How To Build A Sales Strategy

By | Small Business

Building the Right Sales Strategy Means Making More Proftis

“Our strategy is to grow our larger accounts by 8% and our smaller accounts by 15%.”

That isn’t a sales strategy. It’s a dream.

According to Selling Power, “sales strategy is defined as the customer segments that a company targets, its value propositions for each segment, its sales force structure, and its associated selling processes. “

A sales strategy is a detailed roadmap for profitable growth. It tells you where you want to go and how to get there. It is a time consuming and complex undertaking. It involves research, analysis, and input from your entire sales organization.

Without an effective sales strategy, you may miss your goals. In fact, your goals may be totally unrealistic to start with.

Without a sales strategy, your sales reps may flounder. They won’t be clear on what to sell or how to sell it.

Do you even have the right sales organization to accomplish your goals, whatever they may be?

Sales Strategy Building Blocks

A sales strategy has three elements: Who, What, and How.

  • Who is your target market?
  • What are you selling?
  • How are you selling it?

Who, What, and How are pieces of a puzzle. You need to put these together effectively for profitable growth.

Let’s say you sell primarily to Fortune 500 companies (Who). Since large companies don’t offer growth opportunities, you decide that middle market companies are worth considering.

Wait a minute! Can you offer a solution (What) that is both attractive to the middle market and profitable for you? Can your reps sell (How) to the middle market? Can you sell at a reasonable cost?

Where Is The Growth?

Step #1 is to identify growth opportunities that you can realistically and profitably exploit.

Start by creating a profile of the companies in your target market(s).

  • Firm-o-graphics—Industry, products, company size, target decision makers.
  • Psychographics—Key problems/challenges your target market faces.
  • Opportunity—Clear need and probability of buying from you.

Look at your existing customers and your prospects through this prism.

Start with your customers. What segments are they in and what are their problems? What are the up-sell, cross-sell, new solution, and renewal opportunities?

A Fortune 500 company has a set of problems that is different from the problems of a middle market company. If you sell to both the segments, you need a different offering and strategy for each.

Take a granular approach. Look at each account: What are their problems? How willing are they to buy from you? What is the revenue potential (for each account)?

As Selling Power points out “look at historical win rates, deal sizes, deal margins, and cycle times, along with win/loss reports, cost-of-sales estimates, customer satisfaction reports, and competitive analysis. “

This is a lot of work. Ideally, your CRM system can provide much of this info. The more you understand about your customers’ and prospects’ needs and how they buy, the better off you are.

Armed with that information, you can develop a realistic forecast.

Getting There

You have determined what you want to sell and to whom. Now, you’ve got to figure out how.

Here are some issues to consider:

  • Sales Organization—Do you have the right sales structure? If your sales reps sell primarily to large accounts, can they sell to smaller accounts? Do you even have enough reps to sell into new markets?
  • Sales ToolsDo your reps have the right value proposition for each market segment? Do they have the right sales materials, proposal templates, and contract forms?
  • Sales CompensationDo you have the right salary and commission mix to encourage both collaboration and enterprise?
  • Sales Skills—Do your reps need additional training to effectively attack the marketplace?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ve got the elements of a sales strategy.

This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: How To Build A Sales Strategy

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