Saying that you want to reach $1 million, $10 million or any other number in annual sales is one thing; figuring out how you're really going to do it is another. Setting lofty sales goals is useless unless you develop a strategy to reach those objectives. Implementing a strong sales strategy can maximize your sales efforts and improve your bottom line. When developing your sales strategy, consider these elements:
- Sales goals.
- Staffing requirements.
- Training and management of staff.
- Reporting processes and metrics to measure performance.
- Sales techniques.
- Your target market.
- Your competitive advantage.
Identify your goalsForecasting sales is more of an educated guess than a mathematical formula. Start by estimating monthly sales for one year and then annual sales for three years. If you've been in business for some time, make projections based on past sales history. If you're a startup, estimate by looking at the sales of other products or companies like yours.
Consider your sales teamIf you have a sales staff, it will play a huge role in your sales success. Hiring the right people is critical. But you must also supply them with the training and sales materials necessary for success and you must provide ongoing management.
Develop sales techniquesDecide which techniques and strategies you and your sales team will use to reach your target market, such as telemarketing, email marketing or exhibiting at trade shows.
Create reporting processes and measure successTo keep track of your sales team's efforts, develop a reporting system. Decide how you will measure your sales team's performance and communicate your plan with your salespeople so they know what's expected of them.
Set a sales budgetYour sales budget should include costs for sales force training, compensation, entertainment, travel and administration.
Put your plan in writingDetail your sales strategy in a comprehensive sales plan. Similar to a business plan, a sales plan should be your roadmap to help you arrive at your sales goals.
- Review your sales strategy often and make adjustments as necessary.
- Don't forget to include incentives and performance bonuses in your sales budget.
- Solicit feedback on your sales strategy from your sales reps. Since they're on the front lines, they may have innovative ideas to increase sales or to streamline the process.