Henry, who is a client of mine and the VP of Sales for a large company, once told me the secret to increasing sales: “It’s a simple, mathematical calculation that every baseball fan knows,” he said. “Yet, it’s a powerful concept to learn.”
Yes, baseball. Henry looks at each salesperson’s batting average. In baseball, a player’s batting average is calculated by taking the number of hits and dividing it by the number of at-bats. In sales, it’s the number of deals closed divided by the number of proposals made. Henry believes that, like baseball players, the few talented salespeople are the ones who can achieve higher batting averages — they’re the Hall of Famers. But according to him, “Even those with lower batting averages can still get their hits. All they need is more opportunities to hit the ball.”
Henry’s theory of sales can also be applied to your online business growth strategy. To increase online sales, you need to consider your “batting average.”
A recent report found that conversion rates for purchases made on ecommerce sites have dropped from 2.51 percent in Q1 2014 to 2.32 percent in Q1 2015. This means that for every 100 people visiting the average ecommerce site, about 2.3 of them actually buy something. In baseball terms that’s a .230 batting average, which is no Hall of Fame level. Are you seeing the same conversion rates with your business? Don’t panic.
You can apply Henry’s methodology to your own business strategy to increase sales. There are two approaches to consider: improving your average or giving yourself more at-bats. Either way, you’ll get more hits.
To improve your average, you need to make sure your batting skills are at their best. In online business terms, this means constantly adjusting your website to make it more visibly appealing, studying your competition and the leaders in your industry to see what they’re doing and working with consultants.
Sometimes your batting average still won’t budge, despite doing everything outlined above. If that’s the case, you can still follow Henry’s business strategy to get more hits. All you need to do is provide yourself with more at-bats (read: more opportunities).
So if you think you’re doing everything you can to convert visitors to sales on your website, then your focus should be on getting more visitors. That means investing more time in search engine optimization strategies and leveraging technologies and tools to attract more prospects. It also means supplementing your SEO activities with old-school marketing, like picking up a visitor’s email address by offering a newsletter subscription. You can also use your customer relationship management system to ensure that you maintain a relationship with every visitor that comes to your site through periodic, informative communications.
This will result in more people thinking of your company and your products. And the more people coming back to your site, the more opportunities you have to increase sales.
Yes, conversion rates are low and falling. It’s getting tougher to sell online, but your problems are no different from that major league player looking to get more hits. Even if you’re doing everything you can, you can still generate more sales by just increasing your at-bats. That’s what Henry would tell you. And he’s right. Play ball.
For more insight on how to grow your business, visit our Business Growth Strategies page.