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Most SME’s I meet don’t have a sales strategy. They prefer to focus most of their time tinkering with their day-to-day operations and their approach to selling tends to be more random and scattergun. They admit that sales in on the critical path, but they have never taken the time to put a plan together or create a repeatable, standardized process that forms the foundation for consistent sales success. 
It’s a surprise because all the research on this subject points to companies both growing faster and performing better with sales plans in place. A 2010 study published in The Journal Of Management Studies found that companies that plan grow over 30% faster than those that do not. The same study also found that companies who have a well defined Value Proposition, something I blog a lot about, out-perform companies who do not. 
I get the impression, from my discussions with clients, that there is a perception that developing a sales strategy is much more difficult than it really is. It can take time, and needs to be done in a thoughtful way, but it is not difficult and spending the time to create your sales strategy is such a good investment, because what comes out of the other end is a knowledge of your customer and marketplace that is invaluable in ensuring steady business growth 
Key to a successful sales strategy is ensuring all assumptions are validated by the people who matter, i.e. your ideal customers. Research in planning also reveals that companies are more likely to close down more quickly as a result of planning, and avoid flogging the proverbial dead horse. 

Follow these 6 steps to develop your sales strategy 

1) Market Analysis It is important to validate whom your product or service is specifically needed by and how deeply that need goes. Additionally, establish what your customers are willing to pay for it, and how they perceive its value. Take a note of the language they use when they describe the issues they need to solve and overcome. You will be using it in your Value Proposition 
2) Segment into Niches Rather than trying to be all things to all people, segment your customers into smaller focused niches that will allow you to communicate powerful messages that resonate with their deepest reasons for buying. In this way you will come across as a true expert in your field and your customers will feel understood 
3) Set Objectives How many will you sell and to whom, by the end of a specified period. Again, you must test your assumptions as far as possible, but you must have some measurable and specific goals, as you set out so that you can continuously improve 
4) Define Sales Channels Now you must decide what is the best way to engage your ideal customers, e.g. do you sell direct or via agents. Will you go for an online model or perhaps use Telemarketing 
5) Value Proposition For each niche, we must develop a powerful Value Proposition so that when you communicate with your prospects, you do so in a way that uses their language and speaks to their problems and desired outcomes and they are crystal clear about the value you provide 
6) Execute and Refine Now execute the plan, and at every step use the results to refine your plan, tweak and go again. Do you need to increase the activity? Do you need to refine the proposition? Or perhaps through discussions with prospects it is clear that your service needs to be positioned slightly differently. Don’t forget to analyse your failures, there is much to learn from them. 
Good planning is essential for so many reasons, so do you have a sales strategy? 
As a Speaker, Sales Trainer and Accredited Master Coach (CSA), Glen Williamson is passionate about helping SME business owners and sales professionals of all levels reach new height of sales performance delivery.  
Taking his 30 years of experience in sales and business development, Glen founded GWC Sales Training in 2011 to deliver consultancy and training for clients across a wide range of sectors including logistics, financial services and oil and gas. 
Meeting the needs of our increasingly complex and competitive business environment, Glen’s “Master The Sales Conversation Masterclass”, and Complete Target Account Selling Program create interactive opportunities to embed new ideas and techniques for consistent, predictable sales success. 
Glen believes that sales is a collaborative process, part of who we are and how we survive, and at its core, should be a desire to ‘help’, not ‘sell’. 
Tagged as: Sales Strategy, SMEs
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