What is the most important feature of a successful business? Ask any entrepreneur who survived the global pandemic, and they’ll tell you—Agility. Recent trends in the world economy have proven the importance of having systems in place to deal with constant fluctuations.
As per a LinkedIn Business report, 90% of the top sales pros use social selling tools to outperform today's competition. But, 93% of sales executives say they have never received any formal training on social selling.
A sales strategy ensures you’re attracting new customers while retaining existing ones. It gives you the competitive advantage you need to increase your brand reach and bring in consistent profits to impact your bottom line.
In this article, we’ll explore why you need a sales strategy and give you five steps to build a stellar sales strategy. From identifying your target audience to setting up a streamlined workflow, you’ll walk away with key takeaways to multiply your revenue.
What Is A Sales Strategy?
Study.com defines the sales strategy for a product or service as the way to reach new customers and increase sales. An effective sales strategy includes creating a well-researched sales plan, training a team of professionals, determining the best type of sales force, and more.
Based on your sales targets and expected size of roll-out in the industry, your sales strategy should ideally offer a way to align your customers with the market and drive business growth. Sales strategies are almost always consumer-client relationship-oriented so that you can turn hesitant prospective customers into loyal brand followers.
The top priority for sales teams today is to assemble a future-oriented strategy, and a solution is to conduct regular iterations based on performance analysis reports. Short-term sales goals can be a set of micro-tactics that come together to complement your long-term goals and drive high yet realistic win rates.
Why Do You Need A Sales Strategy?
A Databox report outlines 16 of the most important sales KPIs to track to help you skyrocket your team’s performance. By measuring these metrics, you can plan future steps, understand your pipeline, improve the efficiency of your business-critical operations based on data, and eliminate guesswork.
Before you buckle down to carve out the perfect sales strategy, we want to justify how it can help fuel your business growth massively. There are four key sectors in which you can accomplish this:
1. Identify your customers’ needs and set clear goals
Your ideal customer’s persona is a complex, alive element of your strategy. There are many ways to understand what your customers want and fulfill the market gap meaningfully. Your goal-setting process should mirror those needs and the bridge you build along the way.
Once you know your customers well, your team will find it easier to navigate sales from a solution-oriented point of view. Their needs define the distribution course for your product/service, and your sales content is centered around those. With time, you can also collect updated versions of their needs through direct feedback and use that to improve your sales performance.
2. Find potential target markets and choose acquisition channels
Every product or service has a different market, and it’s important to identify yours to ensure your sales strategy is laser-targeted at them for maximum wins. Keep in mind the key demographic you are looking to target—age, occupation, expenditures, and preferences.
Leverage these demographics to model your sales funnel, tailor your strategy, and choose your acquisition channels. One way to push sales is by translating features into benefits, and customer demographic helps you understand where the customers’ priorities lie, so you can better target them.
Here is a graph comparing different acquisition channels based on their ROIs.
3. Create a systematic framework to maximize sales
Your framework is the foundation of your sales strategy, with added integrations of current trends, competitor and market research. A solid framework focuses on your product or service and the customers you aim to sell to, so everything else becomes secondary. It’s an amalgamation of your team, partners, customers, processes, and products or services.
4. Hire and train sales professionals efficiently
The organization system you choose to implement can easily prepare your sales team to handle extreme fluctuations. With the right tools and techniques, your team can reiterate the sales strategy every season with significant upgrades to improve results and bring your winning numbers closer to the forecasted numbers.
If you look at it, the sales calendar is littered with growth, analysis, and improvement opportunities. From New Year’s resolutions to Christmas celebrations—your sales campaigns should change direction to remain relevant. A trained team can help do just that by looking at the stats from a sales campaign and analyzing what worked and what didn’t.
Now that we’ve explored why you need to build a sales strategy for your brand, let’s look at the 5 most important steps to build a flawless sales strategy.
5 Steps To Build A Flawless Sales Strategy
Salesforce research shows that the increased importance of long-term customer relationships has had the most impact, with 86% of sales reps reporting the same.
It’s no secret that despite knowing the importance of a robust sales strategy, many companies fail to take the steps needed to build and implement one. Digital innovations have been at the forefront in 2020 and 2021, and huge strides in this field are predicted for 2022 as well. At the core, however, sales strategy remains a game of playing for the highest probabilities.
With the current market conditions, unpredictability is the only constant. It's driven many companies to take their sales strategy creation processes to the next level and invest heavily in it. It requires extensive research, multiple ideation phases, and planning to bring a killer sales strategy to life.
Here are the 5 steps and proven strategies you need to multiply sales revenue for your brand:
- Identify your target audience and create detailed customer profiles
We discussed earlier how identifying your ideal customer’s buyer persona is key to amplifying sales for your brand. You need to have a very clear idea of your target audience, demographic, and relevant personal and professional details. Customer profiling inherently helps you steer the brand in the right direction, directly in your ideal customer’s line of vision.
Here’s an example of how you can create such personas:
However, creating customer profiles is not as easy as it sounds. The psychology behind sales is fairly complicated, and there are layers to uncovering what’s truly important for your target audience. Here’s a helpful chart to kickstart your research.
A good tip here is to go beyond the traditional SWOT analysis approach. Instead, try recognizing specific details about your customers’ personal and professional lives relevant to your brand. So while movie and book genre preferences might not be in the standard checklist, they may be relevant to you if your brand revolves around that niche.
