How to create a successful sales strategy (that will generate leads today)

In this article, Linda Parry Murphy, CEO at Unscripted, explores how to generate leads and the best approach to take when developing a sales strategy.

A concrete sales strategy should be at the core of every business.

If applied consistently, a thorough sales strategy should work in conjunction with your marketing efforts to engage with customers, both new and old and set you apart from your competitors.

It sounds promising, but where do you start? Follow these six steps to create a sales strategy that will generate new leads and take your business to the next level – and you can start today:

Step 1: What do you want to achieve?

Firstly, start by identifying your main goals and objectives. In order to be confident that you’re creating a step by step plan that will allow you to work towards and eventually achieve your goals, focus on just three to five goals to begin with.

Remember, your goals should be relevant, timely and realistic – especially in your first year of operation. For example, it’s unlikely that you’ll reach figures such as £1.5 million in your first year of sales, so be certain that you’re not setting yourself up for failure.

Keep seasonality at the forefront of your mind too; consider events, such as national holidays, that could tie in with your sales efforts.

In order to achieve the best results when setting out your objectives, your goals should be SMART. If you make your goals specific from the outset, you’ll run less of a risk of falling short.

Step 2: Who do you want to purchase your products or use your services?

By identifying your primary and secondary audiences, you’ll be able to ensure your strategy will be suited directly to your customer market and you can then adapt your tactics and approaches accordingly. For example, personalising content specifically for each customer will open up opportunities for discussion and engagement.

Launching an online survey to undertake market research, on a platform such as Survey Monkey, will help you understand your customers’ preferences and reveal overall trends within your target group. Do this before you create your sales strategy in order to gauge a better understanding of your target audience.

Step 3: You’ve identified your audience, now it’s time to get under their skin

The research you did in the previous step should have identified a trend of results and revealed what your target audience is looking for. If your plan doesn’t consider your audience, you run the risk of creating a sales strategy that your customer market will have no interest in; profiling and learning the mindset and values of your customers is a critical part of a successful sales strategy.

Further, engaging with your audience by sending regular emails and connecting over social media will help generate discussion around your business. Consider putting a CRM service (customer relationship management) in place to generate a flow of responses and learn what your customers’ values and needs are.

Step 4: Have you defined your unique selling point?

If your USP is similar, or essentially the same, as a different business’ on the market, what will you have to offer customers? By offering a service that is readily available on the market elsewhere you’ll only be narrowing your chance of success.

Competition shouldn’t be seen as a negative, so carry out research into what your competitors are doing. Weigh up what they’re doing well and what their weaknesses are and adapt yours to your advantage.

The research stage of creating your sales strategy should have highlighted whether there’s a space for your business in the market but, if it didn’t, the process of defining your USP should.

You have a slim chance of being able to offer your customers a product or service that doesn’t exist anywhere else, so you need to recognise and acknowledge what your customers need from you and take their input on board.

Step 5: Value old relationships whilst generating new ones

Is the ultimate goal for your business to generate sales and grow? Your answer is, most likely, yes. So, maintaining a sturdy relationship with current customers is just as important as creating new ones. In fact, research shows it costs five times more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one suggesting that you should seek opportunities to generate new leads, but failure to nurture current relationships could be detrimental to your business’ success.

Consider personalising emails, drawing attention to your speedy customer service response rate and interacting with customers on social media in order to maintain your business to consumer relationships.

Step 6: Is your strategy working?

Decipher what is working for your business and what isn’t. Picking up on processes that could have done better and adjusting plans accordingly is a great example of stability within a business. Schedule in time for regular reviews, from both yourself and a third party, in order to prevent your business from hitting a wall.

Assessing your sales strategy allows for an insight into whether or not you are going to reach targets within the timeframe you set in your objectives back in step 1.

Continually evaluating your processes will allow you to make positive and efficient steps towards your sales strategy. In order to do this effectively, measure your metrics and consider all your options – are there some tactics that are working better than others? If so, focus on them and rework your strategy.

Ultimately, sales strategies are put in place to maintain customer relations, reach achievable goals and generate leads. Creating a plan – and sticking to it – is a concrete way to manage expectations, both internally and externally. However, as an industry professional, you should always feel confident enough to be tactical and react to industry ongoings, whether they’re in your plan or not.

To get one step ahead of the game, consider speaking at conferences, networking at a number of events within your industry to get your name out there and be active on social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter.

If metrics and expectations are being met, along with following a carefully thought-out plan, you will see results.

Linda Parry Murphy is CEO at Unscripted

Further reading on creating a sales strategy

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