We hear sales managers and execs talk all the time about the importance of sales strategy. “Strategy” is one of the words that gets used a lot. In fact, Webster’s Dictionary says it's in the top 1% of most popular words. After all, who gets heat for talking strategy?
The problem is that most sales “strategies” are not really strategies at all. If you look at that definition of strategy, you see, “a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal, usually over a long period of time.” That means a strategy doesn’t change (or if it does, it's not very often), is long-term, and describes a set of consistent behaviors.
Many sales strategies are more like tactics — making more calls in a defined period of time, approaching a new group of prospects, or introducing new offers to move the market forward. These things are not bad, but they're tactics, not strategies. Tactics are helpful IF they support a strategy.
Sales Strategy Examples
So, what might a sales strategy look like in real life? Here’s an example:
- A commitment and process for finding prospects 52 weeks a year
- A filter to weed out poor prospects and select the ones that meet your company’s Target Business Profile
- Focusing on getting a quality meeting where you can have a meaningful business conversation
- Defining the prospect’s desired business results and getting an assignment from that prospect that outlines where they would like to see a problem in the business solved or an opportunity leveraged
- Developing a solution collaboratively; presenting an idea or plan they want to buy because they helped create it
- Gaining confirmation that the prospect will buy the plan and getting them to take action
- Delivering on the plan and implementation you sold, so you can get the next order
Now, THAT’S a sales strategy. You might have many methods and tools to use along the way, and specific tactics you employ from time to time that support this strategy, but if you stick to these steps, your ales team will likely sell more and renew more.
Strategies are meant as a laser beam of guiding principles. You need one, and if it's the right one, you'll do very well — and your customers will appreciate your consistent approach.
What does your sales strategy look like?
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in January 2018, and has since been updated.