Think Wow Sales Strategy

Sales Strategy

Think Wow Sales Strategy Experts

If you’ve arrived here, it might be because your sales initiatives aren’t quite landing. Perhaps you feel like your sales teams are leaving revenue on the table, or perhaps your business simply isn’t hitting its sales targets (or maybe you just want to kill a few minutes on your coffee break and fell into reading about sales strategies!)

Whatever the reason, here at Think Wow we’ve seen first-hand the transformative power of a good, customer centric, sales strategy. It can align sales with wider business goals, increase sales revenue, generate growth from both new and existing customers, and help your sales teams feel like unstoppable sales superheroes (okay – so this last one might be a stretch, but you get the point!).

Before we bore you to tears with why a sales strategy is so important, why your sales teams could benefit from it, and what makes a successful sales strategy, we probably need to address the elephant in the room…

What exactly IS a sales strategy?

Well, the answer is yes to all (and plenty more besides!).

A sales strategy (or at least – an effective, customer centric, sales strategy) encompasses all the things within your business that could theoretically have an impact on whether you generate more sales (or less…). 

But more than that, it’s the coherent source of sales ‘truth’ that pulls all the elements of the sales cycle together, so that your sales team members know exactly what’s expected of them (sales targets matter!). 

Existing customers are also grown with impactful sales conversations, sales calls are made in the right way, at the right time (and to the right people). This helps to maximise outbound sales, and that the sales process underpins everything without being too prescriptive!

This can all sounds a bit overwhelming but don’t worry – just like target customers, sales strategies come in all shapes and sizes, and we’re here to help!

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No two sales strategies are the same

In small, owner-operated business, the sales strategy could be extremely simple. For example, a small company’s sales strategy could be:

  • Identify two new target markets via the marketing team
  • Align sales team with the value proposition
  • Create a strong sales pitch
  • Put 25 new leads into the sales funnel per month
  • Reduce average sales cycle length by 20%
  • Integrate new sales CRM into all sales teams

This sales strategy example is completely fictional, of course, and would require a lot more effort than simply writing it down in order to help the organisation hit sales goals and generate new customers, but if this was compared to the sales strategy of a large multinational, other than perhaps sharing a target market it would have almost no similarities.

Did you know that 60% of customers say no four times before saying yes whereas 48% of salespeople never even make a single follow up attempt.

Here at Think Wow, we’ve worked with dozens of sales teams, refined countless sales processes and, whether the sales target has been more inbound leads, growing a key existing customer, or creating outbound sales strategies, one thing has always been consistent: it’s very unlikely you’ll have a great sales strategy by accident…

Even if all you decide to do having visited our page is download a sales strategy template and completing it with your sales and marketing teams, you will still probably end up with more paying customers as a result of the exercise.

If you suspect your existing sales strategy could do with a refresh or even if you don’t have one at all, we’d love to help!

Still on the fence about sales strategy?

It’s long been accepted ‘fact’ that people don’t like receiving cold calls or unsolicited emails. But, with only 21% of UK B2B sales reps using a social selling strategy, do you really know what sales tactics your sales teams are deploying and how effective they really are when it comes to customer acquisition or lead generation?

The reality is that despite social selling being the current darling of inbound sales strategy, it can be very difficult to establish customer pain points and focus on ‘solution selling’ if all your sales and marketing teams are doing is firing content out through your social channels.

As with all things in life, balance is normally the key (and this is where a customer centric sales strategy comes in…). Your team might be having great sales calls and lay out the value proposition perfectly, but if the sales process they subsequently follow is slow and cumbersome, or they don’t carry out follow-ups, they’re ultimately unlikely to be achieving sales at the rate you want.

You might have a first-class sales process, an engaged and motivated sales force, and a devastatingly effective marketing strategy, but if your sales team doesn’t have the product or service knowledge required to offer the right solution to potential customers, their sales pitch is likely to fall on deaf ears. The point here? Training and development of each and every sales rep can form a big part of a sales strategy!

sales strategy from think wow

Did you know that 30-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first?

There dozens of questions we could ask here, and answering ‘no’ to some or even most of them doesn’t mean your sales strategy will fail. What it might indicate is that there is an opportunity for your sales strategy to be refreshed and improved, to ultimately deliver more sales.

Still need convincing about the value of an effective sales strategy? Okay, here goes!

Imagine if somebody tipped a pile of precision car parts in front of you and asked you build the world’s fastest race car… Even if you were a highly-skilled mechanic, you’d probably struggle to make the most effective use of them without some insight into how they should all mesh together, what type of course and conditions the car would be used in, who the competition would be, and so on…

Now, consider your sales process, sales teams, value proposition, target audience, lead generation activities, marketing strategy (and a dozen other things!) in the same way. They might all be individually designed to a high standard, but without a coherent, high-level strategy governing how they all work together and compliment each other.

A successful sales strategy is the glue that holds all the other elements of your sales organisation together and gets them working to maximum effectiveness.

The reality is that despite social selling being the current darling of inbound sales strategy, it can be very difficult to establish customer pain points and focus on ‘solution selling’ if all your sales and marketing teams are doing is firing content out through your social channels.

As with all things in life, balance is normally the key (and this is where a customer centric sales strategy comes in…). Your team might be having great sales calls and lay out the value proposition perfectly, but if the sales process they subsequently follow is slow and cumbersome, or they don’t carry out follow-ups, they’re ultimately unlikely to be achieving sales at the rate you want.

