Do you have a business? Do you sell a product, or service? If you answered yes then you need a sales strategy. It sounds so simple but a better understanding is learned keeping the sales process in mind. In answering the question why do you need a sales strategy, we will define what a sales strategy is, what it does, what it contains, and how managers use them.
What is a sales strategy?
A sales person’s guide to communicate with customers. Your main focus in creating one should be your sales team. Now I am not saying it should not focus on customers but a market segmentation contains more information than the sales person needs. They are your end users. Helping them reach their goal and to be successful guarantees you are making money.
The most important information your sales reps need from the marketing plan to help in their conversations are.
• Who is the preferred customer?
• What the product does for them? Product benefits offers a solution.
• What does the product contain? The products main features.
The first two steps in the sales process are product knowledge and prospecting. They help the sales person turn leads into prospects. With this information a sales person can focus their energies selling to the right customer.
What Does a Sales Strategy Do?
A sales strategy targets potential and existing customers.
The next two steps in the sales process are the approach and presentation. I consider the approach to be the most important step. Think about it. You are trying to build a relationship with someone you do not know. The wrong approach gets you politely blown off.
1. Potential customers.
• Potential customer interactions introduce a product or service.
• Must create product value.
• Must distinguish product.
• Promotion through sampling and incentives.
2. Repeat or existing customer business.
• Current customer communications are personal contacts.
• Must inform of the value of new products, features, and benefits.
• Must engage existing customers.
• Discount programs, and gifting.
According to an article from Corporate Visions “The Most Effective Sales Strategy is a Great Message” . Citing research from Sirius Decisions and Forrester Research. Only 15% of sales calls have enough value and not revealing value is the number one reason that prevents sales from reaching their goals. This is why managers should work with sales people on scripts.
What Does a Sales Strategy Contain?
Managers need more information than the sales force when creating the sales strategy. This information helps managers connect the sales process when creating the plan. The information sales managers need to know include:
• Sales goals: Overall goals need to be broken down.
• Sales activities: Everything you do to create a sale.
• Target accounts: Who you are going to sell to? How are you going to make the sale?
• Time limits: Time limits allow you to adjust your strategy based on performance.
One step many people add to the sales process is need assessment. I don’t include it because it is a process that occurs throughout all the steps. It involves knowing the right questions to ask and good listening skills to find problems that you can solve with your product.
How Managers Use a Sales Strategy
The last two steps in the sales process are close and follow-up. These steps define your relationship with the customer. I remain friends and stay in contact with sales reps I purchased from after they no longer sell the product.
Our sales process like this:
• Product knowledge turns leads to prospects.
• Benefits turns prospects into customers
• Approach is first contact.
• Presentation must show value.
• Close the sale.
To turn this into a sales funnel we get something like we see below. Using the sales funnel with the above information in the sales strategy allows managers to set individual goals.
• Follow-up. This puts existing customers back into a new funnel.
Sales managers may now set individual sales goals for the sales reps. We will talk more on tactics and strategies in setting individual sales goals.
Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed the article connect with me on your social media.
By: David Baker
Gluck, Samantha “What is a Sales Strategy?” Demand Media, Houston Chronicle http://smallbusiness.chron.com/sales-strategy-629.html
Sales Strategy, SBA.Gov http://www.sba.gov/content/sales-strategy