Is it possible to make sales without strategy? It is, to some extent – but only if you’re lucky.
The problem with relying on luck is that it tends to run out. It’s not repeatable, it’s not measurable, and it’s certainly not sustainable.
That’s why it’s so important to have a clear sales process for moving leads through your pipeline. Of course, in order to develop an effective process for selling, you need a defined sales strategy to guide you.
Let’s take a look at how you can develop an effective sales strategy that drives sales consistently, no luck required.
What is Sales Strategy? Your Blueprint for Success
Sales strategy is a tactical blueprint for how your business can increase sales, revenue, and profits. Your sales strategy defines who you’re selling to, what you need to communicate to them in order to make sales, and what you’re expecting in terms of results.
Developing a sales strategy helps you understand who your best customers are and how you can increase your sales to your target audience. This requires answering the following questions:
- Who are is target market?
- Why should they buy from you?
- What are your unique selling points?
- How can you communicate value?
- What impact should your strategy have on revenue and profit margins?
- When do you expect to see results?
The answers to many of these questions revolve around your ideal customer profile and, ultimately, the personas of your best possible customers.
Defining your ideal customers is crucial, because it tells you who you are targeting your sales strategy towards. This lays the foundation on which you can build the rest of your strategy and process. Furthermore, understanding your ideal buyer makes it easier to target high-quality leads, communicate value, perfect your messaging, and optimize your sales pitch.
What It’s Not: Sales Process and Marketing Strategy
Sales Strategy vs. Sales Process
While your sales process refers to the specific steps that must be taken to make a sale, your sales strategy steps back a bit further to provide a wider perspective.
Sales strategy identifies who your target audience is as well as the value propositions you need to communicate to them. Alternatively, your step-by-step sales process outlines sales activities that must be completed to move leads through the funnel and achieve the goals outlined in your strategy.
Sales Strategy vs. Marketing Strategy
Though sales and marketing strategy do overlap in several ways, they’re still completely separate beasts. Marketing strategy is focused on building awareness and visibility for the brand and product. Sales strategy, on the other hand, is focused on achieving a more tangible result – that is, increasing sales and maximizing profits.
For best results, marketing and sales teams should work together to ensure their strategies align and support each other’s goals.
The Components of a Well-Defined a Clear Sales Strategy
As a sort of blueprint for your company’s long-term health and success, your sales strategy gives your whole team a big-picture overview of what you want to achieve as an organization and how you’re going to do it.
A complete sales strategy contains three important elements:
- A description of who your ideal customers are. This dictates who your sales team should focus on selling to.
- An overview of your market position. In order to sell effectively, you need to know what makes your offering unique and attractive to your ideal customers.
- Clear, specific, measurable goals and forecasted results. Which metrics do you need to focus on to track your success? ow will you measure the effectiveness of your strategy?
Key Steps for Developing a Successful Sales Strategy
When creating your own sales strategy, follow along with these seven steps to help you stay on track and account for every detail.
Step 1: Assess Your Current Situation
The first step is to take measure of your current sales process to understand what’s working and what’s not. This includes looking at essential sales metrics like win rate, pipeline coverage, and sales velocity, as well as quota attainment and activity levels that reveal how your reps are performing. Benchmarking your current position allows you to figure out where to go from here and determine how you’re going to get there.
Step 2: Create an Ideal Customer Profile
Defining your ideal customer profile tells you who you’re targeting and how to best communicate with them. Details about your ideal customer can be used to refine everything from marketing campaigns and messaging to your sales pitch and closing techniques. The more detail, the better you’ll be able to cater your sales process to prospects who are most likely to become loyal customers.
Related reading: A B2B Startup’s Guide to Creating an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)
Step 3: Conduct SWOT Analysis
Look at the strengths and weaknesses of your business, sales process, and offering. How do these compare to the competition? What opportunities can you leverage to expand your sales potential? Is there an overlooked or under-serviced market that should be incorporated into your new strategy? Are you facing any threats that would prevent you from maintaining or expanding your market share?
Step 4: Positioning & Market Strategy
A good sales strategy uncovers new ways to increase your share of the market. That means thinking about how your team can maximize revenue from both current and future customers. For instance, do any of your existing customers represent opportunities for further sales? Can you structure your offering differently to increase revenue? Is there a better way to position your brand or communicate the benefits of your product or service?
Step 5: Define Your Revenue Goals
When defining targets for your revenue, be specific. What specific results do you want to achieve within what specific timeframe? How will you measure whether or not these goals are achieved?
Review past sales reports to help with forecasting and factor in any changes that would result from targeting your ideal customer more directly. Keep in mind that sales strategy is informed by company and organizational goals rather than individual quotas or activities.
Related reading: How Setting Effective Sales Goals Can Boost Your Bottom Line
Step 6: Create an Action Plan
Now that you know where you stand and where you want to go, you’ll need to create a roadmap detailing how you’re going to get there. This requires defining your sales process, including the specific steps and action items that must be completed at each stage.
For instance, what does your team need to achieve to make those goals a reality? Set targets for the team to work towards and individual quotas to motivate reps to bring their a-game. Your goals should align your overarching strategy, but it’s also important to make sure they’re realistic and achievable.
Step 7: Track and Improve
Schedule monthly or quarterly review sessions to find out if your new strategy is bringing you closer to your goals. Are your sales activities returning results? Is your opportunity win rate improving? If not, what can you change about the sales process to turn things around? Do your reps have any insights or suggestions for tweaks? Continue to measure and optimize your strategy until you’re meeting or exceeding your original revenue goals.
How to Ensure Your Sales Strategy Actually Gets Puts into Action
Here are a few best practices for creating, communicating, and applying your sales strategy.
Make It Clear (By Communicating with Your Team)
Ensure everyone on your team understands the strategic pathways you’ve defined. Invest in training when necessary, hold regular team meetings to check in, and encourage reps to provide input and ask questions.
Make It Actionable (By Defining Specific Pathways to Goals)
Each sales rep should know exactly what’s expected of them in terms of day-to-day activities and specific quotas. Use your strategy to hold people accountable for the work they’re responsible for.
Make It Visible (By Placing It in the Workspace)
Print and display your strategic action plan and pathways in a visible area at your office. Email a copy to each of your team members to ensure everyone always has access to it.
Make It Consistent (By Getting Teamwide Buy-In)
Once you’ve got the perfect sales strategy in place, the next challenge is getting the team to stick to it long-term. If you want to keep achieving the best results, make an effort to ensure your team agrees with the sales strategy and understands how certain decisions were made. An effective sales strategy creates a recipe for success that will produce results time and time again – but only if your reps actively apply it.
Make It Possible (By Beefing Up Your Sales Stack)
You can further empower your sales team to succeed by providing them with the right set of tools. For any modern sales team, this should include prospecting tools, AI-powered sales technology, and of course, a powerful, simple CRM like Propeller.
Ready to bring your sales strategy to life? To get more high-quality leads, streamline your sales process, and take control of your pipeline, start using Propeller CRM for free today!