5 Ways to Retool Your Sales Strategy
February 16, 2013
Not meeting your sales quotas? Salespeople discouraged? Revisit your sales strategy.
Unless your vacation plan was simply to “see America,” you wouldn’t take off without planning your route. You can apply the same logic to your sales performance. If it’s been off for a time with no discernible reason — like you’re a seasonal business and it’s not your season — one of the first places to look is your sales strategy.
An effective sales strategy helps you increase revenue in a number of ways. It helps you:
- Develop relationships with prospects and turn them into customers
- Maintain your existing customer base, and
- Expand your market share in your region or industry.
Just like there are numerous ways to get from San Francisco to San Diego, there’s more than one approach you can take to strengthen your sales strategy. Here are five directions that I would suggest:
- Look for complementary businesses and form alliances. You wouldn’t team up with a competitor, of course, but you could seek out companies that sell products or services that are related to your own. They may have made inroads with businesses that you’ve haven’t been able to. See if you can do some cross-selling.
- Find new ways to light a fire under your sales team. Money motivates, but are there other ways you could reward them for reaching major milestones? Offer the next new, promising lead that comes in to your sales leader, or dinner and a night at a hotel in a nearby scenic spot. You could also offer more modest prizes for meeting less significant goals. Nice promotional items are good, as are leather notebooks with their names on them or really nice pens.
- Consider selling globally. In the pre-Web days, this was a far more complicated, expensive task, maybe out of your reach at that time. Is it now? Find out which countries would have the most use for your products and develop some targeted sales efforts.
- Expand relationships with existing customers. It’s a tired cliché, but it’s also very true: Your best customers are the ones you already have. Are you nurturing those relationships? Trying to find out what needs and problems they have that you don’t know about? Sometimes all it takes is a friendly reminder that you’re there and you’ve appreciated their past business. Social media is great for this.
- Reach out to new markets that might work for you. If you’re selling a service, this might be an easy way to increase revenue. Scale up or down to accommodate a greater variety of prospects. Hold a brainstorming session with your team and write their ideas on a big whiteboard that everyone can see. Don’t shoot down any contributions – even a bad idea sometimes inspires a better one. Offer a prize for the salespeople who suggest directions that you end up following.
As you think about these suggestions, keep in mind two important tenets of sales strategies. Your plans must be attainable, and they should be in sync with your company’s comprehensive goals. But remember, too, that you have more resources and possibilities than you might think. So dream large, but realistically.