Having a winning sales strategy is important for creating competitive advantage and meeting your sales goals. Your sales strategy is the foundation for your sales efforts and helps direct your energies in the most productive direction. These three keys to implementing a winning sales strategy will help you formulate an approach that is comfortable for you and successful with your target prospects.
1. Develop a Sales Strategy That Attracts Business
Although no sales strategy is complete without outbound sales efforts, a winning sales strategy compliments these outbound efforts by attracting business to you. Warm leads, especially those that are generated through referral, are an important source of business that take less effort to convert and can produce larger sales achievements. Work on attracting business through your sales strategy by:
- Tapping your networks for outside the box opportunities. Go beyond simply asking for referrals and ask your contacts whether they belong to any organizations, associations, or meeting groups that would be interested in hearing from you.
- Making sure that you have a coherent and visible internet presence. The internet is the first source of information on potential purchases for many prospects. Make sure that prospects can find you, and equally importantly, become interested in contacting you by optimizing your internet channels.
- Setting aside time in your schedule to generate and follow up on the business that is attracted through your inbound sales strategy.
2. Prepare and Plan For Every Stage in Your Sales Strategy
Though flexibility is a virtue, so is having a concrete plan for success with your sales strategy. Shortcomings in sales planning can cause issues throughout the sales pipeline, from prospects who leave the pipeline too early to prospects who stay in the pipeline indefinitely before committing to a deal. Ideally, your sales strategy should help prospects move through the stages from lead to customer as efficiently as possible without depriving any part of the sales process or rushing your prospects. Being prepared with your sales strategy also benefits the prospect, since you will be able to demonstrate your value and commitment to saving the prospect time in the process. Prepare and plan the stages in your sales strategy through:
- Acquiring the information you need from the prospect as early as possible, so you can spend the rest of the sales process sharing relevant information with your prospect.
- Outlining a sales strategy for each individual prospect after the initial sales call based on the information you have and the steps you need to take to move the prospect forward.
- Defining key objectives to take place at milestones in your sales strategy so that you can define and measure your progress.
3. Demonstrate Your Purpose to Your Prospects
A sales strategy that has a purpose of selling to prospects will rarely be successful. Make the overarching purpose of your sales strategy to help your prospects through consultative and relationship based selling and your prospects will respond positively.
- Practice the art of persuasive positioning. Adopting the purpose of helping prospects does not mean that you become a sounding board for their business issues. Instead, position yourself to listen and respond with moderate persuasion towards your proposed solutions.
- Learn the prospect's industry. If you are targeting your prospects, there are probably a limited number of industries you consider core to your sales strategy. Learn these industries inside and out so that you can share insights with prospects and demonstrate why your offering is the right solution.
- Develop added value. Value is integral to the buying decision and no sales strategy is complete without it. Have a "schedule" of value propositions so that you can always choose the right approach.
Prospects do not want to be sold to; they are looking for individuals who can consult on their needs, form a meaningful relationship, and provide lasting solutions to business problems. With the right sales strategy, that someone could be you.