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10 things to consider when developing your sales strategyon 2 September 2009
Things to consider when developing your sales strategy
- Who is your target audience?
It may seem obvious, but know your audience. Does what you are selling satisfy their needs or solve their problems? What turns them on? What gets their attention? Where do they hang out? Who are their opinion leaders? All of this information will help you build up a profile and should help...
- Establish the best way to reach your audience.
There is no point in trying to reach an online audience offline or vice versa. Similarly, if you are looking for quick sales of low price products there is not much point trying the hard sell. You need to be where your audience is looking to transact or interact with you and make yourself known.
- Return on investment.
Whatever you spend on getting leads or sales, make sure you can track it back to the revenue that comes in. So many businesses fail in this respect, instead assuming that because they increased some activity and there were more sales, the relationship between the two is concrete. In this age, using analytics to track leads/sales online is vital and makes things easier. But you are nothing without a decent reporting or leading tracking system.
- Choose the best tools for you
Tools designed to assist your business, such as CRM, should be suited to you and your requirements. Having something flexible and cost effective is important as it is unlikely that you can invest the time and money in customising your own. Similarly if you or your team cannot understand the tools, then they are unlikely to use them.
Are you offering the best fulfilment offering. Making the sale is one thing, but ensuring that you can deliver is something completely different. Once again, you have to understand what your customer is looking for and be a little bit flexible in your delivery. You may lose sales if you declare “We promise to deliver in 21 days” when actually you are just covering your back and could deliver next day if needed.
Make sure you communicate as much as is necessary with your customers and target audience. Nobody likes being left in the dark but also nobody likes being spammed to death. Make sure they are aware that you are there and receptive and give them the messages that they might like to hear. Once you take an order, make sure you keep the customer informed about the progress of their order ensuring a delivery date is met (whether a service or product).
- Customer support.
You never know where your next customer is going to come from. Often word of mouth is stronger if you let the customer down with poor customer service. Again, ensure you have the right issue tracking tools available to track any problems so that you can address them quickly and efficiently. A bad experience can very quickly be turned into a good experience and recommendations. However, you certainly cannot afford to ignore. Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook ensure that if there is a problem, the whole world may know about it in moments. Another good way to engage with clients is by implementing extranet client portals.
If you have a meeting or a delivery date/time. Make sure you are not late. No matter where you are, lateness is unforgiveable.
- Ask for references
Never be scared to ask for someone to recommend you. The worst thing they can say is no... the best is that they can give you the names of people who may be interested.
- Review and appraise
Sometimes it seems like everything is going wrong. Review your strategy as much as possible, even when things are going right can help keep these times to a minimum. By knowing and understanding what worked and what hasn’t worked, you can make sure you are ready for any change in circumstances (or apply to future projects you undertake).
Please feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments below.