Sales are competitive. There’s no hiding from that. The more prepared your business is and the more tried and tested tactics it employs, the more likely you are to succeed. The key to consistent, sustainable growth is a powerful sales strategy.
There’s an ever-growing list of strategies, and what works well for one business might not work for another. So where do you start? This article aims to outline some of the foundations that you need to have in place before launching a strategy. Then we’ll examine some specific sales strategy examples. Armed with that knowledge, you’ll be on your way to conversion glory.
- What Makes A Good Sales Strategy?
- 9 Sales Strategies That Drive Growth and Success
What Makes A Good Sales Strategy?
When you begin the process of developing a sales strategy, there are certain processes, mindsets, and ideas that you should have in place. Picking a sales strategy style is further down the process than you might think. Before you get to that stage, ensure that your business is in the best possible position to make the most out of it.
Some of the following suggestions require processes to be put in place. They are systems that allow you to launch fully-fledged sales strategies. They act as the foundation on which your strategy is built.
Get To Know Your Customer Journey
Knowing the customer journey through the sales department is one thing. Learning how it works across the entire organization from department to department is knowledge at the next level. The more holistic an approach you can take to your customer understanding the better.
First, learn how leads are enticed and where they come from. Learn what content they’ve engaged with. Get to know how much about the company and its products they already know. The process will look different from business to business. It’s a good idea to have an illustration or flow chart, accessible to everyone, that documents the customer journey across the whole business.
When you begin to pay attention to the whole customer journey, you’ll quickly spot gaps and areas where your processes could be improved.
Measure Yourself Against Historical Data
Before you can measure yourself against the past, you need to ensure you have enough accurate historical data. That means keeping regimented and detailed analytics across the company as a whole.
Make sure that the business is clear on its key performance metrics, and is regularly measuring and recording them. Metrics such as lead generation metrics, outreach metrics, and conversions all need to be recorded.
Once you’ve got the raw data, you and your team can begin to measure more influential performance indicators. That means growth metrics, customer lifetime value, and revenue generated per product or service. You can then begin to attribute metrics to specific roles within the business.
Take averages, create benchmarks, and use that information to measure current progress and growth. It requires a great deal of information gathering but it’s worth the effort. Benchmarks allow you to give people targets to aim for and set goals to keep the business growing.
Set Goals Throughout Your Funnel
Setting large overarching goals is useful when considering the company as a whole. “Increase MRR through subscriptions by 40% by the year-end.” They aren’t, however, useful on a more granular level.
If we want to allow goals to drive you toward specific outcomes, you need to have them set at each stage of the sales funnel. That means setting goals:
- At the early prospecting stage
- During the qualification of leads
- During initial meetings and calls
- At the proposal stage
- During negotiations
- Once deals are completed
- Beyond the sale
Many organizations rely on SMART goals to hone their vision. This ensures that any goals they set are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Following this strategy ensures that goals are useful in their conception rather than being set and duly ignored.
Segment Your Market
Break down your target market into smaller chunks or segments. This allows you to deliver a more tailored set of marketing opportunities. You can even adapt your sales approach and products. Segmentation options include demographic, interests, purchase history, and other specific methods related to your business.
Once you’ve identified the segments that you want to target, you can begin to address their specific needs. You can begin to tailor your solutions by surveying the segment, analyzing related data, or even interviewing members of it.
There does need to be an element of sense checking. Use information and data related to the segment to check viability. Ask yourself if the market size is good enough to match your expectations and goals, and achieve profitability. Check if the segment is different enough from others to warrant its existence. It’s key that you’re sure that you can actually market to them as a segment.
Qualify Every Lead
Leads come from all different directions and sources. They’re not all winners. Your business needs to have a robust, effective lead qualification system in place. This will make sure that you’re not wasting your team’s valuable time.
Collect as much information on the lead’s organization as possible. That means their key stakeholder information, budget, and whether you’re the right solution to their problem. This information will form a picture of viability. Yes, it might mean that sales teams have to let people go without pushing a sale. It’s hard, but it’s a tactic that’ll improve effectiveness and efficiency.
Leveraging automation and the right software tools can make follow-up a breeze. That means installing a robust CRM that presents data in a useful way. With all lead data held in a single place, automated systems can begin to replace mundane but necessary administrative tasks. Consider the flow of tasks from one to another, and ask if it can be removed entirely or automated.
Creating a system using sales automation software can free sales agents to focus on active and engaged leads. If a lead hasn’t responded or engaged following a first outreach email, your system can send multiple emails based on future outcomes.
Determine Your Unique Selling Point
Across the whole sales process, always let the prospects know what sets you apart from the competition. What makes you and your products unique? This should be particularly emphasized during the opening discussions. Plus, whenever you’re handling objections.
Research Your Prospects Then Personalize Cold Outreach
Before you send that initial email, it’s worth investing some time into research. Get to know them before they hear from you via social media and search engines. LinkedIn is a particularly good place to begin to build some common ground.
