By Bryn Thompson, Pareto’s Sales Director.
‘If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail’ according to Benjamin Franklin.
There are hundreds of sales companies across the world and what distinguishes a good sales business from a great one, is this basic principle of planning.
Imagine if a team of people had to walk up Ben Nevis, but only one person had a map and knew their target destination. If this leader didn’t outline the route and tell every person where they were going and how they were going to get there, everyone would head in different and fundamentally incorrect, directions.
A people centric industry, sales is a lot like this team of walkers where everyone needs to be collectively working towards the same destination.
In order to succeed in sales, CEOs must clearly define their sales strategy. A fundamental of every business is to define your USPs so you can tell your customers, and your employees, what makes you different.
With such a clear and defined company mission, you’ll find it natural to convince potential prospects why they should chose you and your offering, because you genuinely understand what distinguishes you from other sales companies.
Employees will benefit from a clear sales strategy because they know what they are working towards. When people are emotionally invested in a project and its ethos, they will work more efficiently because they want to feel part of the end result.
The sales strategy
The sales strategy will vary from company to company but every sales business should have a firm plan in place. This strategy is designed to outline which areas you want your sales team to focus on, whether this is generating leads, closing more deals or simply pushing the latest product.
Although the general aim of the plan is likely to drive profits, or to increase customer loyalty, in order to achieve this target you must specify which areas you need to focus on specifically.
Where companies can fall down is by failing to outline which areas their sales team should dedicate their time to, and creating a forecast for where these efforts should be placed over the following year.
To make any new recruits feel part of the team it is essential that they understand their role in your company’s sales strategy. Through an induction day or mentoring from senior level staff who are familiar with the targets involved, new recruits will learn what you’re working towards which means your ethos is ingrained from the start.
Generating and Closing Leads
In sales, a significant part of your overall strategy will relate to the number of leads you want generating and the number of deals closed because this ultimately determines how much profit you’re making. As such, it is vital that you allocate sales targets and ensure each employee knows what their team goal is.
Outlining the sales targets should be done at least every quarter and you should brief your employees not just on the figures they need to hit, but the specific area they need to focus on, whether this is a new product or generating warm leads for future targeting.
Finally, once you have a well-defined sales strategy that you and your employees are familiar with, it is important that you continue to evaluate your company and how it is performing. Even if you have hundreds of employees, you should understand how each department is contributing to your overall sales plan and ensure any inefficiencies are spotted.
Changing and Adapting the Sales Strategy
Don’t be afraid to change or adapt your sales strategy if something isn’t working, actually this should be something you’re doing frequently to evolve with the sales market in general.
For example, 10 years ago social selling was barely known but now you’re 70% more likely to get an appointment if you’ve made contact with a prospect online. With social selling forecasted to be responsible for 80% of sales over the next 10 years, ensure that you’re adapting your sales strategies and plans to fit the market.
Fundamentally, sales relies on persuasive, confident people that can close a deal, but they need a clear sales strategy to guide them and encourage them to perform to the best of their abilities.