How to Create a Sales Strategy in 6 Steps

 Want to create a sales strategy that is guaranteed to generate leads? Here’s how to do it in 6 simple steps.

By Linda Parry Murphy, CEO at Unscripted

For your business to stand out from your competitors, you don’t just need to be creative, innovative and passionate – you need to be working up to a thorough and in-depth sales strategy, too.

A sales strategy can seem daunting as a huge part of your business’ success relies on it, so where should you start?

Follow these six steps to create the foundations of a successful sales strategy:

Step 1: Identify your main goals and objectives

First things first: what are your ultimate goals for your business? Perhaps you want to increase the number of conversions you’re getting each month, or drive more visitors to your site?

Before putting pen to paper to create your sales strategy, set out three to five realistic, relevant and timely goals that will help keep you on track on your path to achieving your goals. Don’t forget to make them measurable too – we’ll go into the reasons why later on!

Whilst ambition is critical in business, if your goals are too far out of reach for the stage you’re at, you’ll essentially be setting yourself up for failure. For example, if you only launched your business in the last few months and you set a goal to generate $1.5million worth of sales, failure to hit these goals will only result in a lack of motivation and have a negative impact on morale.

A great way to ensure you have a strong chance of working towards and achieving your objectives is to make them SMART – a principle used by the majority of successful businesses.

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Step 2: Carry out intensive customer research

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So now you know what your key goals and aims for your business are, it’s now time to fully get to grips with who you’re going to be targeting with your products or services.

Identify both your primary and secondary audiences to ensure that your strategy is tailored specifically to each market, and you can then adapt your sales tactics accordingly. For example, you could personalize content specifically for each customer group in order to generate discussion around your brand and draw prospective customers in.

To truly understand your customer’s wants and needs, you’ll need to go directly to the source and speak to them. Create an online survey, using a budget-friendly platform such as Survey Monkey, with a mixture of closed and open-ended questions that will help you get to know your customers and reveal behavioral trends and patterns.

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Step 3: Identify your customers’ needs

Once you’ve completed the customer research step, the results from your research should have revealed what your target audience looks like, what they want from you and what you should be doing to meet their needs.

If your sales strategy fails to have the audience in mind, your sales and revenue will – very simply – take the hit. Therefore, profiling and truly getting to know the mindset of your customers is critical.

To generate as much discussion around your business as possible, use direct mail and email to keep in touch with customers – both current and new – and interact with them on social media, too. Consider using a CRM service (customer relationship management) to gauge a better understanding of what your customers engage with the most and to improve customer service relationships.

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Step 4: Determine your USP – and make it strong

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If your USP is the same as a competitor’s, you’ll limit your chances of success. After all, why would someone start using your products or services if the price and quality of what you’re offering is available elsewhere?

Competition should be viewed as a positive, so weigh up your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and determine where there’s a gap in the market for you to fill – then, adapt your strategy accordingly in order to fill that gap.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to offer a product or service that doesn’t already exist, so it’s critical that you can understand and recognize what your customers value in order to make your business stand out from competitors’.

Step 5: Don’t neglect old customers whilst generating new relationships

Customers should be rewarded for their loyalty and, if you spend too much time focussing on engaging with prospective customers, you run the risk of losing current ones.

In fact, research has found that it costs five times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one, suggesting it’s worth your while to work on building new customer relationships whilst still ensuring current customers feel valued. To make sure you’re able to do this, your sales strategy should incorporate a step-by-step plan setting out how you’ll maintain these relationships. For example, this could include running competitions on social media or establishing an almost perfect customer service response rate.

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Step 6: Measure, evaluate, adapt and repeat

So you’ve been implementing your sales strategy for a few months, it’s now time to take a look at which techniques are working and which aren’t.

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Being able to recognize areas of your business that could be improved, and making adjustments accordingly. are traits of a talented and determined business owner. Take the time to thoroughly review and assess your sales strategy regularly in order to see patterns and trends across your activities, as well as gauge an insight into whether you’re on track to hit the goals you set out in step 1. In particular, look for areas of your strategy that could be worked on, such as tactics that are becoming costly and time-consuming – is there a more cost and time-effective method you could use instead?

Ultimately, the purpose of a sales strategy is to set out the methods and approaches you’ll be taking to hit your sales targets. By following a plan, you’ll be able to manage both your own expectations, as well as your customers’ and investors’. In order to take your sales strategy to the next level, you need to be getting yourself and your business out there through speaking at conferences, networking and actively sharing valuable content on your social media platforms.

About Unscripted: Unscripted is an unconventional business development firm focused on lead generation and sales. Based in New York, they use personalized emails, unscripted calls, even direct mail to break through creatively and strategically in a way that reaches the most open-minded, influential contacts.

Unscripted has served the likes of IBM, Wolfgang Puck and Frank Crystal & Company, helping them get results that make a difference.