How to Prepare For and Create a Small Business Sales Strategy

Written By: Victoria Roddel iSafety Author

Sales strategies and marketing plans should be aligned. They should work together to produce the desired expansion for sales and customer growth. Marketing campaigns are concerned with promoting the business brand and making customers aware of the product or service. Sales strategies are concerned with completing actual sales. This article explains how to prepare for and create a small business sales strategy.

Before Creating a Sales Strategy

Before creating a sales strategy, the business needs to understand its customers, competitors, goals, and budget. Here are seven exercises to complete before creating the sales strategy.

1. The sales team and marketing team should together develop a list of business objectives and goals with benchmarks at realistic time points. Include a method to measure results of campaigns and promotions.

2. Identify the market niche where the product or service is offered as well as similar products or services of competitors within the market range. Understand competitors’ advantages and disadvantages within the market.

3. Identify customers that should be targeted. Understand customers according to demographics, preferences, and buying habits. Also understand customer concerns and how the product or service resolves their concerns and needs.

4. Analyze the products or services offered from the perspective of the customer. Why would the customer purchase the product (or not)? Identify how the product or service benefits the customer.

5. Identify competitor options from the perspective of the customer. Compare and evaluate positive and negative features of both the business’s and competitors’ products/services.

6. Identify the feature that makes the product or service unique from the customer’s perspective. This is the basis of an effective sales proposition.

7. Decide the budget for advertising and marketing. The budget decides the parameters for marketing and advertising expense. This is crucial when formulating a sales strategy. The budget is included in the yearly projected costs. Each campaign should be monitored for effectiveness and cost.

Create a Small Business Sales Strategy

Now that the business understands which customers should be targeted, unique features of the service or product offered, and budget availability and limitations, it is time to create the sales strategy. Here are the seven steps to create a small business sales strategy.

1. The sales plan is direct and short. It describes the steps necessary to acquire new sales, extend sales from existing customers, and reach the sales quota for the time period. A reasonable and healthy ratio of sales would be 25 percent from existing customers and 75 percent from new sales.

2. Determine which promotional marketing methods are affordable. Out of those, decide which can be effective with targeted customers. Use varied combinations of methods for each marketing campaign. Promotional marketing methods include affiliate marketing, cold calling, direct mail, email marketing, in-store promotions, Internet advertising, mobile marketing, radio advertising, social media, television advertising, and website promotions.

3. Each product line or service requires a unique sales strategy. The primary reason is the subtle differences among the products or services themselves and the customers who choose the particular product or service. The sales strategy ensures that the business is targeting the appropriate customers and marketing the product or service effectively.

4. The sales strategy examines how the objectives and goals in the marketing plan are achieved and how the budget allows for their accomplishment. Understand which previous marketing campaigns were most effective and for which reasons. Also understand the reasons other campaigns were not as effective. Concentrate on the whole picture and how to improve the campaigns that weren’t quite profitable. Reasons for improvement can include a wimpy call-to-action, an inexperienced sales team, insufficient follow-up, or even just a lack of promotion for the product or service.

5. Generating sales to meet the sales quota from new customers requires effective marketing to increase awareness of offered products and services in the marketplace and local community. It requires a determination of how many promotions, contacts, and presentations are necessary to generate the required number of sales. After sales are completed, the customer should be contacted with an incentive offer to provide contact information of friends or associates as prospective customers.

6. Generating sales to meet the sales quota from existing customers requires the business to maintain contact with existing customers. This can be achieved through a newsletter, phone calls, promotion incentives, or seminars.

7. Implementation of a timeline for the details of the sales strategy should be on a weekly basis. Who needs to be contacted? When is the newsletter distributed? When will the sale be closed, or when should the customer be informed about the product or service? How many sales are required weekly to meet the sales quota? This is the sales strategy. It is the timeline of deadlines. Refer to and update this weekly sales schedule to meet sales quotas.

In Closing

An effective sales strategy results in rising sales and an increase in market share. It requires defining the target market and current market trends; understanding customers and competitor activity, including weaknesses and strengths; and the monitoring of results at specific benchmarks. The sales strategy must be flexible enough to adapt to the changing needs of customers and sales personnel and to immediately counteract advantages of competitors as they arise. A business consultant can assist with collecting and organizing necessary information and with creating the sales strategy.