If you’ve been in business any amount of time, you know there are times when sales are up and when they’re not.
So, tell me if this sounds familiar (for many it will, especially with rona’ impact in Q1 of 2020):
“Sales are up. Performance is at an all time high. And growth is, well… growing.
But all of the sudden (and seemingly without warning), it all starts to reverse. Sales start decreasing—then, dropping faster!
You realize you’re losing customers. Your pipeline full of leads starts drying up.
And what seemed like it was going to be your best year ever has gone from meteoric rise to crippling tailspin.
What went wrong?
Why did your sales decrease?
And how can you recover from drops in revenue—especially dramatic drops in sales revenue?
The first thing you need to do is approach this with a clear, logical, and open mind because you can fix it.
You. Can. Fix it.
Today, I’m helping you to recover from heart-stopping sales decreases (or just the more normal, non-heart-stopping kind? lol) by identifying what’s going wrong in the first place.
Because in your business, you’re going to go through growth cycles.
And often, that will involve revenue peaking and then dropping at some point.
But that certainly doesn’t mean you’re doomed.
In this article, I’ll show you:
- 7 reasons for shortfalls in sales that may be behind your business’ problems lately.
- Key metrics to keep an eye on to identify and prevent these problems from causing even more harm later.
- Proven techniques for pulling yourself out of tailspins and putting your business back on the path towards growth.
Now, let’s jump right in.
Sales Decrease Reason #1: You Aren’t Keeping Up With New Marketing Trends
One of the top reasons you’re seeing a drop in sales is because you aren’t getting with the times.
Things move quickly in the world of online marketing and business in general.
If you don’t stop to take a look around every once in a while, you may miss what’s changed.
For instance, I’ve noticed in the past that adding video to our marketing is highly correlated with an increase in sales. And that trend seems to only be rising.
According to a sizable 2020 survey from Wyzowl, video is especially important these days in marketing.
It’s used by 85% of businesses to help market their products…
About 92% of marketers say it’s an important part of their marketing strategy…
And 88% of video marketers report that they see a positive ROI from their video…
It’s especially notable that all of these trends are actually on the rise, showing that video is only becoming more important with each passing year.
I’ve personally purchased products and services from people that I admire and respect just because I want to learn from their videos.
I think that hearing an actual voice can make all the difference in building trust.
And, in fact, video now appears in 70% of the top 100 search results on Google. So if you’re not using it, you should be.
Takeaway: Video is just one of thousands of changing trends when it comes to online marketing. If you want to be sure that your business is staying on top of these trends, be sure to stay up to date by subscribing to digital marketing thought leaders (like this blog!).
Sales Decrease Reason #2: Your Marketing Has Changed & You Haven’t Kept Up
While the last point talked about marketing changing around you, this one talks more about what you have done.
Was there something that you stopped doing as far as your marketing goes? Or was there a change in how you actually offer your product or service?
If so, this could be a key indicator of why your sales decreased lately.
Let me give you an example.
Maybe you’re a digital marketer and you were offering a full service as far as setting up your clients’ online ad campaigns.
Maybe there was a very specific need that you were helping them to meet. And in an effort to expand into a new market, maybe you stopped advertising that specific need.
You still offer the service, but now it isn’t at the forefront of your marketing.
This could be the source of your problem.
In fact, AutoGrow actually experienced a bit of a dip in sales because we were reframing our unique selling proposition (USP) in February of this year.
While the change was actually on purpose (and has helped us grow even more this year)…
This change was largely the source of this drop in sales revenue.
Now, if you didn’t stop doing something entirely, did you simply change the way you did it?
For example, did you stop offering some sort of additional benefit that may have been more important to your audience than you expected?
Maybe you added an additional step in your funnel or introduced more friction (one of the 11 Laws of Sales Funnel Physics)?
Or maybe you have some zero multipliers killing your conversions.
This could be making it difficult to convert qualified leads into sales on your website. Look for especially low conversion rates on your core landing pages to spot this problem.
Takeaway: The trick here is to be mindful of changes you make to your marketing and recording the performance that these changes result in. Take note of key performance indicators (KPIs) like the ones below to measure how effective an effort really is.
- Goal Completion Rate (GCR)
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Customer Effort Score (CES)
- Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
Sales Decrease Reason #3: There’s a Global Problem Affecting Your Business
This one’s easy, mostly because everyone will know when there’s a global problem going on.
