Sales Tips: Key Components of an Effective Sales Strategy
By Matt Haag, President/Owner of SimpleData
In this hyper-competitive business climate, where every organization strives to evolve into an industry or market leader, without an effective sales strategy, your organization will face a competitive disadvantage.
An effective sales strategy is the key to any successful business; no matter the size, type or objective.
Understanding your goal, and setting milestones to achieve it, will give you a distinct advantage.
Having a clear plan of action and a set of quantifiable objectives to fulfill your key goal will create this advantage and transform your lackluster sales results into metric based successes.
The main problem lies in that marketers and sales executives spend most of their valuable time and resources seeking the perfect strategy to improve their sales. As a result, they struggle to achieve the milestones that pave the way to surpassing their goal.
The truth is that no one but you, the Sales Leader, will have to take the time to build a clear, effective strategy to fill your pipeline and meet your goals. To simplify the process for you, we have listed the essential components that you must include in your sales strategy for increased sales.
Focused on the Defined Target Audience
Although sometimes it’s difficult to admit that the marketing team can add value, because many times their strategies are hard to measure quantitatively, many times it’s advantageous to work with them to identify the most accurate customer profile.
Targeting the right audience is the first step towards promoting a successful sales campaign.
It’s the key to attracting the same type of loyal customers that are currently supplying a large piece of your revenue. Current customers spend up to 10x more than the average customer. Find more companies like your current customers and you’ll find more revenue. Many sales strategies focus as a “shotgun blast” type method of outreach, which often results in mediocre results because of poor targeting.
The key is to target people that are more predisposed to display an interest in your products and services; as it’s not about the number of people you target but their interest in your business, which will decide the fate of your sales strategy. When you choose the most responsive audience, you increase the percentage (and the effectiveness of your marketing budget) of this group that migrate through the sales funnel and evolve into loyal customers.
If like most marketers, you create a sales strategy that focuses on the number of targets rather than their probability to convert, expect unmet goals and smaller commission checks.
Understand who your current loyal customers are. Ask yourself questions like:
- Are they in the same industry?
- Are they of approximately the same size? (measured by the number of employees)
- Where are they located? (US based only?)
- Who are you speaking with at each company? Were they the initial contact?
- What type of companies are they? (Product or services based?)
Set your sales effort up for success by identifying any shared characteristics within your current customer base should be used as the initial structure to finding more leads and future loyal customers.
Additionally, by collecting data from this same customer based, through simple questionnaires or surveys, you can uncover how best to communicate your product/service offering to new leads as they will often face the same challenges that current customers used to face.
Based on Realistic Goals
A sales strategy that focuses on practical goals and is appropriately directed towards the main business objective, leads to success. The importance of setting practical goals cannot be underestimated; studies suggest that the sales strategies that have targeted goals earn about 10x more than others.
When creating a sales strategy, make sure that your goals are clear and are based on meeting the needs of your target audience. Most importantly, set clear objectives -- know what’s more important and prioritize it in your strategy.
- Is your focus about bonding with new customers, or focusing on customer retention?
- Maybe, you want more frequent sales or simply an increase in the number of sales during off-seasons?
- Or surviving the competitive market?
Identify the immediate demand of your business and set practical sales objective/milestones. A clear understanding of your immediate goals will help you achieve the final goal. Then create a sales strategy that focuses on fulfilling the milestones and it is sure to succeed.
As your sales process evolves, track the metrics throughout so that it can be further developed or amended, if needed.
Is Well Planned and Budgeted Appropriately
For a sales strategy to be successful, it should include careful planning and budgeting.
If you’re like most sales professionals, typically you just want to jump in and start selling, but waiting a week or two to explicitly plan an approach is extremely beneficial. Additionally, sales targets should be realistic; a doubling of sales in one quarter is likely impossible, unless there are commensurate matching outlays in sister groups like marketing and support.
Therefore, it is recommended to be cautious of overreaching strategies.
A successful sales strategy only advises expenditures that have been proven to work with smaller audiences and produce cost-effective results. So, before your sales strategy suggests spending a significant part of your budget towards an over-ambitious marketing scheme, first it should include results of a smaller sample size of this scheme in order to generate the evidence to move forward with more sizable investment. In other words, walk before you run.
Implement Complementary Marketing Tactics
Successful sales strategies go hand-in-glove with smart marketing tactics.
If you want your sales strategies to work, be sure to have tightly integrated marketing campaigns that can evolve as the results of the sales campaign(s) are analyzed. Think “fail fast”.
Although there are some marketing tactics that take time to show results (e.g., content marketing), effective PPC campaigns can be measured in near real-time. Therefore, if PPC targets aren’t being achieved, target new keywords, change the ad copy, and update the landing page. These changes can be made with relative ease and should be done until those goals are met.
Dig deep to learn what works for your target audience, their needs, and build marketing campaigns around them.
If your prospects are attracted to special offers or limited-period discounts, a marketing plan with such incentives should be built to capture them and beat the competitive market. For instance, free gifts, limited period offers, discounts and cash-backs can be used occasionally to attract target audience as humans assign more value to things that are limited or occur rarely.
Smart and effective marketing techniques are a key component of successful sales strategies as they motivate sales and improve brand reputation and identity in the market.
Considers Marketplace Awareness
Having strong market awareness allows a marketer to avoid making poor decisions. A good sales strategy focuses and considers the marketplace on a holistic level.
For instance, you should join, participate and attend at least three professional associations and organizations to which your ideal customers belong along and attending any trade shows that they may attend. Also, purchasing the mailing list of such organizations and associations in order to send them either a letter of introduction or a postcard on a regular basis can augment your sales strategy.
Value is a major component of every successful sales strategy. After all, your customers expect one thing from you and that’s value. This is what gives you identity and puts you above your competitors.
Communicating this value in a concise and meaningful manner is very important. Whether you are marketing your company or selling a potential customer, understanding who you are talking to will help you understand how they contextualize your value proposition. Research what part of your service or solution is most valuable to a given market segment and modify email copy, call scripting, and marketing campaigns to reflect these value adds.
In summary, an effective sales strategy targets the right audience, sets quantifiable milestones to achieve company goals, and enables the marketing team to work alongside it symbiotically. Taking a couple weeks to thoroughly devise a comprehensive system to keep you and your team focused and on track cannot be undervalued or looked at as “time wasted”. Planning and understanding who you’re targeting will yield improved results, or at the very least show you where you are winning and losing the fight for MRR growth.
About the Author
Matt Haag has more than 20 years in technology roles ranging from Programmer/Analyst, Sales Engineer, Business Development and Product Management across an array of products but working with those primarily in the Internet Marketing and Technology space.
Matt acquired SimpleData from its founder in January 2017 with the intention of building on its success as a firm that specializes solely in providing targeted B2B sales leads into one that provides a comprehensive Sales and Marketing Automation and Services platform.