A surprising number of today’s small businesses are operating with poorly-defined strategies to increase sales. In fact, approximately 50% of businesses have no defined digital-marketing strategy at all.
Even more disturbing is the lack of clear and concrete sales strategies for small business. To implement sales strategies that work, business owners and sales leaders need to acquaint themselves with the various types of sales strategies that are common to their industry. They should also study their competitors to discover the proven sales strategies that they are using to gain or sell to new or existing prospects.
Growth Strategy Management
While Ben Franklin’s advice, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail,” readily applies to small business entrepreneurs, another caveat is just as crucial: if you fail to manage your growth strategy on an ongoing basis, your business will probably not live to see its five-year anniversary. Once implemented, long-term growth strategies must be managed, monitored, tweaked, and revised in order to produce not just long-term survival, but increased growth and profitability.
If you’re ready to take your sales efforts to the next level, here are some tips to help you create, implement, and execute effective sales strategies for your business.
1. Understand what a sales strategy is
This may seem obvious, but the rate of failure of new business start-ups — 50% will fail within the first five years — suggests many entrepreneurs aren’t very clear on what a sales strategy is.
Examples of Sales Strategies
Of course there are many different types of strategies for different aspects of business. Some examples of sales strategies are, inbound and outbound sales strategies, retail sales strategies, inside sales strategies, sales promotion strategies, online sales strategies, direct sales strategies, and the list goes on and on. It’s difficult to show just one sales strategy example, as each is intricate and varies depending on intent, industry, and scope.
But while each sales strategy plan should be custom-tailored to its intent and industry, any good sales strategy plan will guide each decision throughout the sales process. From general lead all the way to hot prospects, key decision points should be clearly defined that guide sales reps through the sales process with maximum efficiency.
What Is Sales Strategy in a Business Plan?
The fundamental definition of any sales strategy — the definition that business and sales leaders need to understand first and foremost — is that a sales strategy is a methodical plan devised to effectively allocate resources to accomplish one main goal: closing more sales.
Many entrepreneurs believe the key to achieving more sales is better marketing. Obviously, marketing is essential for building the brand, and getting the product or service seen by more potential customers. But the fact is marketing sales strategies generate sales leads, while sales strategies generate actual sales and revenue.
2. Create sales strategies that fit your business
Some sales strategies fail to deliver because they aren’t actually geared to the business or its’ customers. To make sure your sales strategy doesn’t fall into the ‘It looked good on paper’ category, you need to follow the first steps to creating a successful sales strategy:
First Steps to Creating a Successful Sales Strategy
1. Identify your value proposition
Effective sales strategies should be centered on one main objective: meeting specific customer needs. The extent to which your products or services provide solutions for customer needs is what determines your value proposition. A strong value proposition sets your company apart from the competition. It also allows your sales force to better engage with potential customers, offering them clear solutions to their problems, instead of being perceived as trying to sell them something they don’t need.
2. Define your marketplace
Having a clear understanding of the problem your product or service uniquely solves is critical for creating effective sales strategies. But now you need to define your marketplace, identifying and targeting the audience that most likely needs your solutions.
No doubt you developed your products and services with a general target audience in mind. Now you need to get more specific to identify your ideal target customers — those who are most likely to make the decision to purchase your products and solutions.
One tool that will help you to better define your marketplace is social media. Social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc., are what potential customers use to discuss their wants and needs, and to get product feedback from others in their social network before making a purchase decision. You can use this social media data to gain critical insights to formulate both offline- and online-sales strategies that work.
Having a clearly-defined target audience allows you to prioritize your current and prospective customer base. Then you can put your best efforts and resources to work on your most promising opportunities.
Keep in mind different products and services may require different sales strategies.
3. Implement and execute your sales strategies
Thomas Edison once said, “Vision without execution equals hallucination.” The best sales strategies in the world won’t yield results unless they are implemented within the company.
Unfortunately, this is where many organizations fail—in the implementation of proper strategy. Small business owners have not been adequately trained in sales pipeline management strategies and techniques, resulting in lost sales, wasted effort, and decreased profits.
Proper implementation and execution of sales strategies comes from owners, management, and the sales team. One effective approach to get compliance within your company is to help your stakeholders see how the sales strategies you propose will better meet their needs. More profitable sales helps everyone win.
The effective execution of sales strategies requires constant monitoring and analysis. It is imperative to determine what is working and what is not. Finding a sales strategy example from another company in your same industry may help. Tracking the customer journey through the sales funnel and identifying where they become disengaged will enable you to identify where customer needs are not being met, and allow your organization to make fixes to ensure sales strategy success.
Need help in defining a sales strategy for your company? We are here to help!