Sales Strategies: When to Use Them and How to Plan + FREE TEMPLATE
A successful sales strategy is a formula crafted to present your organization's services and leverage its strengths to differentiate from competitors. The key to building and applying a successful sales strategy is understanding what your customers are talking about, looking for, and the resources you have to contribute to the conversation.
A great sales strategy is what sets you apart from your competitors. It should build on your organization’s strengths and the resources you already have to understand what your customers want and need. The best-laid plans will ultimately generate leads and drive traffic — the result is continued revenue growth and organizational success.
What Is a Sales Strategy?
A sales strategy is a documented plan for positioning and selling your product or service to qualified buyers in a way that differentiates your solution from your competitors.
Sales strategies provide clear objectives and guidance to your sales organization, including growth goals, KPIs, buyer personas, sales processes, team structure, competitive analysis, product positioning, and specific selling methodologies.
These guidelines help sales teams communicate goals and keep representatives on the same page. A sales strategy ultimately creates the message of what sales reps say, do, and write to close the deal and meet their quotas.
Proven Sales Strategies
There are many ways to approach your sales strategy, but one of the biggest struggles is creating a strategy that is not too internally focused. Organizations often successfully document internal procedures or the steps of the day-to-day operation but forget about the messages and skills sales reps need to communicate value to prospects and customers.
A sales strategy where your team can’t communicate why your service or product is different or better fails. Here are six sales best practices proven to create a distinctive purchase experience, demonstrate value for your buyers, and separate your company from the competition.
- Take advantage of social media: Social media is one of the easiest and best ways to reach a new audience of potential customers. And while there are many platforms and trends to consider, a good sales strategy will identify where your target customers spend their time and how you can best reach them.
- Cold calls still work: Cold calling still works — when it’s done right. A cold call helps warm up potential customers and generate interest, especially if your product or service is new. In partnership with SDRDefenders, we’re holding a series of Cold Calling webinars. Watch the replay (pw: !^M0CW?e) from our last event, all about cold calling prep.
- Offer a demonstration: Creative and compelling sales presentations can win over potential customers, but coming on too strong can be a make-or-break moment. Sales reps should be well versed in the elements of a successful sales pitch that demonstrates tangible value. Also, consider testing sales presentations on loyal customers to gather feedback.
- Establish loyal customers: Once you’ve closed a deal, that shouldn’t be the end of your relationship with the customer. Sales reps should work with customer success to nurture their client relationships, creating more trust and value in your product and establishing a life-long customer. It also opens the door to cross-selling and upselling opportunities.
- Paint a clear message and make it personal: From the get-go, it should be clear to your customers exactly what your product will do for them. And if your product has multiple benefits, don’t be afraid to personalize that message for different customers in a valuable way.
- Be flexible: Try to avoid the phrases “you don’t” or “you can’t.” A good sales strategy should be adaptable to meet every customer’s needs.
Best Practices for Recurring Sales Growth
The most effective sales strategy is one that communicates more value in your sales conversations. To do that, you must build a powerful value proposition in your messaging. A powerful and persuasive message will help potential customers recognize the real value your organization offers and uncover needs they previously may not have considered. Great messaging will show potential customers that the cost of change far outweighs the cost of staying the same.
Your value proposition should also clearly identify the kinds of problems your customers have that only you can solve. Doing so will define your competitive advantage or the reason a prospective customer should buy from you. The benefits or results awarded to your customer if they choose you over your competitor should be clear.
On that note, who is your ideal customer? That should also be clearly defined in your sales strategy. Look into the demographics and psychographics of your ideal customer to create a complete profile for your reps. An ideal customer profile (ICP) provides guidelines for your sales reps that help them spend their time efficiently on prospects who are most likely to convert and deliver repeat business quickly.
Many organizations rely on business personas to identify their audience. However, be wary of general customer profiles and buyer personas that can lead to impersonal messaging. Just like no two customers are alike, your sales strategy should not be one-size-fits-all. A solution-centric strategy will address the specific needs of customers with personalized messages and content.
And finally, make sure sales and marketing are aligned. Often these departments work in silos with individual goals. A lack of alignment can render your sales strategy useless rather than bringing the two teams together toward a common goal of increased sales conversions.
How to Leverage the Resources You Already Have
You don’t have to start from scratch when creating a sales strategy. Looking inwardly at your strengths and weaknesses can help you establish what you already do well and where the opportunity lies.
Start by understanding the processes you’re already using by interviewing reps and stakeholders throughout your sales team and organization. Find out how sales reps generate new leads and develop those leads once they enter the pipeline. Also, ask your sales development team how they function and make decisions about leads before handing them over from marketing to sales. Your marketing team is often responsible for generating many new leads, so make sure to ask where they are sourcing leads and how they assign them to the sales teams.
Asking these questions will identify any gaps to be filled with your new sales strategy. It will also point to your strengths and the opportunities available.
Analyzing the qualitative insights and customer data you’ve already collected is another valuable resource organizations can leverage when building a sales strategy. Not only can collecting and sharing data help you close more deals, but it can also help the entire organization expand and improve.
Key Components of a Successful Sales Strategy
A successful sales strategy comprises several key components, many of which we have already touched on. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of must-haves. Your sales strategy should:
- Develop organizational goals
- Create accurate customer profiles
- Hire, onboard, and compensate sales team members adequately
- Create a plan to leverage demand
- Measure individual and team performance
- Track sales activities
Adapting to Your Audience
Poor customer relationships are one of the biggest reasons for lost leads and sales. Connecting with leads at every stage of the customer journey results in a more positive outcome for all parties. Today’s sales reps must better understand a prospect’s needs to offer a sales strategy that can fulfill them now and into the future. Customized solutions that extend beyond the easily identified or known needs can set you apart from your competitors.
Instead of crafting a message based on the initial information about a prospect, adapt with your audience and introduce them to problems they didn’t even know they had. With messaging coming from more places than ever, going the extra mile with a personalized experience will go far in helping your organization stand out from the crowd.
Ready to implement these sales strategies? Download our free template to outline your company’s sales strategy in one coherent plan.
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