What is a sales strategy?
A sales strategy can be defined as a plan to position and sell your product or service to potential customers in a way that ensures you stand out from your competitors. A bit of a mouthful, but when broken down into points, it's actually not that complicated.
Sales strategy B2B
Before we look at what a sales strategy should include, let's look at sales strategy for B2B companies, i.e. business-to-business. Compared to B2C, i.e. selling to an end user, B2B often has a much narrower target group to go after, simply because there are fewer businesses than individuals. On the other hand B2B sales almost always larger, as companies buy homes in larger quantities.
Another key factor of a B2B sales strategy is that B2B sales are less impulse or emotion driven. Therefore, when planning your B2B sales strategy, you should keep in mind that B2B sales are something that only comes about after a long time and careful consideration.
There are also several parties involved in the decision-making process when it comes to B2B sales. And unlike private consumers, businesses are often looking for more specific solutions (whether you sell products, services or both), and usually require more technical instruction and guidance both before and after the sale.
All these factors mean that a B2B sales strategy requires a more sustained and long-term sales strategy. This will often increase the budget required and can therefore benefit from automated processes.
What should a sales strategy contain?
Here are some elements that a good sales strategy should include:
1. Value, value, value
As Steve Jobs said, "people don't know what they want until you show it to them". In other words, most prospects cannot articulate, or are simply not aware of, what they are missing, what might improve their business, simplify their lives or processes, make them happier, less stressed or otherwise add value to their lives.
That's exactly the thing you need to sell to them. Whether it's a physical product, a digital solution or a competent service, your sales strategy should be centred on what you can offer the customer. What value can you add to them and how will that value benefit them.
2. Create the desire for change
It may sound surprising, but most prospects don't actually want much change. For the most part, they're happy with their lives and the things they know. That's why it's important to build into your sales strategy a way to create the desire for change in your leads.
If you simply communicate the message "this is why you should choose my product over other similar products", you are not standing very strong. It is much better if your sales and marketing strategy can communicate the message "this is how your life will be better if you buy my product". This again points back to point 1, offer value.
3. Tell a compelling story
Often in sales, the strategy is to list facts about the product, hoping to convince the customer to buy, by simply spelling out how great the product is. But no matter how impressive you can make your product appear, there won't be much impact in terms of sales if you don't also tell a compelling and memorable story.
So storytelling is a better sales strategy. Stories paint vivid pictures and make prospects not only connect with your message, but also remember it for much longer.
4. Focus on the customer journey
A sales strategy is really about the buying process of the customer, and this can be seen as a journey. The key points in this journey will often be discovery, consideration and decision. Use these in a creative way and weave them into your storytellingwhile highlighting the value the journey ends up enriching for the customer. If you can do this, you'll have a strong sales and marketing strategy.
So now you know some of the basics of what a sales strategy should include.
Digital sales strategy
Already back in 2018, the number of online shoppers globally reached over four billion. And it's only increased since then. So there's plenty of opportunity and reason to put a digital sales strategy in place. Here are 3 basic elements you can use when designing your digital sales strategy.
1. Optimize your online sales channels
Make sure your funnels are set up to focus on capturing the right leads. Make sure those leads are properly warmed up afterwards. And make sure there's as little friction in your sales funnel as possible. In other words, make the journey as easy and seamless as possible for the customer.
2. Be visible on many online channels
Blogs, social media, online webinars and events, email marketing, the list goes on. You should be visible in as many places as possible.
3. Use data for analysis
Your digital sales strategy has the great advantage that your digital sales automatically generate data that you can analyse and use to improve your strategy. Make sure this useful data doesn't go to waste.