Once you’ve got some information in place, you can personalize cold outreach, tailoring it to each lead specifically. This approach will have a far higher rate of engagement and conversion versus one that tries to fit everyone into the same mold.
9 Sales Strategies That Drive Growth and Success
Now that your business has the foundations in place, you can begin to think about specific sales strategies and how you might implement them. The following is a series of strategies that have proven to be successful across thousands of businesses worldwide. Absorb the information, consider your own business, and select a core approach that will work for you.
Don’t Underestimate Cold Outreach
Recommendations and referrals are great. They come to you, they likely want to work with you, and they’re easy to close. They won’t be enough for a growth-focused business though. You need a constant influx of leads and a whole host of conversations happening.
This is where cold outreach works wonders, specifically cold emailing. With the right cold email software (like Instantly.ai), you could be contacting thousands of prospects daily. That system can integrate automated follow-up, track core metrics, and flag when potential leads are engaged.
There’s more to it than simply sending a lot of emails. You have to ensure that your inbox is ready to send that high volume. You need to send them to the right people. Then there’s getting the actual content of the emails right. Email outreach is no small undertaking, but once it’s working, it begins to work wonders.
Prioritize Those That Come To You
As mentioned above, leads that come to you are amongst the best that you’ll ever receive. They should be the ones that your team focuses on as soon as they come in. If someone has taken the time to ring your business and discuss options, they’re already halfway there to a sale with you. They’ve removed the whole prospecting process and are ready to hear more about what you have to offer.
You’ll still want to complete a qualification process and make sure that everyone is the right fit. Once that’s done, it should be one of the easier conversions your team will complete.
Score Your Leads
It isn’t efficient to have every team member read through pages and pages of information about every possible lead. You need to have their qualification status and level available at a glance. You can score leads based on elements such as:
- Business size
- Their role
- Their position in the decision-making process
- Their budget
- Anything that indicates their position
- How they first interacted with the business
Gather that information and attribute a score. It could be between 1-100, 1-10, or even a traffic light system. Whichever you choose, it’ll make everyone’s life far simpler and lead to a greater level of efficiency.
Develop Social Media Standing
Learn where the majority of your audience likes to hang out online and develop a presence there. That doesn’t mean creating a page and spamming your products. It means you should begin to foster a community, deliver value, and become a useful resource.
Done correctly, social media can be an incredibly lucrative source of leads and recommendations. Plus, it’s a superb way to develop your brand’s reputation and build sources of social proof.
Launch Free Trials
Free trials come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some offer complete access but for a limited time period. Others have no time limit but offer a very reduced version of the product. Free trials are an incredibly effective method of converting people. Especially those that are already interested in using your product.
They’re a great opportunity to show what you can do and allow your product to do the selling for you.
Deliver Personalized Outcomes
The more you’re able to offer a tailored solution to a customer, the more likely they are to want to proceed with a purchase. There’s a reason that bespoke and luxury go hand in hand. When people feel listened to and have their individual needs addressed, they feel valued and looked after.
The same goes for the sales process. If you’re able to offer an outcome tailored to the prospect's pain points, they’ll have a far easier time understanding the benefits you offer.
Don’t Forget Your Current Customers
The people that bought from you already are the ones most likely to purchase from you again. That’s if you’re offering a quality product or service, of course. Try to avoid your sales team having a mindset where they only chase the next new customer. Instead, have them spend time nurturing relationships with customers that are already with you.
There will always be opportunities for upselling or cross-selling. Plus you’ll grow a great relationship that the client will likely tell others about. Higher customer satisfaction almost always leads to more business.
Showcase Your Product In Demos
Yes, you can offer free trials so prospects can show themselves around your product, but who knows it better than you? Sometimes prospects want to be shown what they should expect from your product and what it would look like before committing. A demo is a great opportunity to showcase your product. Plus, you’re able to answer questions right there and then.
The very best demos will be completed by sales team members that have done their research on the prospect beforehand. That way, they’re able to tailor the demonstration to the prospect, preempting any questions that might come their way.
Recommendations and referrals are often the easiest leads to convert. The person that’s sent them your way has already done most of the sales work for you. It stands to reason that you want to maximize your opportunities to get these easy conversions. Therefore, implement a sales strategy that incentivizes referrals.
You could offer discounts to subscribers that bring in a new client. Even a free gift or voucher. You might offer a referred prospect an extended trial or discount on their initial period with you. There are plenty of referral strategies that you could use. The key is to ensure that whatever you’re offering makes sense in terms of your average customer lifetime value.
Learning these strategies is just the beginning. The real challenges come when you attempt to apply and incorporate them creatively into your own business. Take solace in the fact that it’s not an instant fix or solution. Enjoy the journey. It’s a long road ahead, but it’s a road to success.
- Get the foundations of good sales in place before looking at specific strategies.
- Some strategies will be more applicable to some businesses rather than others.
- When implementing a new strategy, measure and track performance, then judge if it’s right for you.
The best sales strategies will include an element of cold outreach and automation. That’s precisely what Instantly offers you. All are included in accessible, effective software. Interested? Get started for free today.