Everyone talks about strategy, but do we really understand it?
There are two types of strategy-business strategy and sales strategy. Strategy, at it’s core, is “how will we accomplish our goals?” But business strategy is very different than sales strategy. I’ll leave business strategy to the big boys-Tom Peters, Jim Collins and the rest.
We’ll talk about sales strategy today. Because in our sales training business we find companies have spent very little time on sales strategy. Yet, it is the very thing that can propel enormous sales and revenue growth. Sales strategy is the “how” of “how will we approach our clients and acquire them?” Cold calling is a strategy. Direct mail is a strategy. Neither are optimum, but both can work.
I prefer companies have a multi-point sales strategy. And “referrals” should ALWAYS be a component of it.
Here’s an example of one of our clients who came to us for help. They had 3500 customers across the Midwest. Their chosen strategy though, was to ignore a “referral” strategy and focus on prospects they didn’t know-commonly known as a “cold call” strategy. Absurd.
My belief is that a sound sales strategy should make things easier-not harder. So if you have 3500 customers, I wouldn’t make even ONE cold call. I would do several things:
1. Do a Case Study (“white paper”)
Go back to those customers and do a “white paper” on how the solution impacted their business. Have a professional interview several contacts at the client, then get it transcribed and put it into a 3-5 page “study.” Then take that study and offer it on the website (get emails before you let people download it) and it becomes your brochure. Throw out all the brochures that puff about how good you are-and use the white paper to do that for you-in the words of your clients. There are even companies who do white papers (for about $2000).
2. Have a Seminar (User Forum) for Your Clients and Invite Prospects
Or have your customers invite their associates. I have yet to see a company who is selling their current customers EVERYTHING they could. There seems to be so much “testosterone” around conquering the new account that we forget about easy ways to do it.
3. An Educational Strategy
I would say one half of your prospects don’t know the scope of what you do-nor do they know how to think about your category of solution. Therefore, education is in order. You must educate them-not to how great you are (that’s a common blunder) but to what kind of pain they may be feeling without your solution. Every marketing book says that people are on a continuum from UNAWARE to ACTION. One stop on that continuum is COMPREHENSION-meaning, they comprehend that they have a problem worth solving.
These are a few of the many sales strategies that we use in our practice of helping sales teams increase revenue. I hope these can help you do the same.