First, ensure your current customers are well served. If you take them for granted, they will be taken from you! It is always more expensive to acquire new customers than maintain your current customers. Find ways to sell them more by building trusted relationships and understanding their evolving pain points. Build a customer community. Remember there is a big difference between selling and closing, so don’t forget to ask for the money.
Secondly, start cross selling additional products or services to existing customers. Be respectful of the relationship and don’t get too aggressive and risk the base. Develop new products by leveraging your current portfolio. This will be a lower cost, faster method to access the market and increase sales. Prototype or test concepts with loyal customers/prospects and incorporate the feedback. Ensure your sales infrastructure is solid, including: exceptional sales professionals; effective sales process; CRM technology; key metrics; operational systems; and financial controls.
Finally, with this stronger base of customers and products, branch out to new customers. Leverage referrals, your brand and sector knowledge. Review your strategic M&A growth options. Operate from a strong base, iterate products, expand sales channels, and of course, build a strong e-commerce platform. If you are the CEO, you should be spending 50% of your time on sales, perhaps a little less if you are more established, and substantially more if you are a startup