We have just started the final half of the year and many firms are already jittery about the prospects of meeting their annual target. Depending on the industry you are in and where your sales season lies, it is already clear whether you are likely to meet the target or not.

One of my clients last week told me times are hard for their firm. Even after investing a lot in the first half of the year in sales and marketing as well as introducing new products, sales revenue is far below their expectation. He asked for my advice, which I share in this forum.

In business, if you find yourself struggling with sales to meet expectations, you have at least four options which you must consider wisely and apply immediately.

The first option is to apply defense strategies.

Often when a football team realizes time is running out and may not win against a stronger team, defense is one of the strategies to prevent being humiliated. The players concentrate on preventing opponents from scoring than on scoring a goal. In other words, they play to not to lose rather than to win.

You may go slow on development of new products, prune out non-profitable or slow-moving stock that hold cash and non -performing employees, and increase customer service to prevent the customers from migrating to competitors.

The second option is to attack viciously like a wounded buffalo. This is a highly risky option but also highly rewarding. Six months is a long time in business.

You can turn things around by executing a strategy to aggressively acquire customers, expand to new markets and do various campaigns to promote your products to existing and new customers. This will work well if you caught your competitors napping or unaware.

This will require more cash and having missed the first half target, you are probably short of cash. Be careful and monitor every shilling you spend to ensure it yields more revenue.

The third option is to be creative and innovative. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but you can find ways of making your product more appealing to your customers.

Look at things like your packaging, pricing, trade terms, distribution models and generally the way you prospect, acquire and treat customers.

Talk to your customers as well as non-customers and ask for their opinion. Find out why the majority don’t use your products or why they choose the competitor and what can be done to win them.

The last option is to do nothing and blame the economy and circumstances as you wait for your fate. It is believing you have done your best and nothing else you can do. It is giving up and by doing so you give your competitors leverage. The choice is yours.


This article was first published in The Business Daily on July 7, 2019.

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