You might have a first-class sales process, an engaged and motivated sales force, and a devastatingly effective marketing strategy, but if your sales team doesn’t have the product or service knowledge required to offer the right solution to potential customers, their sales pitch is likely to fall on deaf ears. The point here? Training and development of each and every sales rep can form a big part of a sales strategy!

What happens once you're ready to start working on your sales strategy?

There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to creating the right sales strategy for a business. Here at Think Wow, we know that a successful change of any kind depends on the foundations that are laid.

We spend time getting to know you, your business, and your key objectives. As part of a thorough discovery phase we will learn what your current sales process and systems look like, how your sales teams feel (and what their frustrations are), and what your long-term sales goals are.

Once you feel confident that we fully understand your business and where you see room for improvement to your sales strategy, there are two possible ways forward:

  1. We embark on a project with you, using Sprint and Agile methodologies to make rapid progress towards lasting and impactful change
  2. We work together on a longer-term basis but at a lower intensity

There is no ‘best way’ – what’s important is that the approach feels right for you and your business.

Still have questions? Check out our FAQs:

  1. Understand what your current growth / long-term plans are
  2. Review all facets of the current sales organisation (including sales process, structure of sales teams, performance of sales reps, outbound sales campaigns, retention rate for current customers, your sales CRM, sales training plans – and anything else that impacts sales!)
  3. Consider if there is anything ‘missing’ from your current sales planning process or the structure of your sales organisation, and look at how well aligned the different elements are (for example – do your sales and marketing teams each know what the other is up to and do they have the necessary product or service knowledge?)
  4. Set clear goals that the sales strategy can support and make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound). Example goals might be: grow top ten customers by 20% this year, or increase inbound sales lead conversion rate from 40% to 60%
  5. Allocate resources to ‘fix’ the obvious flaws in the current strategy where elements are working in opposition with each other or your goals
  6. Decide where new processes or systems are required to move the business towards its sales goals and allocate clear ownership
  7. Set the milestones / review metrics that will be used to ensure the sales strategy is being implemented effectively

An effective sales strategy goes beyond the tactical aspects of sales like the sales process and cold calling campaigns, and looks to align the individual, daily actions and processes with the longer-term objectives of the business.

Without a sales strategy, different parts of your sales organisation might not only not be working together well; they might be actively hindering each other. It’s possible that your sales team could be targeted in a way that actually damages lead management or customer acquisition, or perhaps the focus on selling your product or service to potential customers is reducing your capacity to grow existing ones.

A sales strategy also gives you a clear set of metrics, tools, and forecasting systems to support business decisions and spot potential issues before they occur.

In some businesses – not much! The answer will largely depend on the size of and complexity of the organisation and the exact roles of the sales and marketing teams. In a relatively small business, it may be possible (or even desirable) to create a single strategy for both sales and marketing – ensuring that at no times are they working at crossed purposes.

For larger businesses and particularly those serving multiple geographies or industries, it will likely be necessary to have a separate sales strategy and one for marketing. Each strategy can (and should) govern how the teams interact with each other, how information flows in both directions to ensure effective collaboration, and when one strategy needs to flex to incorporate changes to the other.

Ideally, a multi-strategy business would still have a single overall ‘owner’ (i.e. a CMO or Sales and Marketing Director), but this may not always be organisationally possible.

It’s hard to give detailed examples of overall sales strategies, because some of them are many dozens of pages long, but it’s possible to consider sales strategy examples in terms of the specific approach taken to the actual ‘selling’ part of the buying process:

  1. Social selling – this is essentially where a business or its sales / marketing teams regularly shares content across various social channels with the aim of generating inbound sales. The content might highlight how your product or service solves a customer’s pain points and generally speaking will generate leads with a higher conversion % than cold-calling or other outreach. For maximum effectiveness, a business should understand buyer personas and create content that feels personal to them. The main downside to a social selling sales strategy is that the business has no control over where in the buyer’s journey the content is seen (if at all).

  2. Account-based selling – whether for existing clients or customer acquisition, this approach dictates that outreach should be done on a specific, account-by-account basis, and be heavily focussed on researching the account in question. Understanding their strategic goals along with building relationships with key decision makers will increase the likelihood of an account-based sales strategy succeeding.

  3. Solution selling – this is entirely focussed on learning, in detail, the pain points of your customer. The sales conversations should be heavily centred around asking questions as opposed to delivering a sales pitch, and the actual ‘sales stage’ should only take place once it is completely clear to you (and your client) that your creative solutions will solve their problems. One downside to this is that the approach necessary to achieving it can require a significant training / reframing effort for experienced sales reps.

  4. Value-based selling – this involves showing the client what benefits they can expect to enjoy if they purchase your product or service. As opposed to focussing on features; the successful value-based sell will tap into the improved prospects of a client’s business when they sign the contract. This can be effective if the value proposition is compelling (and relevant!) but of all the sales strategy examples mentioned here, runs the highest risk of coming across as a hard sell if not managed skilfully.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but gives some idea of how much difference there can be between sales strategies.

Simply: benchmark performance before making any chances to your sales process, sales team, sales training etc and ensure you have the correct metrics in place (and means to track them accurately) as you begin rolling out the changes your sales strategy demands.

Try to only change a single variable at a time so it’s easier to draw links between actions and results.

In general terms though – increased share of wallet with key customers and profitable growth = sales strategy probably working okay!

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