A sales strategy describes the plan of action your sales team should follow to crush your revenue goals.
By implementing a well-thought-out sales strategy, you can ensure that your sales efforts stay focused, efficient, and profitable. But without one, it will be almost impossible to achieve your large and small business goals consistently.
In this article, I’ll cover what a sales strategy is and its two main types. Then, I’ll explain how a great sales strategy is beneficial for you and mention eight actionable tips to help you build an effective sales strategy.
This Article Contains:
(Click on links to jump to specific sections.)
- What Is a Sales Strategy?
- 8 No-Nonsense Tips to Create a Successful Sales Strategy
- 3 Ways an Effective Sales Strategy Helps You
Let’s jump right into it.
What Is a Sales Strategy?
A sales strategy covers what products or services you sell, who you’ll sell them to, their pricing, and how you plan on selling them within a specific period.
Having a well-crafted sales strategy plan allows your sales rep to position your product or service better and to the right people. This, in turn, helps you bring in new customers efficiently, increases your revenue, and allows you to build better customer relationships.
However, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to developing a successful sales strategy.
You’ll need a different sales strategy depending on your:
- Product or service
- Pricing model
- Business size
- Business’ sales methodology
- Sales cycle length
- Revenue or sales goals
- Target market demographics and other factors
Generally, you’ll come across two types of sales strategies.
2 Main Types of Sales Strategies
The two main types of sales strategy are:
A. Inbound Sales Strategy
An inbound sales strategy comes in handy when B2C or B2B buyers actively look for products or services similar to what you’re offering. Here, you don’t try to push your solution but instead focus on helping the potential customer solve their problems.
Usually, an inbound sales strategy is used in tandem with your inbound marketing efforts.
What’s inbound marketing?
With inbound marketing, you create and share relevant content that potentially attracts your target customer to you.
By relevant content, I mean:
- Blog posts
- Case studies
- Infographics and more
Then, using your inbound sales strategy, you try selling to the leads generated through inbound marketing.
When should you use an inbound sales strategy?
An inbound sales strategy might be right for you if you’re selling a product or service that many B2C or B2B buyers search for online. But you’ll need a well-crafted marketing strategy and a great content marketing team to support you.
For example, a SaaS company selling B2C email solutions can easily employ this sales strategy.
B. Outbound Sales Strategy
On the other hand, you reach out to the potential customer when using the outbound sales strategy.
Sometimes, inbound leads won’t be enough to sustain your business — you’ll need to reach out to many people or companies and directly convince some of them to buy from you.
Here, you can approach a potential customer by:
- Cold calling
- Cold emailing
- Cold social media messaging (usually in the case of social selling), etc.
The goal is to let your prospects know about your product or service, pique their interest, and then persuade the decision-maker to purchase your solution.
However, you shouldn’t just reach out to every person or business you come across.
But how do you decide who to approach?
You’ll need to approach B2C or B2B buyers who belong to your target audience — those who are most likely to be interested in your product’s or service’s offerings.
When should you use an outbound sales strategy?
An outbound sales strategy might be right for you if you’re selling a type of product or service not many people look for online, more expensive products, and so on.
For example, a SaaS company selling complex CRM marketing software to enterprise clients can leverage an outbound sales and marketing strategy.
Irrespective of whether you prefer inbound or outbound sales, having an excellent B2C or B2B sales strategy is crucial to your business’ sales success.
Now that you understand what a sales strategy is, I’ll share some actionable tips you can use to create an effective sales strategy.
8 No-Nonsense Tips to Create a Successful Sales Strategy
Here are eight actionable tips to help you develop a successful sales strategy for your business.
1. Identify Your Target Audience and Cater to Their Needs
No product or service is capable of catering to everyone’s needs.
That’s why you’ll want to serve people or businesses who can benefit most from your offerings. These people are your target audience.
But who’s in your target audience?
Your target audience essentially includes people or businesses matching your ideal customer profile and buyer persona.
The ideal customer profile lists the bare minimum criteria a lead should satisfy to become your customer. On the flip side, a buyer persona highlights some specific behavioral traits, demographic details, job titles, and more that would characterize your ideal customer.
In addition to the ideal customer profile and buyer personas, you can analyze your existing customer base data for more insights into your target market.
- To what industries or niches do the current customers belong?
- What kind of pain points do current customers share?
- What do current customers use your solution for, and what do they find most important?
Once you’ve identified your target audience, your salesperson can position your offerings as uniquely addressing the target audience’s requirements. This way, you can better align your product or service with the target market and improve your conversion rate.
