In order to be a successful salesperson, it is essential to have a concise game plan and strategy. A sales strategy should outline goals, analyze data, and clearly state specific processes that are designed to create consistency and ultimately promote growth. I have put together a few things that I find to be helpful when creating a successful sales strategy.
Analyze The Past
“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” – George Santayana
Whether you are starting a new job or just needing to reevaluate for a new quarter, the first step in creating a successful sales strategy must include an assessment of the previous year or quarter of business by asking questions such as:
- How much was sold?
- Which clients brought in the most revenue?
- What percentage was recurring business?
- What clients had the shortest sales cycle?
- Where is the best place to look for growth?
- What tools and resources currently exist to support desired growth?
The answers to these questions will be necessary to understand what has and what has not worked in the past for the region as well as to successfully identify any gaps. One helpful way to identify gaps is to perform a thorough study and analysis of the sales process from both the perspective of the salesperson as well as from the buyer’s. This can be accomplished in several ways including interviewing clients and asking simple questions like:
- What were some things that we did as a company during the sales process that you did not like?
- How likely are you to recommend our product to your customers?
- Why did you choose to buy from us in the past?
This information is extremely valuable because it comes directly from the one making the purchase and it shows the customer that you are dedicated to identifying past mistakes and making the necessary changes moving forward.
One way that you can use this insight is to create a Sales Process Flow Chart that can be provided to clients. The sales process is rarely linear so it is helpful to have a roadmap that the salesperson and client can continuously refer back to throughout the sales process. The Sales Process Flow Chart is a powerful tool because not only does it set the correct expectations and act as a concise reference point but it also shows the client that you are prepared, professional, and value their time.
After the initial analysis of the past, it is important to construct an ideal client profile (ICP). This can be determined with questions like:
- Who are the clients
- Who makes the decisions within the organization?
- Who influences the decision-makers?
- How do they buy?
An ICP provides guidelines that help allocate time in the most efficient way possible to focus on clients that are most likely to convert to quick and recurring sales.
“The weakness of an enemy forms part of your own strength” – Annoynmous
Although I would barely call a competitor in business my “enemy” there is some truth to the above quote. Any fan of Sun Tzu knows that avoiding your competitor’s strengths and pinpointing their greatest weakness is a key element in success and that it’s important to never stop learning from your competition.
After establishing an ICP with the help of an assessment of the past and insightful client interviews, its time to take a look at the competition. A competitive analysis is a critical part of establishing an effective sales strategy. A proper competitive analysis will identify competitors by placing them in strategic groups based on how directly they compete for market share.
More specifically, for each competitor, you would list their product, its profitability, growth pattern, marketing objectives, strategies, organizational structure, strengths and weakness, and size of sales. I have found that the easiest way to translate this information is with a Competition Grid.
“Differentiate with value or die with price” – Jefferey Gitomer
After evaluating the competition you must begin to differentiate the value of your product or service. This information can be gathered during the customer interview phase by talking to clients about why they chose to buy from you and what factors would force them to buy from a competitor in the future.
It’s important to implement a Touch-Point Program where you connect with established clients and prospects on social media, emails, texting, in-person office visits, and phone calls. It’s important to make sure that you are adding value with each interaction and ensuring that each meeting ends with a commitment of some type that pushes the sales process forward.
I hope that you found some helpful information with these tips and are able to utilize them to create your own killer sales strategy. Please reach out to me on LinkedIn if I can be of any value to you moving forward.
I can be found here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/keithwcordeiro/
Don’t forget, the journey is ours so be good to each other.
Until next time!