Being able to pinpoint a unifying factor in most of your customer base can dramatically improve the success of your sales campaigns. Although there is a ton of heavy-worded research material out there, especially in the world of sales, most of it is too hard to translate into action. The “Elements of Value” pyramid is a solution that hopes to help your brand pinpoint the direction you should be headed in.
- Establish your value propositions around your customers’ pain points
It is said that the fear of losing something you own is greater than the happiness of achieving something you don’t own. Mirroring this, establishing a value proposition targeted toward future gains has consistently proven ineffective in comparison to those that target potential future losses.
Each product or service is born out of a need to fill a gap in the current market, to solve a large consumer need that is not being met at the time. Find that USP for your brand, and center your value proposition around the various aspects of that product-market fit. By highlighting that, you differentiate your brand from the competitors and can better retain loyal customers.
Here’s a sketch to visualize the elements making up an ideal value proposition canvas by The Business Model Analyst.
Implementing a sales strategy is an expensive affair, and a value proposition is an effective way for your team to eliminate anything that doesn’t add value to your offer. Converge everything into how the gains can be created and pains can be relieved, and position your brand as the solution to it all.
Because of the recent explosion of digitization, companies now operate and communicate with consumers directly. Use this data to hyper-personalized your value proposition to your product or service offering, and you’ll be left with a sales strategy that makes purchase decisions feel like a no-brainer for your consumers.
- Build convincing messaging for the entire customer journey
Advertising legends have often said that the best way to sell to a customer is by making them feel like they are making the decision themselves. Your overall messaging should aim to assist the shopper in each step of the journey, from discovery to delivery. Also called the customer journey map, this is a persuasive way to draw attention and make a lasting impression.
Even if it doesn't result in immediate sales, your prospects remember your brand through that experience. For example, since the COVID-19 pandemic, shoppers have become more sensitized to support brands that encourage a sustainable lifestyle.
“The best salespeople know that their expertise can become their enemy in selling. At the moment they are tempted to tell the buyer what "he needs to do," they instead offer a story about a peer of the buyer.”— Mike Bosworth, Sales Philosopher and Author of Solution Selling
Ensure that your team is fully equipped and trained to use this tool, and it can single-handedly enhance your customers’ brand experience. Think of your sales message to be like a pipeline, with the goal being seamless transition with little to no pushback. When your customer has access to all the information they need and has emotional or moral incentives, they are more likely to purchase from you.
According to Harvard Business Review, only about 68% of sales reps agree that “more information generally helps customers make better decisions.” On the contrary, the prescription approach to sales decreases the likelihood of purchase regret. This method relies on guiding the customer rather than bombarding them with everything you offer.
- Create a streamlined sales workflow and documentation
Now that you know your target audience, have crafted a value proposition and built a strong messaging, the most important step becomes the documentation of it all. We’ve established before that sales strategy is an iterative process, so you have to be sure to maintain a streamlined workflow.
A sales process document is comprehensive, and you should include mapped-out, bird’s eye views of each step along the way. From distribution channels, assumption validations, progress metrics, and sales funnels—all become the building blocks you assemble. More importantly, your workflow is the place to keep a record of all ideas.
Ideas you discuss in sales meetings, collaborations, and campaign approaches all act as yardsticks against which you measure your future successes. (You can make all of this easier with Scribe too!)
Not only does this make any flaws easier to recognize and fix, but it also makes everyone’s job easier in the long run. The way you organize your sales strategy plays a big role in keeping the company’s growth chart pointing north and bringing in consistent profits every term.
- Set SMART goals to align sales and marketing
Setting a goal is the first step to achieving it. For your sales and marketing teams, SMART goals should be the ideal to strive for. SMART brand goals go deeper into the specifics of what your brand aims to accomplish. The purpose is to add color to the goal with unambiguous details and chart out a clear path to achieving it.
“If I could pick one number I wish more sales managers would monitor more closely, it would be measuring their profit margin against delivered projects or products.”— Gereldine Gray, CEO and Principal Consultant of Endiem
Attributes like year-over-year (YoY) growth, market penetration, and user satisfaction are of utmost importance for sales. These are the drivers of future strategy iterations at the very crux of performance improvement efforts.
Your goals should follow the classic sales principle, SMART:
- Specific: Increase customer lifetime value is specific and significant for long-term growth.
- Measurable: Improve profits by X% in 2021-22 financial year
- Achievable: Increase average customer lifetime value by X%
- Relevant: Improve profits in 2021-22 financial year to gain market share in the industry.
- Time-Based: Increase average customer lifetime value by X% in the next Y years.
Identify any bottlenecks through feedback you receive, and find ways to upkeep clear communication among all teams to ensure minimum possible productivity lags. By eliminating all ambiguity from your end goal, you can effectively give your team the bedrock of a tangible goal.
With this roadmap, you can design a sales strategy that checks all the boxes for your brand. Incentivize your team and boost motivation by recognizing and rewarding achievements. Forming a durable sales strategy is one of the most important things you can do to secure a successful future for your business, despite cut-throat competition and unforeseeable market conditions.
A key takeaway from this blog is realizing that a sales strategy is an iterative process rather than a dormant element of your brand’s infrastructure. When executed the right way, it can skyrocket your sales and multiply your brand revenue.
The best part? All the steps of this process are fully customizable. You can (and should) experiment with this template to find the best fit for your needs. The changes can be based on several factors, including but not limited to the size of your sales team, the industry, target consumers, and your business priorities.
Having systems in place is vital to keeping all machine cogs running at full speed at all times. Learn how to save time, improve documentation consistency, and create structured workflows for your brand. Get started with Scribe today.