The Strategic Business Blog

Increase Sales: Start by Asking These 33 Essential Questions

Posted by Chris Nesbitt

In 2005 and 2006, many businesses’ strategy to increase sales was basically to wait for the phone to ring…and ring it did. However, one year later in almost every industry, the phone stopped ringing. Since 2008, many business owners have had to scale their employees back dramatically and some have unfortunately had to close their doors completely. The positive side of our economic downturn was that business owners have realized the importance of taking a more strategic approach to running their business. In this article we will discuss how any business owner, or executive, should begin developing their company’s strategy to increase sales.

In order to increase sales in a way that is most beneficial to your business’ entire operation, we must be Strategic by Design, step back and ask ourselves 33 questions. There are many other questions to ask when developing a marketing strategy or training sales people to increase their personal sales skills. However, the answers to these 33 foundational questions give a business owner, or executive, a great starting point with the type of information they need to help decide what improvements need to be implemented within their company to increase sales.

33 Essential Questions to Help Increase Sales:

  1. Increase Sales Strategy and Planning QuestionsWhat are our overall business goals?
  2. How effective is our current strategy to accomplishing our business goals and to increase sales?
  3. Are we profitable or as profitable as we should be? If you’re not profitable with your current level of sales it is likely that just increasing sales will typically not solve the profitability problem. This issue should be addressed first before focusing on increasing sales. If there are operational, organizational or financial problems negatively effecting the profit, more sales will only compound the problem…leaving you with just more work to keep up with and little to no profit. (We will discuss this in more depth in an upcoming blog – subscribe to our Strategic Business Updates to make sure you do not miss it.)
  4. How do we define our entire sales process and funnel?
  5. How do we measure the sales process effectiveness and the effectiveness of each stage of the process? How do we define success? Are we doing everything we possibly can with the resources we have?
  6. What is our return on investment on our marketing and sales efforts?
  7. How do we improve conversion ratios at each stage of your sales process?
  8. What is our current cost per sale (customer acquisition cost or CAC)?
  9. Is there a way to lower that cost with a more effective strategy?
  10. How much of my or our key manager’s personal time should be dedicated to sales and sales management?
  11. How do we measure our sales results and hold our sales people accountable?
  12. How many employees are in a revenue generating position?
  13. Who is responsible for generating new profitable business?
  14. How much profitable revenue did our top sales person generate last year and how do our other sales people compare?
  15. Do we need better sales people?
  16. Do our current sales people need training to increase sales?
  17. How do we attract the best sales people to work for us?
  18. Can some of our people not currently in a marketing or sales position learn some basic skills to contribute to our marketing and sales? We have found that with the right training those who deliver a business’ service or the technicians of the company can sometimes be more effective at sales than the typical sales person. (We will also be discussing this more in upcoming blog.)
  19. What has been done to create a championship company culture…a company culture that increases motivation, morale, and positivity to help our company increase sales?
  20. What can we do to change or create new incentives to increase sales productivity in a down economy?
  21. What is the quickest way to increase sales now while maintaining a good brand in the marketplace?
  22. What is the most effective way to sustain sales long term?
  23. How much time is dedicated to identifying new or soft markets?
  24. Is diversification (geographical or product/service offering) a good option for our company? If so, how can it be accomplished?
  25. Are we using the most effective techniques to generate leads for new business?
  26. What outbound and/or inbound marketing strategies are we utilizing?
  27. How are we maximizing an online presence?
  28. How much revenue is created as a result of our website and internet or inbound marketing techniques?
  29. What are we doing to increase sales leads through the internet (search engines, blogging, social media, etc.)?
  30. Are we getting the best return on investment for our marketing efforts?
  31. How to we align all of our inbound marketing, outbound marketing, and sales efforts for the best possible results?
  32. What differentiates us from our competition?
  33. What do the best do better than us?

What do you think about these questions? When deciding how to increase sales, what other questions have you found helpful in developing a plan for your company?

Your website should play a key role in increasing sales at your business. Are you thinking, or starting to think, you need a new website or should improve your current one? Want to ensure that you, as the business owner, receive the most value with your website? Download the New Website Planning Checklist for Business Owners.

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If you'd like to get some more clarity about what you can do to start increasing sales, request a complimentary consultation (we call it an optimization call).


Chris Nesbitt is a small business consultant and managing partner of Strategic Business Directs. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Google+.

Topics: Strategic by Design, increase sales questions, Inbound Marketing and Sales, increase sales, inbound marketing