What is a Sales Strategy and why is it important to have one?
Updated: Oct 21, 2019
You're starting a business or are looking to grow your revenue over the next year and are taking with a potential investor to support that growth. They ask you how you are planning on growing your sales x fold over the next y number of years.
You’ve been maintaining a steady stream of income which has hit a plateau. You are looking to diversify your offerings to generate repeat customers and drive more consumers down the “funnel” to purchase.
You are looking to hire a team of people to sell on your behalf - whether that be in a retail shop or a service based business.
In all of these scenarios, you need a sales strategy.
So, what is it? It’s simple in definition: a plan, method, or series of maneuvers for obtaining a specific goal or result (see examples above). It boils down to how do you efficiently and effectively drive new or incremental sales of your product which in its basic form is the transfer of property (physical or intellectual) for money or a credit of some sort.
Seems simple enough, why should I have one?
Well, if you are looking for investors, they are going to want to see what your plan is to generate income and give them a positive return on their investment. With a prepared strategy, you’ll be able to concisely show them your execution plan with enthusiasm and drive versus floundering to come up with the details they are looking for.
That said, if investors are not on your radar, a sales strategy will give you a purpose and something to efficiently work towards. Productivity and motivation decrease when you are not sure how to get to your destination. You may feel there just isn’t enough time to get everything done as you go in circles trying to find the best approach. First off, limited time is a social construct that makes us believe we don’t have enough of it. Truth is there is more than enough time and the key is to have a road map to show you where you are going and how to get there. Limit the backtracking and increase your efficiency, thus more time.
Okay then, what should be included in this strategy?
A successful sales strategy should include the following elements:
1) An Ideal Customer Profile as indicated by evaluation of past and present business. If you are launching a business - who are your competitors targeting?
2) Historical Revenue Driving Methods - what has worked in the past and what hasn't? And why.
3) Specific and Measurable Goals coupled with actionable steps of execution. Again, that road map to show you the way. Keep in mind that each goal should have it’s own success criteria and steps to implement in order to hit those specific metrics. Each implementation stage should also outline (in as much detail as possible) what is needed for each step to be achieved.
Here are a couple of general examples.
Goal Example #1: Growing existing clients by cross-sell or up-sell approaches.
Success Metric: Sell 3 new products into at least 2 existing wholesale accounts (extra points if you can pinpoint the exact accounts at goal creation) by the end of Q4 2019.
Actionable Next Steps & Stages
- Identify all accounts with strong sales for product A. Ask product sales team to send over all sales data by distribution account for FY 2019 and compare it to this time last year.
- Reach out to two accounts (XYZ Client & 123 Client) by Sept 1st with data to support their strong partnership on Product A and why they should distribute Product B through their channels as well. Create collateral to show strong sales of Product A in XYZ Account and Product B sales data in similar distribution accounts to support additional distribution. Leverage Marketing Team to provide consistent branding materials for presentations and product teams to provide data to support client pitch.
Goal Example # 2: Drive new business sales among net new clients (people you have never done business with before).
Success Metric: Increase new sales by $10k monthly starting in Q4 2019.
Actionable Next Steps & Stages
-Identify top three clients (by revenue) and ask them for referrals to new potential customers. Pull revenue data by client through company CRM (Customer Relationship Management System).
-Leverage strong email subscription following to get existing and new products in front of an engaged and interested audience. Create email blast with content around best-selling products & new items coming soon to create excitement. Pull revenue data by product through company CRM to determine best-selling products to highlight and ask content creation and marketing teams to develop visual content to push to subscriber base.
Now for a sales strategy to be successful, it must also exist in an environment that supports its attainment. What complementary systems or items need to be in place for those stages to be achieved and maintained? This could be processes to streamline internal execution of increased sales orders or new teams hired to create visual content for email marketing blasts.
Here’s another example of environmental factors.
Let’s say as part of a digital marketing strategy, you may determine you want to retarget consumers at different stages of brand engagement for your e-commerce products. Varying messages will be delivered depending on where the consumer is in the funnel to ensure they are receiving the most effective messaging in order to get them to take the next logical step in the purchase journey. That’s a great action item but what is the most effective messaging for someone who recently looked at a product page and left the site? Or for someone who placed a product in their cart, showing intent, but abandoned the session before they could complete the purchase? How do you create that content and re-target efficiently?
Having an environment where content creation and re-targeting execution is supported and prioritized will be the key to allowing that strategy to thrive.
So, what’s next?
Give it a shot, see what strategy you can create for your business. Don’t know where to begin or how to get there? Bring in someone who does! The ability to have that road map in place will allow for exponential growth.
This is what we are all about at EmVP Consulting. We’ll set up an initial call to determine your needs and come up with a game plan on how best to support your next move. Send us a note to get started!
I look forward to helping your business thrive!
About the Author
Emily Gorrie is a sales and business strategist with a background in corporate sales. She works with businesses who are looking for strategic direction to scale their business. If you’re interested in learning more or working with Emily, check out her website EmVP Consulting.