For instance, the coronavirus pandemic has battered both national and international stock markets.
As a result, an estimated 110,000 U.S. small businesses closed from March to May due to the coronavirus according to The New York Times.
An astounding 55% of businesses on yelp have shuttered their businesses permanently because of the pandemic.
Plus, unemployment is at an all-time high because of it.
Just check out the unemployment graph below comparing job loss from the coronavirus to other national recessions.
And in situations like this, it’s obvious that the decrease in sales is due mostly to this global problem.
Takeaway: There are two pieces of advice for this point.
First, be sure to stay on top of global trends that may impact your business.
The earlier you can predict these trends coming, the quicker you can enact measures that’ll help you bear the brunt of the impact it will have.
Second, be flexible. When faced with a global change, sometimes the best way to stay afloat is by pivoting your business model and being open to something new.
In times of turmoil, rigidity is often the worst quality to have if you want to recover and get back to a health profit.
Sales Decrease Reason #4: You’re Scaling Too Quickly
Okay, so you want to grow.
Doesn’t every business?
But the problem is, if you try to grow too fast, you can actually end up sinking your company faster than if you’d just stayed the course.
According to SuperTeam, about 70% of startups actually fail because they try to scale too quickly.
Part of the problem is simply running out of money.
CB Insights found that 29% of startups simply ran out of cash.
But there are also more detailed logistical challenges here too.
While growth will definitely increase revenue, you also have to be able to keep up with demand.
And meeting that demand also requires:
- Sourcing more raw material for your products
- Hiring more employees
- Streamlining efficiencies so you can meet demand on time
- Maintaining product/service quality (and putting processes in place to check that quality)
- Changing your management structure
- Developing processes and systems
On top of all that, you also have to be sure that the market can actually bear your growth. Otherwise, you may just grow so much that you won’t have the customers to keep your doors open.
Takeaway: Be sure that if you are growing, you’re also maintaining all the quality and innovation that your customers have come to expect. Scaling too quickly can lead to serious problems and destroy your business’ credibility if you aren’t careful.
Sales Decrease Reason #5: Your Business Is Being Hurt By Negative Social Proof
Social proof is vital for marketing your business.
Testimonials, reviews, vanity stats—these should all be front and center on your website and featured heavily in your other marketing.
Plus, having great reviews on sites like Trustpilot can be great for business.
Believe me, I should know. We’re on there with a number of solid reviews from our past clients.
Now, the only problem with online reviews is that they can be just as devastating to your sales as they can be helpful (if not more).
Data from Invesp found that a whopping 86% of people who read a bad review for a business will hesitate to shop there.
On top of that, increasing your Yelp review by just one star is associated with as much as a 9% increase in sales while a single negative review can be enough for your business to lose 30 customers.
Now, having a bad review can be particularly troublesome because many people actually seek out bad reviews.
According to PowerReviews, as many as 82% of customers do just that.
And in fact, perfect ratings are actually seen to be “too good to be true.”
In order to help you pump your sales and recover revenue from a negative review, it’s time to go into damage control mode.
Try reaching out to the unsatisfied customer to understand what the problem really was and see if you can fix it.
And if the customer is beyond being helped, either sincerely apologize or offer some sort of discount or gift.
Take ZocDoc’s apology that’s pictured below as a model.
This will not only open up the door to them taking the review down. But it will also help those reading the replies on sites like Yelp see that you really are interested in helping your clients.
Either way, the worst method of dealing with negative reviews is to say nothing at all.
Takeaways: Be sure to always ask for good reviews from satisfied customers.
But if you do notice that you have negative reviews on sites like Trustpilot, be sure to always reach out to the reviewer to see if there’s something you can do to make it right.
You can always turn a bad review into a marketing win.
Think coupons, future discounts, or even refunds.
And as always, be sincere with your communication. A fake apology can actually end up doing more harm than good if you’re not careful.
Sales Decrease Reason #6: Your Main Marketing Channel Or Sales Platform Has Changed Its Algorithm
This one can be disastrous if not caught early on.
Most businesses today are found using Google (though a whopping 91% of content doesn’t).
In fact, research from Google shows that 89% of B2B buyers and 81% of online shoppers use search engines to research new products and services. And that was in 2015!
