Want Increased Sales? Drive Sales with Strategy
Strategy is a critical filter for the constant barrage of decisions your sales and marketing teams make every day. Many business owners believe they can operate without a clear strategy. While it’s possible, companies without strategy don’t drive long-term sustained increases in sales. Decisions like what markets to go after and which customers to pursue or pass isn’t as easy as you would think. It is easier to make these decision in a strategic context.
How does that work? Clearly define the critical components of your strategy and apply them to your teams daily sales decisions and activities.
Use these critical components of your strategy to drive sales:
Your vision is your story about what you are building and why. It is a detailed description of the product, service or technology. It includes the size; including the number of people, locations, units, revenue or anything else that will define your size. It details what it will look like including the product, the packaging, and the locations.
Is it Apple slick or Google fun?
Does it include your long-term plan including your exit strategy?
Are you selling a company, a product, or a license?
Who uses what you are buying?
What is their world like when they have what you are selling?
The vision helps everyone, including sales see where you are going.
Values are determined, in part, on your “why.” The values are essentially your “how.” If you understand why you are doing something, you can figure out how you want to do it.
Will you do things in ways that are environmentally friendly?
Will you do things with integrity?
Will you have fun while we are doing it?
Will you be changing the world?
Will you be helping people?
Value also help you decide what kinds of people you want to hire and what kinds of people you want your clients to be. If integrity is your highest value, then don’t hire salespeople who tell tall tales. If customer service is your first priority, then hire sellers who care about other people more than they care end or quarter quota. Quota follows customer-focus.
When you have problems, your values help you decide how to solve them. Do you fire staff to cut costs, or do you focus on revenue generation?
When you know why you are doing things and how you want your company to work, decisions become easier. Decisions like firing a customer or changing your market focus make more sense in the context of values.
The mission is a simple sentence that tells you what we do and who you do it for. It may include why you do it. If your mission is clear, it is easy to see when you have gone off mission. If your mission is to provide better fencing to pig farmers, then you will quickly know when you are off mission. Sometimes, you will decide that your mission needs to change or expand and so too, may your vision. At least you can explain that and bring the whole team along with you. Salespeople need to be clear on the mission. This guides them to bring in the right types of solutions to the right customers.
Once you know where you are going, why you are doing it and how you want to do things, you can think about the specific path you want to take to get there. Your goals become your benchmarks for your journey. Like when you see the sign that says 500 miles to Cincinnati. Goals let you know you are making progress in the right direction. A good strategy includes goals around:
These goals help you establish priorities in a world where we are constantly inundated with external demands. It’s difficult to set reasonable sales goals when the larger company-wide goals are not clear.
The clearer you are about who you are selling to, the better your results will be. Your product is a good fit for certain people. Your company culture and values narrow that definition. Look at your products and think about who will get the most benefit from them, can afford to pay for them, will close without too many hurdles, will be a satisfied customer and will buy from you again in the future. That will help to narrow down who you should be targeting. The better marketing and sales understand the ideal customer profile, the better they will be at attracting them.
Positioning is about how you want to be perceived in the market. This is often an unspoken comparison to your competitors.
Are we the low-price leader?
The environmental option?
The latest technology?
Positioning is the story you tell about your company. Its and explanation of where you fit in the marketplace vis-à-vis your customers problems and the alternatives they have to solve them. Your values will help you think about what story you tell about your company and your solutions. That story or positioning will help you attract the buyers most likely to be interested in your offer.
Now that you understand the critical pieces of your strategy, it should start becoming clear how strategy acts as a filter for decision-making. If your team doesn’t understand your strategy, they may not be able to make good decisions about resource investment, partnerships, product development or even sales strategy.
Values become a filter for solving problems every day. Goals become a filter for resource allocation. Ideal Customer Profile helps focus your marketing and sales teams on the clients you want most. Positioning determines the story you are telling and impact decision making from marketing to ops. All of these things affect decision making in every part of your organization, including sales.
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