Every sales team, every salesperson, will have a sales target. Fewer will have a sales strategy. A sales target is a number or set of numbers, usually larger than the one set before and comes with a ringing exhortation from senior management to help it achieve take off.
What salespeople then do is think (worry? panic?) about how they are going to deliver these increases, hoping that a combination of price inflation and demand will get them there. In the current climate they will be very lucky to have either helping them towards their target. Quite the reverse in fact, with prices under real pressure and demand ranging from patchy to dreadful, its going to be down to what they proactively implement.
A sales strategy covers much wider ground, focusing as much on how something is achieved as much as what you are trying to do. This doesn’t mean it has to be a complex process or a doorstep of a document, but it does examine the robustness of the figures, because a good sales strategy will test the underpinning assumptions.
The development of a sales strategy creates focus around the required activities and actions that are needed to deliver the desired numbers. Done well, it then gives you the ability to flex the indentified key variables to create different outcomes. This allows for possible ‘pinch points’ to be indentified that may need additional focus.
We are often asked “Can you construct a sales strategy without having a coherent or clear corporate strategy?”. Well yes. At its simplest, what you are doing is planning how to deliver whatever corporate objectives the sales function has set.
The context for strategic development is more effective when you have a corporate framework to work within. The best strategies are ones that go through the iterative process of ‘top down’ direction meeting ‘bottom up’ market intelligence, synthesized to create something owned by all levels of management and the front-line sales team.
In partnership with Structured Training, SalesPathways have designed a one-day programme How To Create And Implement An Effective Sales Strategy. This up-to-date, practical course really shows you how to put together your sales strategy, providing the tools and templates to help organise your ideas and focus on all the key success drivers.
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