2. Determine Which Channels Work Best for Your Target Audience
You could use a variety of channels to connect with people and businesses in your target audience, like:
- Social media
- Phone calls
- Web forums
- Conferences or trade shows, and so on
To maximize engagement and build better customer relationships, choose channels where your potential customers are most active.
For example, if yours is a B2B service, messaging on a social media platform like LinkedIn might be the best choice for you. Social selling on this platform works because close to 50% of B2B buyers rely on LinkedIn to make informed purchase decisions.
And by messaging those buyers via LinkedIn, you could maximize your chances of getting responses as well as improving your conversion rate.
However, in most professional settings, email is usually the preferred channel for communication. This is because emails are non-invasive, reliable, and cost-effective.
Additionally, if you use email marketing software, you can:
- Scale up your sales outreach and communication efforts quickly
- Keep track of your communications with potential buyers, and do so much more
3. Use Lead Scoring for Prioritization
There are only so many leads your sales team can pursue.
That’s why you must filter your lead pool to give your sales team only the best leads to pursue.
But when you’ve got too many leads in your sales pipeline, identifying which leads to pursue vigorously is tricky. Fortunately, you can systematically determine which leads in your sales pipeline are most worth pursuing by implementing lead scoring.
What’s lead scoring?
Lead scoring is a technique used to rank the leads in your sales pipeline. Usually, with lead scoring, you assign points (usually on a scale of 1 to 10) to different leads based on:
- How much revenue they would potentially bring in
- How likely they are to convert
And then, you rank leads based on how many points they score.
For example, let’s say your salesperson is pursuing two different leads: the first one is a C-suite executive at one company, and the second is a junior employee at another company.
Here, the C-suite executive could have a higher lead score since a C-suite executive usually has a stronger influence on the decision-making process than a junior employee. That’s why, in most cases, the C-suite executive would be assigned a greater lead score and ranked higher.
4. Be Genuinely Helpful to Your Prospects
Many salespeople simply push their offerings on potential customers.
However, a successful sales leader knows that the best way to convince someone to buy from you is to help them first.
But how do you do that?
To help out your potential B2C or B2B buyers, you can:
- Share helpful resources.
- Help them understand the true nature of their pain points.
- Guide them on weighing the pros and cons of different solutions.
Being of real help to a potential customer will present you as a trusted consultant or advisor and not a pushy salesperson simply trying to boost their sales metrics.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should just forget about revenue targets or business goals.
Helping prospects solve their problems (as in the case of solution selling) makes it easier for prospects to trust you and make a purchase.
Want to learn how you can help customers and still sell more?
Check my article on consultative selling for some valuable pointers.
5. Craft a Compelling Value Proposition
When making a sales pitch, it’s tempting to talk at length about the features you offer.
But modern buyers are usually well-informed — they might already have done some research on your product or service, the alternative solutions available, their corresponding pricing structures, and more.
To convert such buyers, you’ll need to offer a compelling value proposition in your sales pitch.
Your value proposition should highlight:
- “How” your solution uniquely addresses customer needs
- “What” gives you a competitive advantage in solving their problem
- “Why” you’re the best choice for the prospect’s success
And to make your value proposition even more convincing, you can include social proof that highlights your unique strengths and expertise. By social proof, I’m referring to testimonials and referral recommendations from your existing customer base, case studies, and more.
Adding social proof to your value proposition helps cement your business’ credibility and gives prospects a sense of what to expect when purchasing your product or service.
6. Consistently Follow Up with Your Prospects
Simply cold calling your prospects once or sending a single sales email isn’t enough to close a deal.
To close deals, you’ll need to stay top-of-mind with prospects.
Consistently following up (through sales calls, emails, etc.) can help you get a definitive response (even if it’s a NO) from your prospect.
Moreover, following up can clear up any uncertainty you might have about the customer. It will also allow you to understand the prospect better and showcase how you can be of assistance to them.
But remember not to bombard your prospects with follow-ups.
Go overboard, and you may come off as pushy, which could hurt your sales conversion rates. Ideally, limit your number of follow-ups to five or six.
As for effective following up, I recommend using emails.
That’s because, with the right email marketing tool, you can quickly scale up and automate your follow-up efforts to stay in touch with many prospects.
7. Delegate Your Sales Activities Effectively
For a sales team to be successful, the sales manager or sales leader should delegate sales activities properly.
The sales manager or sales leader must:
- Define the different sales activities (for example, prospecting) under your sales process.
- Assign different sales activities to various sales reps.
- Specify the exact sub-tasks reps need to undertake to complete each sales activity.
- Define the expectations for each sales activity, and more.
To give you an idea of how this works in the real world, consider the example of prospecting.
