Whether you’re a brand new start-up or a well-established business, having a sales strategy is your key to success.
Many of my clients come to me without having a proper sales strategy in place. Without one, how can you guarantee your team is all on the same page when it comes to sales? Do you have an agreed practice? Is everyone familiar with your brand and mission? Where do you stand on discounts?
Sorry if I am bombarding you with questions, but these are important questions to ask yourself if you want your business to succeed. Because without selling, you don’t have a business.
So if you haven’t got a sales strategy, now is the time to create one.
What exactly is a sales strategy?
A sales strategy is a roadmap that helps you secure revenue for your business. It’s a plan that determines the processes you will use to maximise revenue from existing customers. It also outlines how you will attract and keep new customers.
Often a sales strategy and a marketing plan overlap, so try to work on them at the same time.
What do you include in a sales strategy?
A sales strategy should ideally plan for your year ahead. It should also include quarterly goals. Any financial goals will have a direct impact on revenue targets. Without sales, you aren’t going to meet your goals.
The sales strategy itself doesn’t have to be very long. It will become more detailed as your business grows. However, you should include the following:
· Specific targets
· Market strategy
· A timeline
Why do you need a sales strategy?
I hate to break it to you, but you have to find customers. They’re not just going to arrive at your door. And when you find that ideal customer, you still have to clinch the sale.
A sales strategy is crucial if you want to move your business forward. Without a dependable source of income, a business won’t survive.
A personalised sales strategy takes into account all the hard data behind your business. This data, along with your vision and long-term goals, helps you to produce measurable objectives.
Whenever a decision is needed, you can refer back to your sales strategy. It also means the whole team is working towards the same objectives.
A sales strategy is also important for freelancers. The self-employed can be pulled in many different directions. Having a sales strategy will provide you with focus and keep your objectives at the forefront of your mind.
How do you create a sales strategy?
To build a successful sales strategy, there are several key areas you need to look at.
Don’t forget the bigger picture. You need to keep your mission and values at the core of everything you do. Make sure they are included in your sales strategy.
Your Team Structure
· How is your team connected?
· Who does what in regards to sales?
· Who is responsible for the selling, and is it working?
Working through these questions may reveal that some team changes are needed. You might also find extra training is required.
Your Target Market
Make sure you know who your product or service is aimed at. Understand customer pain points and what motivates them. Know where they live and what they like. You can develop these buyer personas through market research and real data gathered from existing customers.
Don’t forget to identify who isn’t your ideal client too. Make sure you understand who you shouldn’t bother pursuing and why they will be unlikely to buy from you.
This information is vital in helping you know where to market yourself and which sales strategies to use.
Your Tools and Resources
List anything your sales team uses to meet its goals.
Make sure you include:
· CRM software
· Sales enablement tools
· Customer case studies
· Suggested negotiation practices
If there’s something in your business that can help supercharge your sales team’s performance, identify it here.
Your ‘Go To’ Customer Strategy
How do you want your customer to view your brand?
Consider your place in your industry and identify strengths, weaknesses and comparisons with competing companies. Once you’ve done this, you can focus on the most effective ways of reaching your target audience.
It’s not a simple task. You need to figure out the pros and cons, risks and costs for all possible routes to your ideal customer.
To help, answer the following questions:
· What is your company best at doing?
· Who benefits from your business?
· How do your customers initiate contact with the business?
· How do they buy from you?
The Market Condition
Consider how your industry is performing currently. What are the trends?
It could be beneficial to run a Porter’s Five Forces Analysis to learn more.
Your Value Proposition
Highlight the benefits of your business, product or service. This will help you understand what makes your business desirable. Makes sure you identify the problem you solve for customers and be clear on how you do it.
Your Competitive Advantage
This section is about your USP and being able to show you are stronger than your competitors. Work out what you do better than others in your field of expertise.
Your Pricing Strategy
If you haven’t got a pricing strategy, you need one. Write down how you developed it and also mention best practices around discounting.
Analyse Your Competitors
By analysing the competition, you’ll be able to identify any gaps in the market. This, in turn, can help you develop new products and services. You’ll also be able to market and sell more effectively when you have identified your competitors.
To really understand your competitors, you need to:
· Look at their sales tactics and results
· Check their pricing and offers
· Analyse their content strategy, including levels of engagement
· Understand how they market their goods or services
Your Marketing Strategy
Provide an overview of your marketing strategy linked to your sales activity. What marketing approaches are you using, and are they working?
Remember, some of the most popular forms of marketing are:
· Blogging and digital
· Direct Mail
· Social Media
Check to see where most of your lead generation comes from and decide how you can harness that to get the sales.
Your Action Plan
Now you can finalise the procedures your sales team will follow. From all the research you have done, you should be able to decide
· How many calls are to be made in a given time
· Which locations you’ll be focusing on
· How potential clients will be approached
· Which sales pitches are suitable
Your Goals and Targets
Your sales targets will be linked with your revenue targets.
Identify how much money you want to make in a particular period. This then feeds into how many sales you need to close or how many units you need to sell.
Remember to consider any other metrics you use for tracking sales.
Finally, determine how much money you will be investing in your sales strategy. Your budget should include:
· Total base salaries
· Bonus or commission structures
· Resource and software expenses
· Travel costs and expenses
Can you write your own sales strategy?
Any business owner can write their own sales strategy. But, you need to make time to complete it correctly. Block out time and take yourself away from the office to avoid distractions.
Writing your strategy could take you half a day, or it could take three days. Remember, it’s an ongoing process, and you will continuously refine your approach.
Before you start, I always recommend conducting a SWOT analysis of where you are now.
This will help you to decide where you want to be.
What to do if you need help?
Come and say hi!
I’m Louise, and I write sales strategies for businesses that want to feel in control of their sales. It’s a bespoke service, and I tailor it to your specific needs. Because only you know the direction of your company, I spend time getting to know your business. I’ll develop a sales strategy that’s relevant and effective at driving your business forward.
I don’t have to write it all. I can conduct market research or competitor analysis. I can suggest sales strategies or help you set up the resources you need.
Book a free discovery call, and let’s create a successful sales strategy together.