So when a major platform like Google changes its algorithm on how it ranks search results, it can be extremely damaging to your sales.
For instance, according to Search Engine Roundtable, some sites saw traffic drops of 50 to 90% after the Google Fred update.
And when it came to the Google Panda update, many businesses saw an even more substantial drop in traffic.
In fact, this update was so widespread that it actually affected more than 1 out of every 10 searches using the engine.
And we at AutoGrow are no strangers to feeling the effects of large-scale algorithm changes.
For example, a few years back, we were making about $1,700 a month from the evergreen launch of one of our products. But after a few months, that revenue went down to almost zero.
We only saw a trickle of sales coming for it.
For two or three months, it was growing … and then nothing.
We thought maybe it was the landing page. Maybe images weren’t displaying right on mobile and on Macs, for example. But fixing it didn’t move the needle at all.
When we uncovered the issue with the evergreen funnel not working, we also noticed that the number of opens had decreased significantly.
So that meant that our emails were probably going into the promotions folder instead of the inbox (not good).
But since we hadn’t changed anything with the format of our emails, we determined that the problem was actually Gmail changing its algorithm on what it considers promotional content.
We’ve since changed our format so we’re able to deliver solid content to the people that want it—after all, they did opt in for it.
One way we did that was by avoiding spam trigger words (a powerful “email hack”) like “Buy”, “Discount”, “Cash”, and “Free Trial”.
And in the years since, we’ve only seen incredible growth of our email list (22,000+ and growing!).
Takeaway: Always be aware of changes to foundational systems like Google and Amazon. These platforms are regularly changing their algorithms and not staying on top of these changes can cause serious harm to your business.
Sales Decrease Reason #7: New Hires Aren’t Up to Par
We know, hiring is a hassle.
Glassdoor found that on average, it takes a little over 3 weeks to find a candidate that you think is a good fit for the job.
On top of that, it can take as long as 8 months (seriously) for an employee to ramp up to full productivity potential according to Harvard Business Review.
And when all is said and done, Tekshapers reports that the cost of replacing an employee is about 21% of their annual salary.
Hiring sucks. And it’s expensive.
In fact, it’s exactly why we’ve positioned AutoGrow as a way to get digital marketing done without the headaches and high costs of hiring.
Just check out our homepage.
But as pricey as hiring and firing can be, the worse scenario is keeping on an employee that isn’t performing as they should.
On the one hand, there are the employees who show up at work but simply don’t do the job they’re supposed to.
These are called the actively disengaged employees. And according to Gallup, they cost the U.S. $450 to $550 billion per year.
Added to that, disengaged employees have 37% higher absenteeism, 18% lower productivity, and 15% lower profitability.
Turned into a dollar amount, a disengaged employee will typically cost a business about 34% of that employee’s annual salary!
Now, Gallup reports that employee engagement was actually on the rise in 2019.
And while businesses have both reported higher and lower levels of engagement due to the recent pandemic, 51% of businesses haven’t seen a change according to HRO Today.
But in order to make your team as productive as possible, the best possible measure you can take is to hire the right people first.
And if you don’t, then run your business according to the old saying, “Hire slow and fire fast.”
Because as we saw, a poor employee can actually be costing your business about 1/3rd of what you’re paying them.
Takeaways: Hire the right people on the first go around.
This, of course, can be tough to do.
But the truth of the matter is that in most cases, spending a lot of extra time on hiring the right candidates can actually save you money in the end.
As a result, be sure to really test out potential candidates before giving them the job. Conduct several rounds of interviews. Check references. Request skill tests.
And always be sure they’re a fit for your company culture too.
So there you have it!
These are the top 7 most likely reasons behind your sales decrease recently.
And if you follow the takeaways outlined in each, I’m sure you can help plug that leak in your sales and start to recover the revenue lost along the way.
Now, if you want more help uncovering things that are leaking money and bleeding leads in your sales funnel and on your website, check out our 6-Figure Sales Funnel Training and our Proven Sales Conversion Pack.
And of course, you can always sign up for one of our monthly packages (just $7 to try us out for 7 days) and we’ll do all the heavy lifting of getting your sales back on track for you.
So, which of these reasons do you think is responsible for your sales decrease? And what are you going to do about it now that you know what the problem is in the first place?
Be sure to let me know in the comments below.
Keep AutoGrowin’, stay focused.