As a sales leader, you’ve probably had seasons in your business when your sales numbers blew the roof – only to check back the following month to discover your sales numbers have stagnated or are dipping. Yet what you want is sustainable sales growth. And that depends on building a sustainable sales strategy!
And the benefit of this kind of strategy?
- You get great sales results that are repeatable and scalable.
- Your business stabilizes.
- You have enough revenue to grow your business.
So first things first…
What is a Sustainable Sales Strategy?
Your sustainable sales strategy is one you can refer to repeatedly over time to consistently achieve your sales goals without exhausting your sales team or running out of customers.
It’s also adaptable and scalable – you can refine it or expand it
- as the business environment changes or
- to apply it to a wider range of customers as your business grows.
Specifically, the goal of your sustainable sales strategy is to gain new customers and create long-term relationships with your existing customers. You’re in business only because of your paying customers. Any attempt to develop a sustainable sales strategy without customer centricity is sure not going to yield the expected results!
We should say at this point:
1 A sustainable sales strategy is not a rule book passed down from the management to the sales team on how to conduct sales. It’s often a guide, and developing it requires the collaborative effort of everyone on your team.
>>“This is our sales strategy for winning in business.”
2 Also, a sustainable sales strategy is not only about the sales process or sales numbers. It involves taking into account a realistic inventory of your company’s resources – not simply your budget, but also your sales talents, goals, values, vision, and capacity.
>>“This is the reasoning behind our sales strategy.”
3 A sustainable sales strategy is not a short-term sales strategy. It’s usually developed with a long-term mindset and is responsive to both short-term changes and long-term expectations.
>>“This is how we’ll think about our strategy.”
When done right…
…a sustainable sales strategy makes your sales team more effective. It removes redundancies in the sales process and enables your sales team to focus their energy on what works instead of wasting their efforts on trial and error.
Imagine the confidence among your sales teams when they are able to not just repeat their performance but also surpass it!
Everyone’s morale will definitely be high and your previously undulating sales graph will change to an ever-rising line – showing your sustained sales growth.
How to Create a Sustainable Sales Strategy
1 Set Clear Sales Goals
Goals provide direction for strategy. They also provide focus for your sales reps. A clear goal is needed to develop a sales strategy that’s sustainable.
One common mistake leaders make is to set ambitious sales goals without considering their company resources. Usually, it leads to burnout and damages the sales team’s morale.
So – consider these:
- Do you have enough salespeople to reach this goal?
- Does your sales team have the required capacity and training?
- Do you have the financial resources to support this goal?
- Can you successfully deliver what you’re asking your team to sell?
On the flip side, you risk leading a lazy sales team when you set unambitious goals. Successful sales professionals like to be challenged and like to accomplish their goals. Either approach – under or over ambitious – is not good for sales talent retention.
The trick is to be able to find a balanced middle ground where goals are achievable and realistic. To determine what your sales goals should be, you’ll need to consult your past customer data to identify trends, gaps, and opportunities.
After establishing your sales goals, align your sales and marketing teams to break the goal into achievable short-term deadlines and create systems for monitoring the process and the results. Then incorporate all these things into your strategy – how you’ll set about sustaining your sales.
2 Articulate Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
Make sure your sales team understands and can articulate exactly what you’re selling and who you are selling it to. Next, your strategy will incorporate your USP – as in, “this is what differentiates us and will dictate how we’ll go about making sustainable sales growth.”
While each rep may have ideas about what makes your products so good, you should still have a crystal clear USP that’s understood by everyone. Document it and align it with your customers’ needs.
Your sales team should know why you’re different from your competitors and believe in it enough to champion it passionately.
3 Build a Solid Sales Pipeline
This will require you to examine your pipeline and your current sales process to identify what’s working and what’s not. If it’s not, that’s the time to review your existing process!
So – consider your processes for
- prospecting, based on your ideal customer framework profile,
- lead generation,
- lead qualification,
- building a winning solution,
- deal closing, and
- retention flow/account management.
This may also require that you talk to your current customers to understand their interactions with your brand, their low and high points. Based on the data you collect, establish necessary guidelines, refine your sales processes, and deploy the right CRM tools. This is all part of a sustainable sales strategy.
Ensure you carry your sales and marketing team along while doing this. Besides the sales and marketing team, establish cross-functional partnerships with your leadership, operations, and delivery teams. The participation of non-sales personnel is vital to building a sustainable sales strategy.
4 Measure and Optimize
As earlier stated, a sustainable sales strategy is not cast in stone. Rather, it’s adaptable. This is because the business world changes rapidly and there will always be room for improvement.
But you can’t improve what you’re not measuring!
As leader, you have to champion the measurement of performance metrics – how the pipeline is performing, how the sales teams are performing, and many more metrics. These enable you to easily and quickly identify areas of underachievement relative to the stated goals in your sales strategy.
360 Consulting Can Help You Build a Sustainable Sales Strategy
Clearly, building a sustainable sales strategy requires a lot of effort and planning. It’s long-term thinking, as we said. But you’ll know you’ve created a sales strategy that’s sustainable when you have a sales revenue and sales conversion rate that you can consistently forecast correctly. Isn’t this what you want?