As your company grows, you will want it to grow as quickly as possible. The problem with that is that when you grow too quickly, you cannot sustain that growth and you move faster than your company’s infrastructure can handle. This leads to poor customer service, dissatisfied clients and employees who feel overworked. As you move forward, remember to take steps to allow for manageable growth and plan ahead for what your company is going to be doing in a month and what it is going to be doing in a year. There are three serious pitfalls that await you as you grow, and there are things that you can do to deal with them.
Too Many Too Fast
Saying that your business has too many customers seems oxymoronic. How can a growing and profitable company have too many customers? When you reach the critical point where you cannot give your customers the attention and care that they deserve, your company has grown too fast. You need to find a way to slow growth so you can catch up and sustain the growth that you already have. One way to do this is to decrease your marketing budget and spend less time trying to acquire new customers. Keep your focus on the leads that you already have, and once you have taken care of those, then restart your normal marketing campaign. Obviously you should hire more staff, but remember that every three frontline staffers, for example sales staff, that you hire, you will need someone in the back office to handle orders and customer service. This will keep your back office staff from becoming overworked.
Another pitfall to avoid is breaking promises to customers. When your company grows too quickly, the overnight delivery that was possible before might take two days to get where it needs to go. Take your time with your customers and never make a promise to them that you cannot keep. It is better to tell them that their package will take a couple of days to arrive, than to promise quick delivery and have it arrive late. Customers do not like to get their hopes up and then get disappointed when their package does not arrive.
Falling Through The Cracks
Finally, some customers or potential customers will just fall through the cracks when you grow too quickly. They made an initial inquiry and tried to ask questions about the company, but they were never answered. Most of these customers will fall be the wayside early on in the sales pipeline, and they are not likely to ever come back. You need to have a system in place where you address and talk to every potential customer that contacts your company, or shows interest in your products. You have paid money, via customer acquisition costs, to have those customers contact you, and if you do not follow through with them, then all of the money that you spent on acquisition has been wasted. One solution here is to use a staffer to do nothing but handle incoming inquiries and create sales leads from those inquiries, which are then handed over to your sales team.
It may seem like growing your company is not something that is worth doing, but that is never the case. You want your business to grow, but you want it to grow in such a way that you can handle the growth and the customers that come with it. Fortunately, software, such as CRM, or customer relationship management, can help guide your employees through this period and help them maintain a good relationship with customers throughout their time in the sales pipeline.
I am Max Sanderson, and my company went from thirty thousand a month in sales last year to one hundred thousand a month this year. We were losing customers and leads left and right, and it did not seem like we would ever be able to stabilize. Using the SugarCRM solution that we got from SugarCRM (www.sugarcrm.com), we were able to create a guided sales process and follow up procedure that kept us in contact with all of the sales leads that we generated. Now we know how to handle that kind of rapid growth, and we look forward to our next challenge.