Having a well-planned and clear sales strategy is an essential part of growing your business. It gives you a solid foundation to ensure you and your team are on the right track, with specific goals to work towards. Whether you’re creating your sales strategy for the first time, or updating your current one, here’s everything you need to know to make it as effective as possible.
Understand Your Target Audience
This will hopefully be a rather obvious point, but without having a deep understanding of your customer base, your sales strategy is worthless. If you don’t take the time to look at the demographics you need to target, you’ll just end up wasting time and money trying to sell to those who have no real interest in or need for your product.
Knowing exactly who your customers are is also integral when it comes to launching your sales and marketing. You can decide which channels you’re most likely to reach them on, the types of content they’ll engage best with, or even use a third-party resource to reach out to them. For example, if you’re targeting Dutch companies, you could use a specific Netherlands telephone directory to find the exact company types you need for your cold calling campaigns.
In order to determine who you should be targeting, think about the problem that your product solves, and the types of people or businesses that will benefit from it. It’s also a good idea to look at your previous customers; who have been your best customers to date? What factors do they have in common? By establishing this you can start looking for similar prospects who will be equally as valuable to your business.
Plot the Customer Journey
Once you’ve determined who your target customers are, and have carried out some in-depth research into them, you should plot the journey that each type of buyer is likely to make in order to make a purchase. You need to look at every single interaction that each segment of your audience will have with your company, whether it’s through social media, email, via phone or your website.
The easiest way to do this is to start from the end point – the purchase – and work backwards. Establish the types of content or contact that you need to make in order to guide the customer further long the funnel. Think about the information they’ll need at each point, and what their concerns are likely to be.
Ensure Your Goals Are Realistic
Setting clear goals is a crucial part of any sales strategy. Ultimately they inform you as to whether or not your operations have been successful. You need to ensure that these goals are realistic, otherwise you risk stunting your business growth.
For example, sales goals that aren’t actually achievable will leave your team feeling frustrated and give you a false vision of your business. On the other hand, goals that are too easy to reach will mean that you’re missing out on more business, and your staff are likely to become bored and unmotivated.
In order to set sales goals that are realistic, you should look at your previous sales figures, along with those of your competitors. You also need to take into account the size of the market you’re targeting, any predictions about trends or events in your niche, and the resources that you currently have available.
Set Clear Deadlines
Once you’ve set your overall sales goals, you need to be specific with deadlines to achieve them. This helps to keep things on track and ensures that everyone in the team knows the time frame involved for each part of the process.
It’s also important to break down the large figures in your sales goals into more manageable milestones. This helps you to establish how likely you are to reach the goals, allowing you to adjust your strategy accordingly. It also stops your staff from being overwhelmed by hefty numbers, keeping them more motivated.
Ensuring that you’ve assigned enough resources to achieve your goals is clearly incredibly important. Without allocating your team, money, and time, carefully, even the most well-crafted sales strategy just isn’t going to be a success.
Plan out your budget for the year ahead, taking into consideration how much you have to invest, what channels you want to focus on, and how quickly you’re wanting to see results.
Set Yourself Apart
In order to achieve business growth and have any kind of longevity, you need to emphasise the thing that makes you different from your competitors. Most consumers are creatures of habit; we prefer to buy tried and tested products from companies we know and trust, so convincing them to take a chance on you can be a challenge.
When you’re looking to determine exactly what your competitive advantage is – the thing that will convince customers to buy from you – you should take into consideration the reasons that your current customers buy from you, and what you can offer that your competitors can’t.
When it comes to selling to potential customers, make sure that you’re tailoring your approach to their needs, and not just reeling off a list of product features. Describe exactly how your product will be of value to them, and the specific benefits and advantages it will provide.
Review Your Marketing Approach
Another crucial step in developing a successful sales strategy is to ensure that your current marketing efforts are up to scratch. Look at both offline and online materials, and make sure the branding is clear and consistent, and that they’re emphasising your product’s benefits.
When it comes to social media, ensure that you’re reaching your target audience effectively; look at the metrics for each of the channels you’re using and see where your resources will be most valuable.
While no one can fully predict how their business will grow, creating a thorough and carefully-considered sales strategy is an essential part in ensuring you reach your goals. Bear in mind that your strategy will need some flexibility; the market may change, you might need new employees, for example. Review the strategy regularly to ensure it’s still relevant and you’re on the right track.