Creating an effective and scalable sales strategy is the backbone of any small business. The reason so many businesses can never seem to get off the ground is due to poorly built sales strategies.
So how do you ensure you have the best path to success in a competitive market?
Top 10 Tips on Building Sales Strategies for Small Businesses
Here are our top 10 tips on building sales strategies that can increase your revenue, streamline your efforts, and grow your company.
The Foundation of a Sales Strategy
If you’re struggling to maintain a flow of revenue and reach new prospects, it might be time to revisit the core of your sales strategy. This will not be a one-size-fits-all formula.
Instead, evaluate the strengths of your team and construct a sales playbook that is effective in reaching your audience.
The method of letting the customer come to you is referred to as inbound sales. This requires that the marketing and sales team are working in harmony and supporting one another.
Marketing efforts will capture the attention of your audience and generate leads. The sales team will close the sale and maintain the customer. This method is often extremely efficient as you won’t have to spend time convincing prospects to buy your product or service.
These leads are already interested and just need that extra push to seal the deal. Additionally, inbound marketing enables you to skip the introduction. Leads will already know your brand through engaging with your marketing. The sales team is then responsible for turning an interested prospect into a loyal customer.
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Winning over prospects through methods like cold emailing and cold calling is referred to as outbound sales. While more difficult to acquire than inbound sales, this method should not be undervalued.
This can be extremely effective if your sales team is top-notch as these leads will often convert faster due to the personalized message and attention they receive. An outbound sales strategy often works well for B2B companies that aim to capture a smaller amount of leads with a larger impact on revenue.
Many businesses find that a combination of inbound and outbound sales works best for them. To find out more about how to perfect your sales strategy, just keep reading!
1. Tap Into Your Niche
Whatever sales method you’re using, it won’t be effective if you don’t know your place in the market. What do you offer that your competitors don’t? Conduct thorough industry research to determine what selling points are most important to help you stand out from the crowd.
Your niche should start small and grow as you develop your products or find more branches of your niche to tap into.
One of the most effective ways to expand your niche is to utilize cross-promotional marketing. This process creates a partnership with brands that are similar to yours or offer complementary products.
These brands should not be your direct competitors. Rather, choose companies that can seamlessly integrate a promotion for your business into their marketing materials.
Not only will you be providing the customer with more of the products or services they’re looking for, but you’ll also be adding credibility to your brand. If the customer is already loyal to the company you partner with, that company’s endorsement can go a long way in getting you a sale.
2. Understand Your Target Audience
The type of audience you want to target should influence all your sales and marketing efforts. This goes beyond just identifying your niche. Gain as much insight into your target audience as possible.
Conduct research or invest in target analysis software that can show you their interests, demographics, and more. With this valuable knowledge, you will be able to tailor your message in a way that speaks directly to your audience and their needs.
Understand the pain points of your customer base and learn how to address those in your sales strategy.
3. Find Quality Leads
Rather than chasing a sea of leads and potentially wasting valuable time and resources, create a system to prioritize the most qualified leads available.
This can be implemented into your sales strategy with a simple points system. First, determine what is most important to your business when looking at a lead. You may only want to reach out to people who are decision-makers within their company. Rank these leads as a high priority.
Construct a customer profile and measure each lead against your ideal customer to determine if it’s worth reaching out.
4. Create the Perfect Pitch
Every sales representative in your company should have a perfected pitch. This pitch should always include the same major selling points. However, it should be flexible enough to personalize to the customer.
Remember to keep it short. People are less likely to absorb a long and overly-complicated sales pitch. Rather than reading your portfolio of clients and customers, make a case for how you will help the customer your speaking to based on your expertise.
Show the customer that you’ve done your research by making key references to their successes and needs. Once you’ve shown the customer that you care about their company, then you can expand on your services.
People need to know the “why” before you tell them “how”.
5. Think About Your Value Proposition
A value proposition is essentially a guarantee that your products or services will add value to the customer. While your pitch should be designed to capture the prospect’s attention, turning a lead into a loyal customer entails outlining the road to success.
Don’t keep customers in the dark, especially if your product or service isn’t self-explanatory. Informative messaging may not be the most effective within marketing efforts but it’s an integral part of the process.
