It can feel like you need to pay attention to 4,584,282,221 different things in your company, and I’ve talked to hundreds of executives who feel like they’re drowning in data, trying to keep their heads above water with so many different things to worry about.

It’s amazing, then, that time after time, I see companies who are at the top of their games, or companies who are improving rapidly, only really focusing on three key things.

You’ve heard me talk about the first two time and again: First, you’ve got to get the customer’s attention, and then you’ve got to make the first sale, but it’s the third area where most organizations drop the ball.

The third pillar of any successful business strategy is to sell your existing customers more often. Yes, sell. Not just “market to.” Not just “put offers in front of.” Actually selling to them, with the same dedication and process oriented effort that goes into selling to new clients.

I once heard a marketer say that all great sales & marketing is just about sharing your message over and over again. He might have been half right, once. A decade ago, maybe a quarter right. Now, it’s more like a tenth.

You’ve heard me talk about the power of consistency before, and last week we discussed the importance of whispering to your customers behind all the shouting. That’s how your messaging (pre & post-sale) can break through to your prospects loud and clear.

But to sell to your prospects and customers either the first time or the fifth time you really need to get three things right, all the time, every time. Let’s talk about those today.

1) You need to stay top-of-mind. Some prospects are not ready to buy no matter how good your sales team is, and some existing customers will forget about you because your competitor was on their doorstep when you weren’t.

I’m reminded of a very specific example. During a workshop with a client’s sales team, a rep in the back of the room carefully raised his hand and confessed that when he returned to a client’s site only months after a successful project, he found a key competitor doing a job that should have naturally been theirs. When they enquired with their client, the client simply shrugged and said that the competitor showed up at the right place and the right time. How many of your current clients are getting ready to buy again, but they’re not thinking about you because you’re not at the forefront? Customer loyalty is never owed.

2) Next, you need maintain consistent messaging. There’s that word again – consistent. You need effective sales and marketing processes for before, during, and after the sale. But as related to #1, your messaging needs to be valuable, entertaining, and consistent. If you’re only showing up when you’re looking to meet your quota, you’ve already missed the boat.

In this case, I’m reminded of another specific example. I was speaking to a group of Executives when one raised her hand and asked me the following question, “Why would we continue to spend time communicating and sending stuff to our existing customers in a down economy when they don’t have any money to spend?” I’ll let you consider your response to that ridiculous question.

3) And finally, you need a way to test, track, measure, and ensure your sales and marketing processes are being completed, and that the things you expect to be happening are actually happening. I’m continually espousing the fact that you need a defined sales process for each stage of the buying cycle, and proper reporting to show you the right things are actually getting down. Without a systematized process, it’s virtually impossible to know where you need to improve, or where you’re dropping the ball.

There are only a few things you need to get right, but they’re nearly impossible to achieve if you don’t have the right tools, processes, and procedures in place. With or without any tools, coaching, consulting, or processes I might be able to provide, you can do this on your own by recognizing the three necessities listed above

Get these right and your organization will run smoother, your customers will be happier, and you’ll be more profitable. It’s hard to argue against that.

Here’s your key challenge for this week:

Secret shop your own clients. Have a third-party call a couple of your most recent clients and ask them for a referral. Have them ask for a referral for something that’s in your wheelhouse. See if they refer you.

This is the type of challenge that’s hard because the truth might be hard to swallow. If you hear something that makes you cringe, it likely has nothing to do with the quality of your products and services, and almost everything to do with one the three things listed above.