Developing a sales strategy is a critical first step to becoming a profit-generating business. Unfortunately, many organizations overlook important aspects of their sales strategy. Here are mistakes to avoid.

Unless you have a foolproof ability to pick winning lottery tickets, your business will need a sales strategy. In fact, developing a sales strategy is a critical first step to becoming a profit-generating business. 

Aspects of the sales strategy development process include developing revenue targets, figuring out which industries to pursue, examining your value propositions, and finally, a comprehensive marketing analysis including studying your competitors and quantifying important differentials. All of these things work into developing a coherent sales strategy.

Unfortunately, many organizations overlook important aspects of their sales strategy when putting together their go-to-market plan. They don’t know how to develop a sales strategy plan, and their business suffers because of it. There’s a lot to do, and the less experience someone has, the more likely they are to overlook something important. 

Here are common mistakes to avoid. 

Mistake #1) Not Getting Tactical with Your Sales Strategy

Generating sales looks different for different companies. When you look at the world as a market, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by various potential customers ranging from the government to the delicatessen down the block. They are very different beasts, and when it comes to developing a strategic sales plan, you have to know how to tailor your approach to fit the organizations you are hoping to sell into.

You need to determine how you’re going to do everything from identifying targets to getting introductions and upselling accounts — and that’s just the beginning. You must think tactically.

Sales Strategy vs Tactics: What’s the Difference?

Lots of people seem to want to use the words strategy and tactics interchangeably, seeing as they both describe approaches toward getting something you want — in this case, sales. 

However, they are very different, and you can make many mistakes if you don’t understand the difference (source).

Sales Strategy

Strategy is the higher level aspect of the two. In simple terms, you can think of it as “what you do.” Strategies can include everything from picking your target industry to deciding whether you want to approach every company in your target market and region or put more effort into a smaller number of potential customers.

Sales Tactics

Tactics is the equivalent of ground level. If the strategy is “what you do,” tactics is “how you do it.” Everything from email blasts to cold calling, warm calling, or a host of other approaches can be described as tactics. Once you get to the top of the sales funnel, tactics dominate, so you have to take them into account from the beginning when figuring out how to develop sales.

Mistake #2) Not Considering Employment Strategy

Any strategy starts with the people who are going to implement it. It’s not enough to simply delegate the task to one of your current executives without thinking through whether they are qualified or how they will work within your strategic goals. Do they know how to develop a strategic sales plan? Remember, the most important thing is that you have answers to these questions, not necessarily what those answers might be. Here are a few to start with:

Who to Hire?

Are you going to hire an accomplished VP to build a sales team, or go outside your organization and hire a consultant to do the initial work of developing a sales strategy template? The earlier you figure this out the better.

What Functions to Hire For?

Are you going to build an internal sales development team or not? Take the time to identify which elements of your sales team need to be built internally and which you can outsource. You need to know this from the beginning, not wait to figure it out when your business depends on it.

Mistake #3) Not Considering the Process

Do you know how you are going to measure success? You have to build in a way to determine what’s working for you and what isn’t. It’s not enough to simply count how many sales you make in a given period. You have to be able to break things down on a more granular level in order to be able to see where your relative strengths and weaknesses lie. This enables you to reinforce success instead of supporting failure (source).

Not Testing Your Message

Messages matter and the most important thing is to make sure you know which of your messages resonate most with your target market. This is something you cannot just guess at. You have to test it. 

The most common approach is A/B testing, where you use two different messages and log them both to tell which has the better results. The specific approach may change according to your sales and employment strategies, but it is vitally important to know what works for you and what doesn’t (source).

Mistake #4) Focusing too Much on Revenue

Yes, revenue is important, but it results from a good strategy — revenue is not the strategy itself. Nobody says their business strategy is making bank deposits. Your business strategy is about what you do to generate the money that goes into those bank deposits. Here are some factors you should focus on that intersect to built a revenue-generating plan.

Objections and Barriers to Success

From how complex it is to implement a solution, to the price of making a purchase,There are legitimate reasons potential buyers may purchase your product. The more objections you strategize around upfront, the more likely you are to overcome them and generate revenue.

Product Market Fit

You need to test messaging that puts your unique selling point forward, demonstrating what you bring to the table for your potential customers.  You also need to make sure the value you are delivering matches the market you are selling into. If you over-focus on revenue, by chasing the largest enterprise clients, for example, you may not be as successful as if you targeted a market with more need for your solution.

When Do You Look for Outside Help?

It is a reality that many organizations lack the internal skills to develop or execute an effective sales strategy. They may have focused their limited organizational resources on developing their product, only to come up short when it comes time for sales and marketing. 

This is a problem, but it is not insurmountable; there is a simple solution:

SalesRoads is Here to Help

The best way to deal with a situation you cannot resolve internally is to bring in external resources to assist with the issue. If no one in your organization knows how to develop a sales strategy, you may have to look to outsourcing. Depending on your needs, you can use external resources to either help build a strategy or execute a strategy that you have already developed. It’s a way to leverage resources you may not otherwise have access to.

Contact SalesRoads today for more information on expanding your sales toolbox.

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