Sales teams need more than just a set of quotas or a sales process to be successful – a company needs a strong sales strategy to bring all the pieces together to achieve sales and company goals.
Recently, we have talked about a sales execution strategy, which gives some insight into why companies, from small to large, B2C or B2B, should make an execution plan. But today we’d like to discuss how to create a solid sales strategy.
So what makes a sales strategy not only great but actionable? This blog post covers ideas to create a working sales strategy so you’re on the road to success.
What is a Sales Strategy?
A sales strategy is an approach to selling that allows your sales team to position your business and your products or services to target customers in a way that’s meaningful and different from the competition.
Coming up with an effective sales strategy begins with a detailed plan of processes and best practices set by the sales leadership team. Start by outlining your business goals so you know what your strategy is aiming for. Setting goals that inspire and motivate the whole team, from the head of sales down to the newest sales rep, is essential for getting everyone going in the same direction.
A strong sales strategy helps you identify risks, address problems, and tie up any loose ends before they become larger problems for your organization. It’s natural to want to charge ahead to achieve your goals, but taking the time to step back, make a plan, and get organized will yield more results through smarter, more focused efforts.
How Should You Create a Sales Strategy?
Creating a successful sales strategy involves finding your target market and ideal customers, researching your competitors, analyzing trends in your market and industry, and deciding on how your sales reps go through the process of making the sale.
Here are the essential components to list when creating your own sales strategy:
It outlines how your business will sell:
- what will you sell
- to whom will you sell
- where you will sell/markets you will serve
- how much you plan to sell, by product, service and/or market
- how you’re going to sell to them
Center Your Customers
This part is where you clarify to whom you’re selling.
Having detailed profiles of your target customer, in-depth buyer personas, and a deep knowledge of your existing customer base as well as the markets you would like to expand into is vital.
Looking back at your data from previous years can help you discover which customers spent the most money in your business. This will help you focus on high-quality leads because you’ll have a clearer idea of the best prospects to target.
Detailed ideal customer profiles can help you get clear on how to reach those most valued customers, as well as how to sell your product or service to them.
Set Solid Goals
Solid sales goals tell you what you will sell and how much you’re aiming to sell, by product, service, and/or market. Your sales goals should be ambitious, but also specific and measurable.
Wanting to increase sales or grow revenue isn’t enough – you should have clear-cut goals like selling 125% of the projected sales quota in Q1 of 2021. Use the data you collected– you want them to be challenging so your sales teams have something to aspire towards, but you don’t want them to be unrealistic.
Setting goals based in reality help establish expectations for your sales team and the organization as a whole. Knowing what your sales forecasts look like will help you stay on target throughout the upcoming year. Revenue targets also set up your sales team for success by giving them a goal to reach for, which is very motivating.
Define Your Market Strategy
Now that you know where your business currently stands, it’s time to figure out where you want to go.
Deciding on where you will sell and the markets you will serve is the aim of this step.
You need to decide where you see growth potential for your business – do you need to expand your customer base, go deeper into your existing one, seek new markets, or something else?
Some questions that might be helpful in this process include:
- Who are your top ten clients currently? How can you get another ten like them to continue to grow?
- How much can you expand and grow any existing accounts?
- Do you need to look elsewhere for growth, or is the potential already there in your existing customer base?
- How much can you grow your business using your existing products or services?
- Are there innovative products or services you can create to release this year to grow your target markets?
These questions should give you a start on defining your market strategy for the future. It can be easy to coast on existing sales, but you need a sustainable growth plan in place to keep your momentum going for the long term.
Develop Your Action Plan
Deciding how you’re going to sell is the second-to-last step in your sales strategy.
Many businesses leave their sales reps to set their own daily targets and organize their own priorities. But setting up a department-wide action plan and sales process they can follow can create efficiencies and streamline sales efforts.
This can include laying out:
- what makes a qualified target
- what a good sales pitch looks like
- the steps in the buying process
- the complete sales funnel your reps should follow
- a Target Account Planning program or similar
We’ve said it before, but it’s imperative to make this information unique to your company by creating an internal sales playbook.
Keep the Team on Target
Once your sales strategy is in place, you might notice some gaps in your sales team’s knowledge or training. You might also see an opportunity to add to the team – it’s vital to hire the right people and train them the right way.
Sales coaching can help bridge any gaps and keep your sales reps on the path to success. Ensuring the team is continuously up to date on progress towards those goals you set in the beginning also helps keep motivation high.
Bring in the Sales Strategy Experts
We stay on top of all the latest sales trends that your sales team needs to know, provide sales training and coaching for leaders, and help you build a winning sales culture from the ground up. If that’s what you need right now, schedule your free consultation to find out how we can help you shatter sales records.