In order to stand out, you must be bold, creative and stick by a carefully thought-out sales strategy. Start by identifying “value opportunities” and then develop practices to capture them.
Here are six steps you should follow to create your all important sales strategy:
Step one: Set out your goals and objectives
Start by identifying your main goals; do they relate to an increase in conversions, revenue or perhaps even site traffic? It’s important to set out three to five goals before developing your sales strategy as this will ensure you’re creating a plan of action that will allow you to work towards, and eventually achieve, your goals.
Keep your goals realistic, relevant to your business and timely. If you’re in your first year of operation and you’ve set a business goal to generate $1.5m worth of sales, you’re more than likely to be setting yourself up to fail. It’s unlikely you’ll reach the dizzy heights of that kind of figure in your first year and this could damage your own confidence as a business owner and impact team morale. Keep timing and seasonality at the forefront of your mind when you’re considering your goals and strategy, as this will also have an impact.
Try and follow these five simple steps in order to achieve maximum results when setting out your targets and goals. The more specific you are in describing your goals, the better chance there is of attaining them.
Step two: Research your customer market
Identify your primary and secondary audience, as this will ensure your strategy is tailored directly to them and you can adapt plans and approaches accordingly. For example, personalizing content specifically for customers will make an impact on sales and generate discussion about your business.
To undertake market research, develop an online survey using Survey Monkey, with a variety of closed and open-ended questions. This will help you understand your customers’ preferences and the answers will show overall trends, resulting in a better-understanding of your target audience.
Step three: Get under the skin of your audience
The results from your research should now show you what your target audience looks like so getting under the skin of your audience is now an easier process. If a plan does not have the audience in mind, the outcome of sales will not be as successful as predicted.
So, profiling and learning the mindset and values of your customers is an important aspect to the sales strategy.Sending regular emails to customers and engaging over social sites will generate discussion around your business. Consider putting a CRM service (customer relationship management) in place to generate a flow of responses and learn what your customers are more receptive to.
Step four: What is your USP?
Ensure your USP is different to your competitors. Offering a service that is also readily available on the market elsewhere will narrow your chance of success.Competition is good so take a look at what your competitors are doing, weigh up their strengths and weaknesses and finally, adapt yours to your advantage.
Convincing customers that you can offer them something that doesn’t exist anywhere else is difficult, because it most likely does. Therefore, understanding the characteristics that customers value is a successful way to grow as a company.
Step five: Generate new customer relationships and improve old ones
Overall you are aiming for business and sales growth. So, maintaining a sturdy relationship with current customers is just as important as creating new ones.
Research shows it costs five times more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one, suggesting it’s best to work on growing customer relationships but also create time to develop new ones.
A concrete sales plan should include a step-by-step guide of how to maintain business to consumer relationships. This may include personalised emails, social media interaction and a great customer service response rate. A good way to approach this is to repurpose previous sales outreach emails to a new audience.
Step six: Measure, evaluate and adapt your strategy
Understand, as a business, what is working for you and what isn’t. Noticing errors and adjusting plans is a great example of business growth and stability. A smart way to maintain progression is to schedule in time for regular reviews to your sales strategy. Assessing the sales strategy allows for an insight into whether or not you’re on track to hit targets.
If you can measure the metrics, you can manage your sales efficiently and generate leads. Look at the aspects of your sales strategy that are costing you more than other tactics – are they worthwhile? Is there a more cost-effective method you could use instead?
By continually critiquing your processes, you’ll be able to make positive and effective steps towards perfecting your sales strategy.
To put it simply, sales strategies should be put in place to maintain customer relations and reach goals. Following a strategic plan is an important way to manage expectations, both internally and externally.
Although, an industry professional should always feel confident enough to be tactical and react to industry ongoings, whether it be in the plan or not. To take your sales strategy to the next level, consider speaking at conferences, going to networking events and also being active on social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter.
As long as metrics and expectations are being met, whilst following a carefully thought-out plan of action, you will see results.
Linda Parry Murphy is CEO at Unscripted
Having built and ran a variety of different companies, Jan Cavelle thinks the humble salesman is worth more than the economy gives them credit for – it’s just a case of better training.