If you’re selling products online, include your value proposition on the product page as a description or “more information” button. If you’re selling a service, keep your call to action engaging messaging on the homepage and add your value prop to the services page or in your “about us” section.
A value proposition is usually too long to grab the interest of the prospect. However, once you have their interest, it is crucial to outline the next steps in order to close the sale.
6. Respond to Customer Feedback
Even if you have the perfect sales strategy, there will always be some critical feedback. Rather than dismissing this, use it to your benefit! These customers are in your target audience and are expressing a need that they aren’t sure you can fulfill.
Use this information to perfect your product and better understand your audience. The key is to determine the common themes.
If you’re constantly hearing from prospects that your pricing is too high in comparison to your competitors, it might be time to re-evaluate your pricing model. Each time you send out a pitch, make note of the feedback you receive.
This will help you track the common barriers between your business and the customers you aim to serve. Brainstorm this feedback with your team to determine whether it is feasible to implement it into your business model.
7. Integrate Marketing and Sales
Your marketing and sales teams serve different purposes. However, without proper communication between the two, leads can easily slip through the cracks. Find ways to foster a collaborative environment within your team.
This could be as simple as keeping the departments close within the office. If they know what’s going on in the other department, they will be able to better inform the customer.
If your teams are able to communicate in a productive and social way, as well as have a good understanding of what other teams accomplish, they will be able to speak with more authority to customers and will resonate more deeply with the goals of the company.
When analyzing data from marketing and sales, combine them to show how one affects the other. This will give employees a more holistic view of their role in the company. Additionally, without this high-level view, you might miss obvious solutions to obstacles in customer acquisition and retention.
8. Focus on Retention
Speaking of retention, no good sales strategy is effective without a focus on retention. Building customer loyalty is the key to generating consistent revenue and continuing to scale.
Retention strategies involve following up with customers to answer questions and ensure satisfaction. Within marketing, retention can be scaled through promotions and offers targeted to members or long-time customers.
Show appreciation for the customers you’ve successfully acquired and give them a reason to stick around.
9. Invest in Customer Support
One aspect of ensuring customer satisfaction is providing excellent customer support.
According to survey statistics, 84% of consumers reported that customer support was an important factor in their purchase decision. Bad customer support can result in negative reviews and ratings which can directly impact your ability to acquire new customers.
It also contributes greatly to turning first-time buyers into long-term customers. Consider responsiveness a priority and make sure every inquiry is being addressed in a timely manner.
Ensure that customer support specialists have a good understanding of who the customer is. They should be aware of the needs and values of the customers they are serving in order to create personalized responses.
Follow through on correcting errors that come up in processing orders or fulfilling requests.
Mistakes happen and the customers generally understand this. However, if there is no effort to correct the mistake, customers will get frustrated and become unlikely to purchase your product in the future.
Sometimes, customers aren’t seeking a solution, they just want their voice to be heard. A part of valuing your customers is understanding that they are the life-blood of your business. Listen to their suggestions and thank them for taking the time to reach out.
10. Think Ahead
A good sales strategy is always one step ahead. Set yourself up for success by outlining clear goals for the future. This requires clear documentation of sales performance and customer feedback.
Make goals quarterly and look back each quarter to determine what worked and what didn’t. You cannot scale your company if you don’t weed out inefficiencies and update products and services to meet new needs.
Your audience will be constantly shifting. Therefore, if you don’t consistently re-evaluate your sales strategy, you risk falling behind.
Conduct regular industry analyses to get a better understanding of trends within the industry and how you can harness them to boost revenue. Remember to set a revenue goal that’s both challenging and attainable.
If you set your goals too high, your team will always feel like they’re falling. Reward the successes and challenge them by providing the tools they need to accomplish new goals. Lastly, it’s important to set goals that are measurable. When you find success within your sales strategy, you want to be able to directly attribute it to your effort.
Track time, resources, testing, and feedback so you have a solid database to refer to when strategizing for the future.
Get Started Building Sales Strategies That Work!
Reaching your target audience and perfecting your process takes time and a bit of trial and error. However, we hope these tips have got you started in constructing an organized approach to building sales strategies.
Start by taking notice of what’s working and what’s not. This will serve as a springboard to get you brainstorming new ways to acquire leads and build lasting relationships with your customers.
Don’t wait around on building sales strategies that can grow your business and help you reach your goals!
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