Transforming a business is normally dependent on a solid top line, identifying and cutting that business to the defendable core. Almost every organisation over the last few years has had to address some pretty uncomfortable fundamentals: savage cuts, rapid market shifts the remaining doing more with less. So it is no surprise that those without a new business development plan are finding growth elusive and revenue stubbornly flat.

So where did all your customers go?

Are your sales short of meeting plan? Can’t quite put your finger on why? Generalisations are like unwelcome visitors at Christmas: the economy is depressed, the high street is dead, weather too hot, too cold, bank holidays, marketing, manufacturing. Threat of alien invasion anyone? – The list goes on so don’t do the same thing over again, challenge it – but how?

Akin to a rabbit in the headlights, purely a human means of justifying inactivity. Sales will defend the indefensible until the cows are well and truly in their sheds and bedded down for the night.

In the meantime – what’s interesting is: your customers are STILL out there.

Think of your sales effort as this boiler system. You know it’s not doing what it is supposed to, but don’t know why and how to solve it. You call in the expert. He arrives and is greeted with the very familiar rattles, thumps, smells and hiss of steam.

He asks some questions. He checks a pipe or two and with his hand reaches into his overalls and takes out a small hammer. He gently taps a particular valve once and immediately, the entire system begins working perfectly.

Then the invoice arrives – £1000 just 15 minutes work. Demanding an itemised invoice, the following arrives:

For tapping the valve £1.00
For knowing where to tap and how hard £999.00
Total £1,000.00

If your sales effort is that boiler system, Your sales effort is the engine that keeps everything going and , over time it will become less effective. There are plenty of firms that will help you with training and strategy – but who can help you find just the right places to ‘tap’ your sales effort and get it working again?

That is an area that icebreaker excels with. We are expert in working with management teams, sales as well as other functions to identify and close those revenue gaps.

Contrary to the generalisations, the businesses addressing these gaps are doing extremely well. There is unlikely to be one critical thing to resolve, much more likely to be a multitude of other things – along with creating a robust enough back office business model and motivated team that can weather the storm.

Three furniture retail businesses, a leading fast growth art gallery, and market leading tour operator we have recently been involved with have all been faced with exactly this challenge. With a recent multi-channel retail client, getting them to focus on the gaps and providing the external stimulus was what they needed. We estimated their current plan was going to under-deliver sales by 30% vs. budget, threatening business viability but they were stuck and could not break their habits and see how to close the gap. Three of the icebreaker team were drafted in (two of whom are MBA marketers) alongside the icebreaker client lead. Within 3 days the baseline sales were established, and thereafter the 30% gap and pitfalls in the furniture retailer’s current plan vs. budget was identified, alongside a solid multi-channel plan to recover the 30% sales back to budget at a c7% better margin.

If you are interested in a challenging discussion we would be delighted; so get in touch with your regional icebreaker contact.

Where did you customers go – ELSEWHERE! Would you like them back?

Sincerely, Tom

CEO icebreakerexecutive

+44 (0)207 193 5518 or E:

“Delivering Results – Transferring Skills and Leaving Legacies”