How To Create An Effective Sales Strategy For Your Business

how-to-create-an-effective-sales-strategy

For your startup, sales = revenue = credibility = investment etc. Putting together a sales strategy is critical. Here's how to create an effective sales strategy for your business:


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An effective sales strategy needs to consider what are your products and where or who is your market. It also plots out how the sales effort will be directed to ensure it captures profitable growth selling to customers.

Creating a sales strategy presentation is a good starting point. It should outline market and customer coverage with detailed plans that give the best possible opportunity for the business to win more customers. 

In more detail, a sales strategy defines the customer segments it wants to target and the business value propositions for each segment. Then it spells out how the sales force will be structured along with a documented selling processes.

A sales strategy is a business decision

  1. Who are you going to sell to.
  2. What are you going to sell them.
  3. How are you going to sell to them.
  4. What is your core sales and marketing messaging.
  5. What are your sales priorities.
  6. A clear set of goals that everyone will work toward.

Effective sales strategies are 100 percent aligned with the overall business strategy. They outline the ideal target clients, what is your value proposition, what are your success metrics, goals, roles, processes and specific actions required to meet targets. 

The sales strategy must be based on the business and marketing plans so they all tie in together. It needs to outline in as much detail as possible – how will the sales and marketing team will deliver on objectives and the plan to target market segments. It covers how the sales team will they support marketing activities, such as inbound leads or promotional events.

Recommended reading: How to Go About Creating Marketing Strategies for Your Startup

Identify the Key Aims of the Sales Strategy

The questions it should resolve and bring clarity to include

Is it to sell more to the same customer base? or Is it about market penetration or market development?. 

Also which target markets you are aiming for and the time, money and resources needed. These questions should be answered by researching when, where, how and why the existing customer base buys.

Set A Clear Market Strategy

The sales strategy presentation needs to detail out questions in the plan such as;

Grow existing accounts?
Revenue with existing products?
Revenue from new products?
New revenue with existing products?
Up and cross-selling?
Retention plan?
Acquisition plan?
Customer mix?
Product mix?
Seasonal sales cycles?

Business growth depends on acquiring new, profitable business with different customers. Plan how you will approach every new customer. Maybe to win the business of a key customer, you may offer acquisition pricing, creating a loss-leader or maybe giving the product on a trial basis. Make sure you have a plan to move prices and margins back up to a profitable level, or else live with reduced margins from these customers.

Reaching the Customer and Target Market

  1. Which sales channels will be most effective in selling to which customers.
  2. Do you sell direct or through channels?
  3. Map out the costs of each channel against the benefits it would bring.
  4. Implement a well-functioning funnel and opportunity planning process.

Sales Plans, Forecasting and the Annual Sales Budget

The sales strategy presentation should include a detailed breakdown of the sales to be achieved each month, by customer and by product. The sales forecasts should be based on previous sales levels, or if a new business then the sales targets should be based on the business plan. It also takes into account information about customers’ buying habits, the sales cycle and other factors such as pricing and marketing activities.

Selling Resources Required to Meet the Plan

The sales strategy is not just about sales, it also covers what resources are required to meet the plan. So it should document topics including – What is the Sales Training plan. The plan to improve the customer experience. What (if any) specialist support is needed. What resources will be needed to make the sales force more productive.  What will the cost be of providing admin support so sales people spend more time on selling. Then it needs to call out all the marketing and sales assets in play and what needs to be created prior to launch the sales strategy.

Sales Strategy – Measuring Sales Performance

Finally, the sales strategy should insight into how the sales performance will be measured against the plan. Areas to be included are;

Sales forecasting accuracy.
Cost of sale analysis.
Time and money spent on different customers.
Analysis of customer segments.
Insights into the win/loss ratio.
Salesperson productivity.
Channel productivity.
Lead to conversion ratio.
Cost per customer sale.
The return on sales costs.

In the business of selling, there are many of the factors that determine success which are outside of your control. So all the more reason you need to define your goals and tactics for meeting (and exceeding) your sales target. Writing a sales strategy presentation will help you take a more control in the fast paced world of sales.

Remember, the success of the sales strategy is the engine for the success for the whole company. It may sound simplistic but without acquiring and developing profitable customers, a business will eventually fail. Regardless of the size of a business, it’s critical to ensure your sales strategy is clear, purposeful, with clear goals on what you want to achieve, and how you will serve your customers. 

Over to you now. How did you go about creating your sales strategy for your business? Tell us in the comments below. 

 

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