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Common Constraints to Growth – Sales

Over the last month the team at Harpers ran a Sales Quiz that received strong engagement and a high level of response by decision makers of SME businesses.

We have collated these findings and would like to share some insights into the most common constraints to growth in Sales and how our consultants would go about fixing it.

Client Optimisation and Retention


  • Understand current ‘wallet share’ and opportunity to cross sell additional products and services, once understood develop a targeted sales and marketing strategy to secure additional product and service line revenue.
  • Measure and frequently review results and adjust approach accordingly and focus on higher margin and cash generating product groups.
  • Task, measure and incentivise internal and external salespeople to focus on this as a project.
  • Understand competitors’ equivalent products and know your USP’s. Make sure your team are suitability trained to promote these products and services.
  • Employ strategies to improve average order value and reduce your cost to serve.


  • Know your numbers, analyse your leakage and understand the ‘why’ for any significant business loss.
  • Ensure you have the appropriate internal and external client contact strategies.
  • Develop Key Account Management plans where appropriate for your top clients to build strength and reduce risk. Be clear on key decision makers and influencers.
  • Understand competitors’ product and service offering and be clear on how you can articulate and demonstrate enhanced value – ‘know your USP’s’.
  • Develop a Customer Classification Framework to understand the requirements, pains and gains and margin for different types of customer so you can react as required.
  • Run regular reports, analyse and act on the data – keep close to your clients that generate your revenue.
  • Understand the repeatability of revenue and encourage ‘sticky business.’

New Business Development

  • Understand the mix of new business required over existing business to reach growth targets and forecast with realistic and achievable onboarding sales cycles.
  • Develop a new business plan to ensure optimal time and resource invested in new business activities that will achieve value add outcomes.
  • Understand your lead requirements and improve “quality” or “quantity” or both!
  • Keep your sales pitch concise and simple – understand the issues at hand and offer appropriate solutions
  • Build a sales compensation plan that focuses on GP not sales or volume
  • Don’t price match – sell the value of your products and your service offering, remember if you win it on price you may also lose it on price!
  • Take time to understand how to win a client from your competition and build this into your pitch.

Sales Process and Team Output

  • Clearly map your sales process to understand the most cost effective and process efficient way to optimise, retain and develop new business opportunities.
  • Review your sales activities to understand if the right people are doing the right tasks in a timely manor.
  • Focus the sales function on revenue-generating activities and ensure your sales team are highly efficient and effective with the use of their time.
  • Be sure to focus, measure and reward your team on the right activities.
  • Review and monitor your conversion metrics at each stage of the sales process
  • Develop a sales function that is focused on ROI in everything they do.
  • Create a target-focused culture and a team that are passionate about overachieving.

As mentioned, these are only some of the constraints we see in sales teams. Other things that we can help with are; Team Competence, Sales Management, Sales Pipeline, Team Accountability, Targets and Forecasts and Sales Planning.

If any of the above resonate with you and your business, this is the time to make that step to success and unlock your constraints to growth – book a complimentary consultation with the SMART Team at Harpers by clicking here.