community and what we offer which may also convert to a new member for us.
- We often will collaborate with local brands such as protein and apparel companies which we have on display in the studio. That way members can purchase them if they want to and we get a kick back.
“We find that having a gentle approach to upselling keeps members happy, especially as the additional items that we offer add value to them and are not pushed on them.”
Nadean Richards, CEO and Co-Founder, One Fine Collective
“A defined inhouse structure of sale periods can dramatically increase your revenue and is wonderful for cashflow. Look at the furniture industry as an example, why are they always on sale just at the time you need to buy a couch? Because they have a clear on and off structure that meet their target customers sales journey. More often than not it will match with a person whilst in research mode and then just as you decide the time to buy more they are on sale for a defined period of time and you take the bite so you don’t miss out. Collaboration is also a great way to get across two audiences and raise your opportunity for purchase and gain new customers. You can do this by creating a co-branded product or including a gift with purchase, or even a giveaway. That way the marketing channels are maximised as the product will be showcased to a brand new audience both on email and social. Lastly creating a lead capture form either via your Instagram handle or website, can help to raise your email database so that you can market directly to your target audience and raise revenue.”
Walter Scremin, CEO, Ontime Delivery Solutions
“Sales must focus on the long game – on the headaches you solve, your offer to clients, your value, and your ability to deliver to clients.
“Rather than rush into discounting, look for ways to demonstrate your value. Perhaps your service will save clients’ money, or allow them to deliver a better product or service? If you can objectively demonstrate the value you bring, it can be powerful.
“For example, cost control is a huge issue in delivery transport – by using an objective cost analysis tool, where potential clients input their own data, the full picture is revealed. This adds value by bringing all costs out into the open, including previously hidden costs, and drives the discussion forward.
“Cross-selling and up-selling are potential opportunities but only if you demonstrate value and why these initiatives will make your client better.
“Another strategy, particularly if you sell a complex service, is offering a trial period. This is not about discounting; it’s about starting small and proving yourself as the right solution. Sometimes you need to win the confidence of your clients before they make a big commitment.”
Briony Oayda, Managing Director, Bondi Active
“As a small business, at Bondi Active we focus on partnering with other local fitness and lifestyle businesses like gyms and Pilates/yoga studios. Aligning with a brand that has the same target customer allows us to cross-promote and run promotions and giveaways to benefit both companies with further reach, as well as better understand our customer’s needs. It also helps to build brand awareness, credibility and increases sales. Discounting older collections is another strategy we use to increase revenue and make room for new ranges, as well as offering exclusive discounts to our partners. We also keep a keen eye on our competitors to ensure our pricing is on par with the market but also reflective of our quality.”
Michael Haynes, SME Business Growth Specialist, Listen Innovate Grow
“Small businesses that provides products, services and solutions to other businesses i.e. operate in a business-to-business (B2B) context must adopt sales strategies that reflect the changing needs, expectations and behaviours of today’s B2B buyer.
“The buying processes of today’s business customers include the following:
- Multiple stakeholders involved in the decision-making process
- B2B buyers undertaking their own self-education and research utilizing a variety of sources such as industry associations, podcasts, webinars, white papers, 3rd party reviews
- B2B buyers not wanting to engage with prospective providers until much later in the sales process
- B2B buyers are now seeking a high level of expertise as well as “A-I-R” (i.e. Advice, Insights and Recommendations) to make decisions and achieve outcomes.
“In order to drive revenues, small businesses must focus on demand generation which aligns with the way B2B buyers research and undertake their purchase decisions.
“Therefore, it is recommended a 3-tier approach be undertaken comprised of:
- Microevents: such as Roundtables and Workshops
- Content: Articles, Checklists,
- Online Communities: providing access to peers, content, and perspectives
“This will provide buyers with the trust and confidence in your company resulting in the upsell, cross-sells and referrals to deliver the sales and growth they seek.”
Casey McPhail, Director of McPhails Furniture
“My brother and I have taken over the family business (McPhails Furniture) which has been operating for 40 years. We recently had to make some big changes to keep from going under during the lockdowns and it worked so well that our business is 22x what it was two years ago:
- The number one thing that we did that made a huge difference to sales was to change up the delivery model. Furniture delivery can be so expensive and it can take months for your furniture to arrive. We decided to test a $59 flat rate to anywhere within 1000km of our store and we deliver within 2 weeks. The affordability, ease and convenience has boosted our revenue by more than 22 times what it was which has grown our business substantially.
- We started advertising on Facebook. We spend a lot of money each month on FB advertising and the more we spend the more we make. We find that ads the focus on our delivery message (ie how we are helping you outside of providing furniture) do the best as it is a point of difference.
- We utilise the sales. We don’t like running too many sales, but we always utilise the big ones such as AfterPay Day and Black Friday as we know people like to shop those days. It is important to be where the people are, especially on a day where they are highly invested as if they have a good experience with you they will likely recommend you to others.”
Remonda Martinez, Managing Director, Blue Haven
“As the CEO of Blue Haven Pools and Spas, I’ve witnessed our transformation from humble beginnings to a team of over 100 members, while becoming the world’s first pool builder to sell custom concrete pool packages online. Throughout our journey, these sales strategies have helped our growth, and I hope they assist other small business owners too:
- Be genuine and deliver excellence. The best sales and lead generation strategy is to treat clients with respect and consistently deliver outstanding work. It generates positive word-of-mouth and referrals effortlessly. Despite our growth, we remain the same family business that supports our clients to bring their dream pool to life.
- Adopt a customer-centric mindset. Understanding prospects’ needs and their position in the buying journey is key. Continuously optimise each stage of your sales funnel to provide tailored solutions, thus enhancing the overall customer experience.
- Leverage technology. Embrace modern tools to streamline processes, ensuring a seamless and efficient customer journey. Our innovative property quiz assesses the block of our prospects, enabling us to create bespoke pool solutions for our clients.
- Focus on value creation. Prioritise delivering value and highlighting your unique aspects in marketing efforts. This ensures long-term success, as clients seek genuine value over short-lived gimmicks.
- Consistently nurture prospects and clients. Distribute value-adding content that helps clients understand how your products and services solve their pain points. Maintain a human voice to establish an emotional connection and continuously engage customers across multiple channels to stay top of mind.”