Being successful at sales isn’t a hit-and- miss endeavor; rather, sales is an activity that takes careful planning, diligence, and persistence. If you’re finding that you aren’t hitting your sales numbers or are unable to meet business development goals, it might be that you don’t have an effective sales strategy.
What does having a strategy mean? Does it mean making calls? Yes, but it may be that you are making calls, but haphazardly. Does it mean reaching out to prospective clients? Sure, but you may not be following up with leads, or tracking data on which clients are more likely to close, and when. If you execute your sales and outreach initiatives in this way, your efforts may become diluted, and you lose not only momentum but customer recognition of your brand or product, not to mention all of the time and efforts that you spent bringing in the customer and educating him or her in the first place.
Developing your brand, educating customers, and creating a profitable sales channel is not an easy task. However, once you’ve given yourself a starting push, it is your sales strategy that will keep your momentum going as your business grows and you end up expending energy elsewhere, for example, in team development, or on product improvement. The strategy you have should be robust, responsive to client needs, and it should take care of itself once it has been set up.
Wondering what the best way to have a successful sales strategy is? Read on to find out!
1. KYC. Know Your Customer.
This just isn’t a fancy term for business people. In fact, it is mandated legislation for many financial institutions. You need to know who you are selling to. Define your customer segments. As the saying goes, the quickest path to failure is trying to please everyone at the same time. For businesses, the corollary is trying to serve everyone at the same time. You need one narrowly defined area on which to focus, and you can take it from there and expand to other areas, niches, or even countries once you are successful.
2. Pick your channels.
Will you call customers on the phone, engage them on your social media page, and send out fliers or an email newsletter, or all of the above? This report says that almost 75% of all buyers use social media and some form of comparison chart before making purchases. Further, almost three-fifths of all buyers are spending more and more time online researching products, reading reviews, and learning about different options before they reach for their wallets. So what do you need to do? Reach out to people in your network, tap into your contact lists, develop your business circle, and identify which platforms most of your customers are active on. You then have to build your own presence on those specific platforms. Doing this will put you in the right place at the right time to not only sell to high-conversion customers directly but for them to stumble across you themselves.
3. Under-promise and over-deliver.
Always deliver what you said you were going to deliver, do so on time, and ‘wow’ your customer. Then follow up and make sure you build on the relationship so that that client, knowingly or unknowingly, becomes an enthusiastic spokesperson for your brand. Remember that no sale ends with the sale itself, rather it should extend beyond that to become a lasting relationship between you and the customer you just closed. Your mantra should be that customers are for life, not just one-off trades.
4. Be analytical.
This is an often overlooked aspect of sales strategies. Keep track of what works and what doesn’t, and improve, pivot, tweak, and experiment with things until you have a winning strategy. In fact, this report states that companies who keep detailed records and track data generated by everything from their website and social media engagement figures to ROI are 12 times more likely to generate profits year-over- year. Marketing teams too often go for whatever is new, but for how long can you do things by trial and error? Such an approach is not only expensive and time consuming, but is an unprofessional way of doing things if looked at from the data science perspective of marketing. What you should be doing is asking yourself how things went, what worked, what didn’t, did you achieve your targets, why or why not, and figure out how you can improve each step of the process incrementally. After repeating this several times over weeks and months, you’ll have a system that has been tried and tested in the market and is actually built on factual data and first-hand market research.
5. Think big.
Most small businesses and startup entrepreneurs start small with one web page, one product or service, and one goal in mind. But if you do a good job of executing on the four things outlined above, you will hopefully find yourself in the enviable position of having too much work to do but not enough time or resources. What can you do in such a situation?
Here are a few ideas.
- Open another location. However, only do so after maintaining consistent profits and steady growth from your original business, site, or location.
- Franchise your idea. For sales folks, this might mean giving commission-based works to new market entrants, or having freelancers or other outsourcing companies do some of the heavy lifting for you while you main proprietary control, as well as a share of profits.
- Licensing and alliances. These can be effective, low-cost options once you have an established brand. Look into companies providing products or services similar to yours, and align yourself with those who have similar values as you. Trying to keep all the money to yourself is actually a losing strategy; the market is big enough for everyone, so if you can give a little to get a lot, it will be worth it at the end of the day, and the sales numbers will speak for themselves.
When it comes to sales, your bottom line is defined by how well you hit the sales process on the head. It isn’t rocket science and just takes a bit of persistence and market smarts, but with a little work, intense focus on (and application of) these five points, and tweaking of your process in repeated iterations, your sales will in good shape before you know it, and all you’ll have to do is to continue drumming away.