What if we told you that a clear and well-defined sales strategy is the key to achieving sustainable growth in terms of your business revenue? What if we told you that developing an effective sales strategy is a very important aspect of running a successful business? Truth is, a company can have a sales team or marketing department without a structured sales approach. Successful companies have both, and that is why they keep generating more sales and revenue.
When you make a good product or service, the best way to measure how well it did is to see how many people bought it. Many business owners spend a lot of time working on their products and marketing plans, but they don’t have time to work on a strategy for selling.
A winning sales strategy can help you achieve the following;
- Understand what makes you stand out from the competition.
- Decide who you want to reach with your product or service.
- Plan out your elevator pitch.
- Determine the most effective means of generating revenue.
- Use a tried-and-true approach when approaching prospects.
Before we delve into how to develop a successful sales strategy, it makes sense to first of all talk about a sales plan which is like a road map that lays out the sales goals, strategies, and implementation and control measures needed to reach them. A sales strategy is what you need to do to reach a sales goal, so it’s part of a sales plan.
Keys to developing a sales plan
Your company has an identity, and so should your strategy be unique. You must develop a sales plan that is consistent with the identity and business model of your company. To do this, you will need to factor in these key components;
- Your company’s vision. Your strategy must match the overall vision.
- A written amount you want to generate in sales, monthly, quarterly or annually. Does this help with achieving the company’s vision?
- An ideal profile of your customer. With this, your sales team can easily and quickly qualify prospects.
- A good value proposition. Customers need to know how your product or service meets their needs, what it does for them, and how it differs from the competition in order to buy from you.
- You need to set aside a specific amount of money and invest in your salespeople. They are going to need some form of training as well as tools and software to be able to sell more and faster.
Designing a strategy to increase sales
1). Get to know your target market and customer profile
To increase sales, what you want to do is to find out what’s working and do more. Therefore audit your existing customers to truly find out who they are. As a business owner, this is crucial since there is frequently a disconnect between your targeted consumers and your real customers. In a real sense, you’re marketing to the first group, whereas the second group are those who will really buy your goods or services from you.
Get to know your genuine customers and develop a customer profile that matches their identity. An effective way is to craft a compelling story that describes the person and lifestyle of this ideal customer.
The following is a story that describe the ideal customer for a laundry business;
Melvin is a 33-year old accountant who works in XYZ Bank. He rarely has time to do chores, not to talk about laundry. On Saturdays, he’s either in training or attending to his side business. Melvin’s home is always filled with unclean clothes and bedsheets as he needs to attend to his major priorities. He is, therefore, more than willing to take his clothes to a good laundry store so he can have them cleaned and ready for use.
To generate continuous sales, create a persona of actual buyers. Demographics such as 30-50 years old, business owner, retail industry, etc. can be boring. Whereas a customer profile that tells a story is something your sales team can relate to.
2). Identify the risks and opportunities
This is good for new entrants or businesses who are new to a certain industry. Identifying risks and opportunities means to perform a SWOT analysis of the market and industry to know where you stand in the competition. It assesses your company’s present state and identifies your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
3). Create a sales process model
A sales process is a set of predefined sequence of steps that must be followed in order to convert a potential lead into a customer. It comprises every phase of a potential customer’s sales journey, from the initial contact to the closing of the transaction. Every business that sells a product or service can gain from a clear understanding of their sales process (which, of course, is different from the sales strategy).
Suppose you don’t have a sales process in place? Your marketing efforts will go to waste since the team has no clearly defined roadmap to follow. When you have a sales process in place, you can keep tabs on how well your team is doing at each stage of the sales process and provide them feedback to help them get better. Your sales force may, for example, excel at giving pitches but struggle with resolving objections. It’s now possible for you to provide them with training so that they can better deal with objections.
4). Choose the right people to handle sales
In order to increase sales, you must hire individuals that fit in with your staff and the company’s culture as a whole. The process of hiring a top-notch salesperson can seem like a complex one. And so you want to write down the qualities you want in a good salesperson and use it when you interview people for the job.
It is important that you teach your “A-team” how to speak with prospects on the phone, deal with objections, and negotiate. Apart from skills, you should also make sure that they have the resources they require to close deals.
5). Take action
As things begin to fall into place, create a workflow that breaks down all of the activities involved in getting you closer to your goals. Assign the tasks to team members who have the necessary qualifications and expertise. Plan the completion of these tasks according to the schedule you have created. Ensure that your timeframe is in alignment with your revenue objectives.
Your best bet for long-term success is a clearly defined sales strategy. Take care of this one detail and monitor the upward and rightward movement of your company’s growth curve. If you don’t have one, your business could go out of business.