Right Seat on the Bus Blog by EPOCH Sales Management Solutions
How is your sales strategy working for you?
- Are you missing the numbers?
- Are your salespeople’s priorities not in line with yours?
- Do you question if you have the right salespeople?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, perhaps there is something awry in the development and/or implementation of your company sales strategy?
What is a Sales Strategy? Sales Benchmark Index defines Sales Strategy this way.
- A Sales Strategy is the operating plan for your sales force. It allocates resources effectively to increase revenues and reduce selling costs. It means you can get more out of your sales force.
For sales, this is where the rubber meets the road. A sales strategy is your roadmap for your sales team. It is their guide to executing your vision.
How do you make a Sales Strategy work?
- Remember your Company’s “Why” and help your salespeople find their “Why”. Connect your Sales Strategy to your “Why” and their “why”. It helps answer the question, “Why bother?” It helps provide purpose. Sales is hard. We need to have a “why” to keep going. The Sales Strategy needs to be congruent with our company culture and company DNA.
- Ensure that your sales strategy is aligned from top to bottom.
- First, assess the market. We recommend the Six Factor SWOT Analysis in “Predictable Prospecting” by Marylou Tyler and Jeremy Donovan.
- Second, build business results goals that identify results you expect from sales.
- Third, Selling Objectives are selected to help point the sales team in the right direction. In Chapter 4 of “Cracking the Sales Management Code”, Jason Jordan defines four Sales Objectives
- Customer Focus
- Product Focus
- Market Coverage
- Sales Force Enablement
- Fourth, define the required sales activities and develop the sales metrics needed to meet your selling objectives and ultimately your business results goals.
Completing these steps will provide you with a sales strategy that is aligned from top to bottom.
- Fifth Step, you need to ensure that your salespeople develop goals and sales plans that meet or exceed your goals for them. This process can be achieved by completing two documents
- Individual Goal Setting Exercise
- Individual Sales Plan
When do you do sales strategy planning sessions?
- Sales Strategies need to be updated annually and reviewed quarterly for adjustments to help your sales team stay on track.
- If you do not currently have a sales strategy working for you, schedule your sales strategy planning session as soon as possible
- If something changes drastically and requires an updated sales strategy, schedule a sales strategy planning session as soon as possible
How much time should I dedicate to the strategic planning session?
This answer will be different for each company. I recommend that you consider a few things in this process.
- It will most likely take longer than you think to do it right.
- At the same time, perfect can be the enemy of good enough.
- Give yourself enough time to do the following:
- Select achievable, but challenging business results goals
- Take time to get the Selling Objectives Right.
- Think through the sales activities needed to meet the Selling Objectives and determine the required sales metrics
- Ensure that the salespersons complete their goal exercise and individual plan and that their plan is in line with your plan. Failing to do this step almost always ends up with the sales team failing to meet their goals.
What else might cause us to fail to achieve the goals of our Sales Strategy?
- Failing to plan time to support these selling objectives as below will most likely doom your success
- Plan time to build out accurate target lists to support the customer focus including direct dial numbers and email addresses
- Plan time to update your company marketing messaging, and your sales messaging and ensure they are aligned. Next, update the various Sales Weapons such as email templates, voice mail scripts, phone conversation guides, case studies, presentation materials, and marketing plans to support the Product Focus
- Plan time to recruit, hire, and onboard to support Market Coverage objectives
- Plan time to enable the sales force with tools and training
- Failing to consistently measure established metrics and respond accordingly
- Failing to coach salespeople regularly
In summary, your sales strategy needs to answer the following 3 questions:
- Where are we going?
- How do we plan to get there?
- Why should we bother? What is the purpose?
Would you like someone to guide you in this process?
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