Advertisement

A Monthly Briefing for Optical Lab Owners and Managers

- March 2019 -

Dollars & Sense

Make What You Say Pay

Lab Notes

New Products

Spotlight

Dollars & Sense

Stalled Sales? Get Unstuck by Engaging in a Strategic Market Analysis

Jill Johnson

If you are struggling with sluggish sales, there are two critical areas you must review to address the situation. The first is determining if the slowdown is due to changes in your target market. The second is determining if your sales and promotional approaches are ineffective. While there may be complicating factors beyond your control, most of the time a sales slowdown can be attributed to one or both issues. This type of analysis reviews your demographics, competitors and the effectiveness of your marketing messages to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the demand potential for your business. When combined with a marketing audit, you have a powerful opportunity to turn your sales around.

Conduct a Demographic Analysis

A demographic assessment is the foundation of determining if your products or services remain feasible. Understanding your target market demographics provides insight regarding the impact of any changes in market volume. A demographic review can help you determine if you are in a short-term sales slump or if a more significant market decline is expected over a longer time horizon. All too often the cause for a revenue decline is evident in the demographic data. The key is to allow the data to show you objectively what is going on in your market.

A well-executed demographic analysis evaluates shifts in the variables of your consumer’s age, gender, income and other economic variables impacting the market you sell to and identifies potential market risks impacting your business survival. Business client demographics include company age, revenue, number of employees, or number of locations.

Be careful in defining your market area boundaries. Too many businesses use wider geographic areas for their market than they realistically serve. Overly optimistic boundaries will overstate your market potential. Think of your customer demographics as you would a doctor looking at your vital signs. Demographics will help identify new opportunities. Or they will confirm your market has shrunk to a level where you should re-consider your offerings.

Conduct Market Interviews

Some organizations conduct probing interviews of customers, employees, key community leaders, industry associations, and vendors to gain insight on what is changing within their marketplace. Interviews provide you with insights into what makes your competitors tick or help you understand what your key target audiences really think. Interviews can help you understand what is going on and provide you with insight to refine your marketing messages to improve sales.

Study Your Competitors

While the Internet has made it easier to gather basic information on competitors, competitive intelligence involves deeper methods. Look at what products and services they are promoting. Evaluate how they are positioning these resources including how they address pain points to meet customer needs. You can use primary research techniques including networking with industry experts, customers, suppliers, key referral sources and even competitors to better understand your market environment. Combine this information with the use of secondary research sources such as news media or subscription databases to help you gain additional insight. Researching your competitors will provide you with a deeper awareness of opportunities or the need to revamp your offerings. Competitor insight also can help you develop more effective strategies to address the impact they might be having on shaping your consumer attitudes or restricting your market area.

Secret Shop Your Sales Team

Secret shopping allows you to better understand how effective your salespeople are at sharing your brand message with your target audience. You can assess their conversation approaches, closing techniques and positioning efforts when responding to contacts from a prospective customer. You can combine this approach with secret shopping your key competitors. Secret shopping your team and competitors will give you greater insight into identifying opportunities for improvement and enhancing sales effectiveness.

Complete a Marketing Audit

Effective marketing strategies balance the critical interrelationships of the elements of the marketing mix with your organization’s strategic plan, to reach identified target markets and generate desired sales results. A marketing audit evaluates the effectiveness of your marketing and promotional tactics to identify what needs to be maintained or improved to support your organization’s strategic vision and plan. This would include a review of your website and sales approaches (phone, drop-in, Internet, etc.). Review all of your marketing collateral materials to assess improvements to enhance consumer decision-making. Carefully evaluate how you utilize your social media channels to identify more effective tactics for sharing your marketing message and engaging with your prospects or key referral sources.

Provide Sales Coaching to Your Team

Sometimes your team needs outside support to review their sales approaches to improve overall performance. It is not uncommon for novice sales people to be given a few books and some sales manuals with the expectation they will intuitively figure out how to sell. Closing deals, whether to a consumer or a commercial client, can be a much more complicated effort, especially if it involves a complex sale. Complex sales do not resolve in a single interaction and they often involve multiple decision points before the final decision to buy. Sales professionals often have to tweak how they converse with prospects. Developing better skills and questions for probing prospects can help isolate decision criteria and move the sale forward.

