Cost Reduction: Is Downsizing a Last Resort, or Merely the Road More Easily Traveled?
There have been some high profile layoffs in our industry over the last few weeks. And with our economy in the tank, companies experiencing slumping sales and the outlook for the rest of Q4 painted as “bleak,” it’s safe to expect more downsizing to follow.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about how to bulletproof your career in this economy by cutting costs. And don’t fear, I have many more cost-cutting/revenue-creating tips for you this week. (Forthcoming, stay tuned.)
(For my most recent column, and those cost-cutting tips, click here.)
But first I’d like to address all the C-level folks who read my column (and the rest of you, too, of course). Let me begin by making the assertion that your business is not very efficient. No matter how well you run your business, you’re still bleeding cash out the door in many places.
Here, let me help you out:
1. Your call center doesn’t convert enough prospects to customers.
2. Neither does your Web site. Most likely your Web site converts customers in the single digits.
3. Right now, someone is speaking to one of your call-center reps or is on your Web site, and is getting annoyed and/or frustrated.
4. Did you hear that? That’s the sound of clicking away and the phone hanging up.
These are just four areas I see daily that always need work. They’re usually the lowest-hanging fruit.
In short, no matter how you slice it, both your sales acumen and customer service need major work. And by only fixing those parts of your business, you’ll recoup enough revenue to probably help you through the storm.
Ask yourself the following: How much more revenue will you create by converting 1 percent more sales in your call center or Web site? How much more gross profit will you get by reducing returns by a percent? There’s plenty of stuff here to fix.
Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.