How to Build a Sales Strategy for Your Small Business.
For many entrepreneurs, sales can be the most dreadful part of operating your business. It’s intimidating and overwhelming. Often times, small business owners get so frustrated with sales that they do not take the time to implement a proper strategy. The truth is, when you take the time to create an effective sales strategy, the entire process of sales becomes demystified and a lot simpler.
Assess Your Business.
Take stock of your business. A good way to do this is through a SWOT analysis, where you write out your strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats facing your small business. Take into account the landscape of your industry, what you do well, who your competition is and your business goals. Make sure you incorporate your current sales budget and the amount of time you have to devote to sales. Also look at what you’ve already sold and what methods you used to make those sales.
Set Sales Goals.
Now that you have a clear view of your business, you can set realistic goals to take it to the next level. Make sure that your goals are specific and concrete, such as selling 50 units by the end of the year, earning three new clients by the end of the month or increasing sales by $20,000 in the next six months. As you achieve each goal, re-assess your business and set new goals.
Create a Customer Profile.
You cannot make sales if you do not understand your audience. You should create customer profiles, also called personas, and review them regularly to help you connect with your customers. Pick three or four types of customers and write out detailed profiles of each one. Including age, gender, education level, occupation, income and geographical location. What are their likes and dislikes? What’s important to them? What do they do for fun? Where do they get their information? What benefits does your product offer them and how are they likely to find out about it?
Select Your Tactics.
Once you grasp the personality and habits of your customers, you can decide the best way to market to them. Take into account your sales budget and available time. Possible tactics run the gamut from traditional methods such as print advertising, radio or TV commercials, sales letters, presentations and phone calls to online methods such as social media, email blasts, website offers and banner advertisements. It is important to select a combination of tactics and market across several different channels so that your product receives the most exposure.
Make a Plan of Attack.
As always, you need to be strategic. Put the sales tactics you have selected into a calendar. You may want to combine your sales strategy into the master calendar you use to manage your ongoing projects. Make sure you are creating a healthy balance between marketing your business and your other business operations. Include daily sales routines in your calendar, such as setting aside four hours every Monday afternoon to make sales calls, sending sales letters with your business card the first day of every month, checking your brand’s Facebook page every day at lunchtime etc…
Evaluate the Results.
Make sure to measure your results frequently against the goals you’ve set. What worked? What didn’t? Learn from the experience and make changes as necessary. Your small business sales strategy is an evolving document that will change as your business grows.
For more information on implementing your sales strategy, contact one of our CxOs.