Final Thoughts

Engaging in a Strategic Market Analysis is a powerful approach to uncovering the true reasons for your revenue slowdown. The goal is to determine if your marketing approaches or your lack of a viable market is the cause of your situation. If it is your marketing, you can adjust your sales and marketing messages to better align with your customers and their decision triggers. If it is the market, you can review your pricing strategy and geographic market area boundaries to better optimize those elements impacting your target market.

Sifting through the data you gather will help you reassess your market trends, growth factors and competitive dynamics. You gain an understanding of the implications of this information relative to your organization, as well as an assessment of how well you are positioned for long-term success.

Jill Johnson is the President and Founder of Johnson Consulting services, a highly accomplished speaker, and an award-winning management consultant. Jill helps her clients make critical business decisions and develop market-based strategic plans for turnarounds or growth. Her consulting work has impacted nearly $4 billion worth of decisions. She has a proven track record of dealing with complex business issues and getting results. For more info, visit jcs-usa.com.

BACK TO TOP



Advertisement

Lab Notes

Register Now! 2019 COLA Spring Meeting

LABTALK

Registration is now open for the 2019 COLA Spring Meeting! The public comment for our Safe Use Determination closes in early April. Register today to ensure that you know the very latest on The Vision Council’s SUD Application and what the recent OEHHA Notice of Completeness means specifically for TVC members.

Timely topics to include:

  • Optical Technology Panel - Rightsizing your Lab with Market Changing Technology
  • Telemedicine and the Optical Industry
  • Emerging Optical Leaders
  • Mock OSHA Inspection
  • Regulatory Affairs and Technical Update – OEHHA Public Notice/SUD Request
  • Finding and Retaining Talent in Today's Job Market

A special room rate at the Temecula Creek Inn has been arranged. The deadline to reserve a room at this discounted rate is April 8. Please call (877) 713-2803 for reservations and refer to the COLA 2019 meeting.



Advertisement

New Products

Coburn Technologies Introduces New Spin Coater

Coburn Technologies is pleased to announce the newest innovation in lens coating equipment, the Velocity 2D.

Velocity 2D is the next generation of the current Velocity Automated Spin Coater, now designed with dual-coating technology. Derived from the existing platform of the ground-breaking Velocity automated lens coater, the Velocity 2D now offers labs the ability to coat lenses with two different coating solutions in one machine.

As the first of its kind with this new “dual-coating” technology, the Velocity 2D is truly unique. It can be paired with Coburn’s Duality lens detaper and cleaner to offer labs smart, scalable automation for lens processing, as lenses are detaped, cleaned, and coated in one smooth process.

“Customers have been asking for the ability to apply multiple coatings in one machine for a long time, and we are proud to be the first to deliver this ability,” said Alex Incera, President of Coburn Technologies. “We’ve taken our highly successful and established product, the Velocity, and made it better in this next generation platform.”

In addition to dual-coating technology, Velocity 2D also offers automatic coating height adjustment, spindle speed monitoring, and a variety of other unique process control features in order to effectively ensure proper coating on all lenses.

For additional information, please visit www.coburntechnologies.com.

BACK TO TOP

Brian Dunleavy, Editor, LabTalk/LabAdvisor

Brian is the Editor of LabTalk. He covers wholesale laboratories, lab systems, other ECP news and features/coverage. Contact Brian at [email protected].

Copyright © 2019 LabTalk. All rights reserved. Read more at LabTalkOnline.com/LabAdvisor

Lab Advisor is published by Jobson Healthcare Information LLC, 440 9th Avenue, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10001.

To subscribe to other JHI newsletters or to manage your subscription, click here.

To change your email address, reply to this email. Write "change of address" in the subject line.
Make sure to provide us your old and new address.

To ensure delivery, please be sure to add [email protected] to your address book or safe senders list.

Click here if you do not want to receive future emails from Lab Advisor.