Strategies for prioritizing sales in small businesses

Not enough sales leads? Learn how prioritizing sales can boost your pipeline.

Struggling to land clients? In my experience, this is often the result of directing your energy towards non-sales activity.

Often, the hustle to attract new clients can feel like a maze with no exit. You might be pouring hours into tasks that seem vital but don’t directly fill your sales pipeline.

Let’s dive into how a shift towards sales-focused activities could be the thing that you need.

The Real Deal: Activities That Don’t Directly Lead to Sales (Do Less of These!)

While the following tasks can help with your business’s growth and operations, they do not directly contribute to your sales pipeline and should not consume the bulk of your time:

  • Posting Content Online: Content creation is a great tool for building your brand and establishing authority in your field, but it does not guarantee immediate sales. (Pro tip – if you’re going to post content, focus on sharing sales-focused content eg. client case studies)
  • Social Media: Posting and commenting on posts by individuals who aren’t ideal clients or potential referral partners can be a time sink with little return.
  • Online Groups and Communities: Participation in groups where members aren’t your ideal clients or potential referral partners can divert your focus from more productive sales activities. This is a common trap with free groups (though there are rare exceptions).
  • Website Optimization: A sleek, user-friendly website is crucial for making a strong first impression, but the interactions off the page often lead to sales.
  • Product/Service Development: Perfecting your offering is essential, but it cannot generate sales without putting it in front of potential clients.
  • Attending Workshops/Courses: Personal and professional development is vital, yet it doesn’t directly contribute to acquiring new clients unless you’re hosting it and it’s designed to generate leads for you.
  • Administrative Tasks: Although necessary for smooth business operations, these tasks do not fill your sales pipeline. (Unless they’re sales-related admin – even then, I’d look to outsource to a VA as soon as possible or automate it)

Direct Sales Activities That Drive Results (Do MORE of these)

To boost your client roster, consider pouring more energy into the following direct sales activities:

  • Direct Outreach: Personalize your emails or messages to potential clients, showing them how your services meet their specific needs.
  • Networking Events: Industry-related events are golden opportunities to meet potential clients face-to-face, establish rapport, and start building meaningful relationships.
  • Public Speaking: To increase your chances of generating leads for your business – don’t just participate in events; become the presenter. Get in front of someone else’s audience and speak/teach/educate. Be seen as the expert. You can also host your own webinars/events, but when you’re starting out and don’t have a large audience, it’s often more effective to “borrow other peoples’ audiences”.
  • Follow-up Emails, DMs and Calls: These are crucial for keeping the conversation going with leads, understanding their needs in-depth, and demonstrating how your services can address those needs.
  • Sales Meetings/Discovery Calls/Demos: Use these sessions to present your services to interested parties, highlighting the benefits and value you can bring to their business.
  • Referral Requests: Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. Ask satisfied clients or professional contacts to refer you to others who might benefit from your services.
  • Strategic Partnerships: Partnering with organizations or complementary businesses that already have your ideal clients in their audience can catapult your business forward. These collaborations allow you to share your expertise directly with an engaged audience and present offers that resonate with their needs, creating a direct pathway to sales. For example, my good friend Samantha Riley recently invited me to speak about case studies at the Profitable Coach Summit. I previously guested on her podcast where I first shared case study tips, so she knew I could deliver great value on this topic.
  • Engage in Paid Communities: Joining paid communities or platforms relevant to your niche can be a direct line to potential clients. Once inside, actively participate in discussions, offer expertise, and share valuable insights to establish credibility. Here’s the thing – DO NOT HARD SELL. Hosting webinars or collaborative projects within these communities can also showcase your capabilities, directly leading to sales opportunities by demonstrating your value to potential clients.

7 Tips for Prioritizing Sales Focus in Your Business

  1. Delegate or Outsource Key Tasks: Hire a virtual assistant or delegate both sales and non-sales tasks to team members to manage efficiently. Use platforms like Upwork or Fiverr to find experts for handling sales administration, social media, and other administrative duties, allowing you to focus on high-impact sales work.
  2. Strategically Schedule Your Work: Block out specific times for both sales and non-sales activities, choosing optimal times for sales calls and follow-ups during your peak energy hours. Reserve lower energy periods for non-sales tasks, ensuring a balanced approach to managing all aspects of your business effectively. (Pro tip – I use Sunsama to plan my daily to-do list and prioritise what’s important first)
  3. Embrace Automation: Leverage automation tools for routine tasks. Email marketing automation, scheduling tools for content posting, and CRM systems can streamline follow-ups and client management, freeing up more time for sales activities.
  4. Create an Interactive Online Scorecard: This tool not only automates lead capture but also engages prospects, making it a powerful, time-saving lead generator. It pre-qualifies leads and provides valuable insights, allowing you to focus on the most promising prospects.
  5. Batch Similar Tasks: Group similar tasks together and address them in dedicated blocks. This method boosts productivity by minimizing the cognitive load of switching between disparate tasks.
  6. Set Goals and Deadlines for All Activities: Define clear objectives and timelines for both sales and non-sales tasks. This clarity helps maintain a balance, ensuring all essential functions of your business are tended to.
  7. Regularly Review and Refine Your Approach: Consistently evaluate how you’re spending your time across different activities. Be ready to adjust your strategy to optimize efficiency and effectiveness, with a continuous emphasis on activities that bolster your sales pipeline. The focus funnel below is a helpful resource here.
Use the focus funnel to decide what tasks you'll eliminate, automate, delegate and do.
Source: Sunkissed VA

Finding the Right Balance Between Prioritizing Sales and Completing Other Tasks

Achieving a flourishing sales pipeline doesn’t mean abandoning essential tasks but rather, finding a balance. Allocate a larger portion of your time to actions that directly engage potential clients and drive sales.

This strategic shift in focus is about prioritizing tasks that draw you closer to your revenue goals, ensuring your sales activities take precedence.

After all, without consistent sales – you don’t really have a sustainable business, right?

How are you planning to realign your efforts to prioritize direct sales activities starting today?