Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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2013 is Half Gone: How’s Your Sales Strategy Working?

July 5, 2013

Are you working your plan? Or is the year getting away from you?

Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post about retooling your sales strategy, suggesting that you take action like forging alliances with complementary businesses, reaching out to new markets and expanding relationships with existing customers.

Todd Martin 061213 image 1I’ve been working on these activities as I continue to settle into my new position as VP of Sales at Pipeliner. As I continue to formalize my own sales strategy, I like to project a bit and remind myself how I’ll eventually be monitoring my own progress.

Evaluating the effectiveness of your sales strategy – your plan to expand your customer base and encourage existing customers to explore your other products and services, hoping to increase your company’s market share – is as important as nailing the right strategy in the first place.

Evaluation Methodology

There are numerous ways to evaluate how effective you’ve been, how close you’ve come to accomplishing your mission. If you’ve been in the sales profession as a team member or manager for very long, you’ve probably developed some of your own. But here are some of the standard benchmarks that I like to look at, in addition to other, sometimes less quantifiable criteria:

  • Do you have a lot of one-purchase customers, or are people coming back for more? Probably one of the first concepts you learned as a salesperson – Your best customers are the ones you already have – can also serve as an evaluation tool. Sales professionals have been trying to build long-term relationships with customers since the rug weavers and potters in the marketplaces of old were yelling, “Hey, you! Come over here!” The existence of social media just makes customers more accessible. It’s hard to quantify the quality of your connections, but you can tally up your repeat customers to see if the number is growing.
  • Do you have new customers as a direct result of your sales efforts? Prospects have multiple ways of finding you these days, including the powerful web-based word-of-mouth. There are probably other employees in your company who are trying to woo a new batch of buyers through their own efforts. But are yours working?
  • Is revenue up? This is the most obvious sign, of course, but if revenue is down, evaluating your sales strategy may give you some insight as to why. Pay attention, too, to your company’s overall profitability. Increased revenue doesn’t always correspond with better profit margins. Look at your sales costs and throw out pricey tactics that aren’t showing results.Todd Martin 061213 image 2
  • Built into your evaluation, too, should be a look at your contingency planning. What did you have ready to replace an unsuccessful sales attempt?

I love work. I could look at it all day,” read a sign on a former co-worker’s door. I think it’s a good idea not to get too caught up in navel-gazing. There is such a thing as too much planning – at the expense of serving your existing clients and finding new ones. But I find that I have more direction in my daily workflow if I keep my overall strategy in mind.

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