When delegating sales prospecting, the sales manager or sales leader can describe which channels to use for finding new leads, what criteria to consider when qualifying new leads, how a salesperson is supposed to reach out to a qualified lead, and so on.
Essentially, delegating your sales activities effectively can provide your sales organization the much-needed clarity and direction, helping them achieve their sales goals or business goals smoothly.
8. Make Use of Sales Enablement and Automation Software
Sales management is not easy.
To do it the right way, you’ll need to research heavily, constantly keeping track of interactions with qualified leads, and sending tons of follow-ups.
And without the right software toolkit, things get complicated quickly.
Fortunately, incorporating sales enablement and automation tools into the B2C or B2B sales strategy of your sales organization can make your life a lot easier.
Look for tools that help you:
- Organize your sales funnel better
- Streamline your sales cycle stages
- Reduce the administrative work your salesperson must undertake while selling
- Simplify email marketing, social selling, etc.
- Align your sales team and marketing team toward the same business goals, and so much more.
But what tools should you use?
To store and manage your prospect and existing customer data, track sales success, and monitor your sales funnel, you can use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software like HubSpot Sales Hub or Salesforce.
And for sales cycle activities like finding leads, you can leverage lead generation software like Leadfeeder, OptinMonster, and Voila Norbert.
GMass is a powerful email marketing and sales email automation tool that works entirely inside Gmail.
It’s used by employees in large companies like Google, Uber, and LinkedIn. But GMass isn’t just for tech giants. The tool is also perfect for you if you’re a sales professional, marketer, small business owner, solopreneur, and so on.
With GMass, you can:
- Auto-personalize your outreach email campaigns to prospects, including names, images, links, paragraphs, attachments, and more.
- Send behavior-based campaigns customized to how qualified leads have engaged with your previous emails.
- Create workflows to send automated follow-up emails to prospects until they open your email, click on a link inside, respond to it, or take similar action.
- Schedule your email campaigns to go out at the right times to reach prospects when they’re most likely to respond.
- Evaluate your email outreach metrics and marketing strategy outcomes through detailed campaign reports generated in your Gmail inbox.
- Save any email as a template that you can modify and reuse in the future.
- Access email marketing and automation capabilities directly from your smartphone using the GMass add-on for the Gmail Android app.
To start using GMass, just download the Chrome extension and sign up for free with your Gmail account.
Now, let’s go over why doing all this work to craft a sales strategy is worth it.
3 Ways an Effective Sales Strategy Helps You
A proper sales strategy is critical to your business’ success since it can help you in three crucial ways.
1. Improve Sales Performance
Crafting a sales strategy plan encourages you to take a closer look at your sales process.
This way, you can identify which sales tactics and activities contribute the most to your business’ revenue or sales goals. Additionally, you can determine any bottlenecks that might be slowing down your sales success or conversions.
Based on this knowledge, your sales manager or sales leader can adopt appropriate corrective actions to improve your sales process. And this can boost your business’ sales performance.
2. Solve Customer Issues Effectively
Your B2C or B2B sales strategy will outline the best practices and processes your sales rep should follow at each stage of the buying process.
For example, if a lead is still in the decision-making stage of their buying process, your sales strategy could mention:
- The specific content and resources to send to convince that lead
- How often you’ll have to follow up with the lead (via sales calls, emails, etc.)
- When it’s the best time to request a meeting for your sales pitch or presentation
- What sales tactics to use to close a new customer, and more
Essentially, the B2C or B2B sales strategy highlights the best way to help potential buyers address their pain points and achieve their business goals.
3. Hire Better Sales Reps and Train Them More Effectively
Without the right people on your sales team, your sales leader or sales manager will have difficulty closing deals.
However, if you’ve got a proper sales strategy plan in place, you’ll have a better grip on the different sales activities your salesperson usually undertakes. You can use this knowledge to identify people from your candidate pool who’d make a good fit for your sales organization.
That’s not all.
After hiring, you can conduct sales training sessions to help a new sales rep understand your sales strategy thoroughly. This can help them come to grips with the processes and best practices that allow them to close new customers faster.
Sales strategies help you serve prospects better, improve your chances for sales success, and allow your team to meet their revenue or sales goals.
However, creating a new sales strategy and implementing it can be challenging.
Fortunately, with sales enablement and automation software, executing sales strategies and sales tactics is no longer troublesome.
You can use a CRM system to manage your customer data, a lead generation tool to find leads and gather sales intelligence, and an email marketing tool like GMass to reach out to and engage with your prospects.
Why not start by trying GMass today to implement your sales strategy the right way?