Thinking About Your Sales Strategy
If you’re selling any kind of product or service chances are that you have at least a minimal sales strategy in place. A sales strategy refers to the collection of methods sales teams use to close deals and build sales revenue.
While no single definition of a sales strategy exists, a defined strategy typically includes research on your target market, a defined method of outreach such as a sales presentation or sales calls sheet and an account management plan. A good sales plan will take you from your first-touch with a prospect to an ongoing relationship with paying customers.
Larger, more sophisticated organizations may even have multiple sales strategies, such as one focused on inbound selling and one focused on outbound selling.
Creating Your Sales Strategy
There’s no need to recreate the wheel when thinking about your sales strategies. Many tools and resources already exist online that offer strategy examples and templates. A simple search for sales strategy examples or sales strategy templates turns up many freely available resources.
For example, US-based entrepreneurs starting a business for the first time might consider visiting the website of the U.S. Small Business Administration, which contains a wealth of information for first-time business owners, including information that can be used to plan a sales strategy and boost sales performance.
Researching Your Sales Strategy
One of the first, and most critical, elements of sales strategy planning is identifying your target market. Is it a narrow audience like “middle-aged guitar players in Maine?” Or something wider like “all American adults.” This identification process is important both in determining the viability of your business model as well as in determining further elements of your sales strategies, such as your method of outreach and expected revenue per deal.
If there is already an established player in your market it is worth understanding who they are targeting and why. You may want to focus on a larger group or a smaller niche but a clear understanding of your target market is critical to the success of both your sales strategy and your business as a whole. While your target market may change – many successful companies pivoted from their original focus (Twitter was a podcasting company, Nintendo was a manufacturer of playing cards) – you should always have a clear target in mind.
Sales Strategy Collateral
Once you understand your target market, the next step in successful strategy planning is to create some collateral to make sure that sales leads are created and converted in your sales funnel. Whether you’re the sole salesperson at your company or you lead sales management for a team of hundreds, you need some kind of collateral before you go prospecting. This may include a call sheet that helps guide your reps through their conversations with customers and offers them a way to handle common objections, a PowerPoint that demonstrates your product’s capabilities or something else entirely.
Account Management and Your Sales Strategy
One of the most important – and overlooked – parts of your sales strategy is account management. Account management isn’t sales per se, but it is an important part of your relationship with your customers. Don’t overlook customer success – it is critical to the success of your overall sales strategy!
Research shows that, on average, existing customers generate far more revenue for your organization than new prospects. A sales strategy should make sure to clearly explain how you will cultivate, cross sell and upsell existing customers in order to drive revenue and how you will budget for customer success and support.