“It’s got to be better than last year, hasn’t it?”
That’s what we said at the end of 2020. And 2021. And again a year ago!
One day the business environment will really bounce back. But as we look ahead to 2024 it feels like one of those occasions when you hope for the best and plan for the worst.
In that context here are our five tips for growing sales in 2024:
Back to basics
There are some principles that always hold true when you’re planning on growing sales in 2024.
First of all, make sure you have a plan when growing sales. Statistics show the majority of small businesses never get this far!
A plan should include these five approaches. They will help you out in 2024, just as they would have helped you out in previous years:
- Be brave with cost price increases. Cost pressures are reducing but inflation remains stubborn. Don’t be tempted to absorb prices “because it’s not as bad as last year”
- Prioritise customers. This takes tough choices. But you can only invest more time and money in your best customers if you spend less with others
- Be cautious about promotions and discounts. In a tough market it’s tempting to say Yes to things you might not on a brighter day. But discounts eat at your margins and are really hard to claw back in future
- Listen to customers. Maybe the customer isn’t always right, but they have reason to think they are. Asking questions and building their insight into your sales plans early on can avoid bigger disappointments further down the line
- Focus on decision-makers. Buying decisions are slowing. That means more people influencing choices and more of your time chasing dead ends. So try to find the ultimate decision-maker and hold your sales conversations once
OK, so apart from the basics, what’s else should you focus on when growing sales in 2024?
Expect the unexpected
The last three years have thrown up a list of global crises that we could never have predicted. Some are now referring to events as a “permacrisis”.
This constant, unexpected change has forced organisations to be more flexible in their approach to customers, operations and teams.
Maybe next year will mark a return to “normal” and come December we can celebrate that it’s been boring!
But for businesses, it makes sense to build on this agility to respond quickly to customer insight and competitive threats.
Although in its early stages, AI is surely going to continue to influence business decisions and investment choices. Read more about AI in sales.
You might have noticed too that customer service has been a casualty of this permacrisis. Wherever you turn, from government departments to major corporations, service is almost universally poor.
What an opportunity for you when growing sales in 2024!
Purpose and sustainable business
We’ve known for some time that B Corps perform better than their peers. But this also applies more generally to businesses that embrace Purpose.
One reason businesses with Purpose perform better is because they tend to have long term goals. Their reason for being is often a bigger aim than just hitting this year’s sales number.
When you’re surrounded by political and economic instability Purpose gives you and your team something consistent to aim for.
The Purpose Dividend, recent research from Demos, calculates the £ billions that could be added to the UK economy if all companies adopted this approach.
There’s no need to wait for everyone else though, and don’t hold your breath for government to bring in policy changes.
If you can refocus the heart of your business around Purpose you’ll be more attractive to customers and employees in 2024. You’ll do better by the planet and be more successful. What’s not to like?
The lady’s not for turning
This quote from Margaret Thatcher marked a very different time in UK politics.
Recent legislation has been notable for major U-turns on key policies like transport, the environment and healthcare.
With an election likely in 2024 we have a government that is even less interested in long term stability. Anything that polls well or looks like a trap for an incoming party is likely to be prioritised.
Unfortunately this creates an environment where long term investment is discouraged.
It’s the precise opposite of what business needs when growing sales in 2024.
That means most of your customers will be trying to get through next year doing more with less.
They’ll be stalling decisions whilst looking for suppliers that help them reach customers faster and run more efficiently.
You can take advantage of this by prioritising your portfolio around the services and products that best help them act flexibly.
Have fun in 2024!
The landscape for next year looks a challenging one.
With challenge comes opportunity, and we’ll look back on this time as a catalyst for some great innovations and inventions.
The most important thing is to constantly remind yourself what gets you out of bed in the morning.
That’s good for your customers and it’s good for your wellbeing.
Focus on that and aim to do more of it in 2024.
All of us at Sales: Untangled wish you a happy and successful new year.
May it be another year when we all take pride in what we achieve and have some fun along the way 🎄