If you Google “Sales Strategy,” you will find an enormous amount of information out there. Similarly, if you Google anything, you will probably find the same amount of enormous information. So, what is the best way to sort through the multitude of available information and find some useful nuggets? As a sales leader for many years, I have seen countless sales strategies implemented – and I have found a few that are “tried and true,” no matter the company, industry or salesperson. If you are already implementing one of these strategies, more power to you! Keep going and keep improving. But, if you are not, implement a few and hold your salespeople accountable to them and see what happens. My guess is that you will see positive results in your sales, your customer relationships, and your sales team.
Now that I have your curiosity piqued, I’m sure you’re wondering just what these “tried and true” sales strategies are. Let’s discuss them here …
First of all, it is very important to have a sales process. I remember when I interviewed for a past role many years ago, my soon-to-be leader asked what my sales process was. I was actually stumped by this question as I had never really laid out a specific process for the sales cycle. I knew generally what happened from start to finish, but I had not developed or practiced a defined process at that point in my career. So, if you don’t have a process, or even a semblance of one, it might help to sit down and develop the specifics and work with your team to put it into practice. This will help everyone to know exactly what happens during each step of the sales cycle so that there are no surprises. The process will become predictable and repeatable, and will use a common language for all. The sales team can monitor their progress much more easily, and they will begin to use this process for future forecasting.
Secondly, do some pre-work prior to making any customer or prospect visits. This seems simple enough, but I have witnessed many salespeople make assumptions, skip this step, and just go in for the visit. Pre-meeting agendas, agreed upon by all attendees, are a good first step. This will lead to a more open, honest and efficient meeting because the plan has been laid out for all prior to getting together. Agendas lead to meeting notes that can be developed by the salesperson and sent out for buy-in by all after the meeting. Specific actions and timelines must be included so everyone is clear on what has been agreed to. Again, I have seen many salespeople take this for granted, and all of the agreements and actions from the meeting get lost after time goes by. Meetings are expensive for all and should be treated as such. Preparation, planning and follow-up are mandatory. So, take a look at your process and think about incorporating pre-work as a way to improve your success and develop better relationships with your customers and prospects.
Activity and Sales Goals
Lastly, set activity goals along with sales goals. This could be phone conversations with customers or prospects; opened, progressed or closed opportunities for the month; proposals or pricing submitted; market information gathered; or meetings held related to new opportunities – and there are many other goals that you can consider. All need to be based upon what the objectives are for each person so that the activity is relevant to their overall success. These goals should be easily trackable for both the sales reps and the sales leader, and should be agreed upon and reviewed on a regular basis. These “leading” indicators will drive behaviors and help your group to develop and grow.
As mentioned, there are many other strategies out there. Hopefully, you will find a few that resonate with your company culture and sales goals. If you would like some help in developing a strategy specific to your business, please feel free to contact me. I will be happy to assist.
Good luck and happy selling. I will send out another installment of this topic soon.