Every business exists to grow and make a profit. That won’t be possible if no one is buying the product. Sales is at the heart of any enterprise and getting it right is crucial if the company is to generate the cash flow it needs to thrive. The businesses that consistently experience sales growth are those that apply sales strategies that have been tried and tested.
A sales strategy refers to the data-backed plans a business develops and deploys for positioning and selling their product to qualified buyers in a way that stands out from their competition. Data-backed because, according to Salesforce.com, the most effective sales strategies are those based on robust data-driven sales analysis. A thorough sales analysis allows businesses to identify opportunities while curbing attrition.
Here’s a look at the sales strategies your business can benefit from.
1. Sell a Solution to a Prospect’s Problems
A lot of time, though, money and effort often go into developing a product. Once it gets into the salesperson’s hands, however, the purpose for it can get lost in the struggle to close a sale.
At its core, the product is a solution to the prospect’s problem. So resist the temptation to immediately dive into the packages, pricing, and promotions. If you do that, you create the impression that you are more interested in their money than their problem. You aren’t taking the time to understand their need and whether your product is actually what they require. Perhaps there’s a different product you have that will be more apt.
Your goal is to create a happy, contented repeat customer. Begin by articulating what difficulty you are trying to help the prospect resolve. Research their needs in advance so you can talk about what’s most relevant to them.
2. Focus on Small Niche Markets
Irrespective of the size of your business, you only have finite time and resources that can be dedicated to your sales campaign. Instead of stretching yourself thin trying to reach prospects of all kinds, your efforts are best utilized on a narrow target market niche.
For instance, if you are selling antivirus software, narrowing your focus could mean pitching to financial services providers only. You can narrow this even further by going for prospects based in a particular part of the country or those of a certain size.
Narrowing your niche doesn’t just save your resources. It also provides an opportunity to perfect your pitch before you can attack a bigger audience.
3. Be Flexible
During your sales campaigns, no two conversations you have with the prospects you engage will be the same. If you are truly listening to them, expect to come across unique requests and new challenges. It makes sense. Though each prospect may be interested in the product, how it will benefit them won’t necessarily be identical to the next prospect.
Your sales strategy must have some room to accommodate realistic requests and preferences. This gives you the demeanor of a problem solver, an attribute that can build your credibility in the prospect’s eyes. Of course, your flexibility must be within reason. Don’t commit to making changes that would make your product unprofitable just to keep the deal alive.
4. Score Your Qualified Leads
Lead scoring is something you can overlook when dealing with just a handful of leads. But as the volume of leads increases, so does the need to prioritize them. Ideally, you want to focus on the leads where you have the best odds of closing the sale fast. Lead scoring assigns points to leads depending on where they are along the sales funnel, as well as, for businesses, the contact’s decision-making power in the organization they represent.
For instance, if the lead contact is the COO of their organization, you’d assign them a higher priority than a manager-level contact. Work through your leads, starting from the highest scoring to the lowest. Sales generate business revenue. The high priority lead you close today will give you the cash you require to chase the lower priority ones tomorrow.
5. Follow-Up Until You Get a Decision
Few careers are as hinged on dogged determination than sales. Prospects will say ‘I’m busy’, ‘Let’s talk later’, Let me think about it’, ‘Clarify ABC and let me know’ and various other responses that could put you off. Sales teams cannot afford to drop the ball when an inconclusive response is received. Your goal is to, tactfully, get a decision from the prospect either way.
The key is to ensure each conversation you have that doesn’t lead to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ ends with an agreement on when next you can call to follow-up. Make sure you call when that time comes. Follow-up means you are not leaving any ‘maybes’ on the table. A single ‘maybe’ that you abandon may not seem like much. But when you think about the accumulated ‘maybes’ each year, they could make a significant difference to your bottom line.
6. Give Demos
It’s great to talk about all the things your prospect stands to gain when they use your product. That, however, cannot have quite the same impact as a product demo. A demo gives you the opportunity to show how your product will work in a real-world context that’s relatable to the prospect.
Product demos can eliminate ambiguity but only if they are done correctly. Customize your demo for each prospect. Focus on presenting the product as a solution to the prospect’s specific problem and do not just run through all the features. Chances are your prospect will actually not use or be interested in all the features.
7. Employ Automation
Sales is greatly dependent on interpersonal interaction. That’s important if you are to intelligently respond to the nuances that come with each conversation. Still, sales teams spend plenty of time performing repetitive tasks, filing identical documentation and responding to the exact same question. This time could be better spent persuading the next prospect.
Sales automation seeks to run repetitive tasks, activities, and documentation using software and with little to no human involvement. Examples of and candidates for sales automation include the capture of prospect information, qualifying leads (learn more about it in this guide)
Whether you’ve just launched a startup, are in charge of your organization sales team, or are just looking to improve your own selling abilities, these strategies are a great way to hit the ground running.