Effective sales strategies are developed through careful evaluation and constant improvement. At Highspot, we work with sales and marketing leaders every day to enable their success, so we know firsthand the importance of a strong sales strategy.
Below, we’ve answered the most frequently asked questions about developing a winning sales strategy.
Let’s start with the basics. Even if you’ve created many sales strategy documents in the past, refreshing your definition will ensure you have the right foundation.
What Is a Sales Strategy?
A sales strategy describes the way that the marketing and sales teams help your company stand out from the competition by highlighting value. It’s a set of tactics that prepare marketers and sellers to position your organization and its products or services in a way that engages buyers meaningfully.
Before you charge ahead into creating your sales strategy, revisit your messaging and ensure that it clearly and compellingly spotlights your value to customers.
Who Develops a Sales Strategy?
As with many aspects of business, sales strategies aren’t created in a vacuum. Marketing and sales enablement each play important roles in strategy development and execution.
Sales and marketing must collaborate to align activity to sales goals. This is especially true in developing sales strategy, as marketing activities and content generate, qualify, and close deals.
Sales enablement is the link between sales strategy development and execution, so enablement teams also need to be involved in sales strategy development. Effective sales enablement teams will roll out the initiatives identified in your strategy, prepare your sellers through training, and ensure marketing assets are used effectively.
How Do You Develop a Sales Strategy?
Though your exact sales strategy may differ, developing one typically follows the steps below:
1. Define the goals of your organization
Outline clear revenue and sales performance goals now to accurately measure success later. Good goals are SMART — specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based.
Evaluate your previous performance and current situation to determine whether or not the goals you are setting are realistic. Ask yourself questions such as:
- How much did your team sell last year?
- Which clients generated the most revenue?
- What is the next logical step for growth?
- What assets do you need to support the next stage of growth?
These questions will help you understand how to go from where you are to where you want to be. Use your answers to chart a clear path to achievable goals.
2. Examine your product offerings and ideal customer profile
Closely align your product to customer needs. A tight product-market fit gives reps the best chance to convey value and close deals.
Start building your ideal customer profile by examining market trends, customer feedback, and other business intelligence. Then consider how your product creates value — and ask yourself if this value proposition still solves your target customer’s pain points.
Don’t rush this process. Product messaging is the backbone of your sales strategy and will underpin our next step.
3. Review your prospecting strategy
Prospecting is a key part of any sales strategy — the number of opportunities in your pipeline will directly affect your ability to meet quota. And since growing or maintaining your pipeline coverage requires generating 3 to 4 times as many opportunities, a strong prospecting strategy will set you up for sales success.
Think about the types of accounts you identified in the previous step — what methods will you use to reach out to these accounts? Are they effective? Are they modern? How will you prioritize your accounts?
Finally, ask yourself what types of resources reps will need to achieve your goals. An assessment of these assets will allow you to make meaningful requests of marketing.
4. Align sales strategy with marketing initiatives
Now it’s time to evaluate your marketing activities — from content to lead generation — to make sure they are designed to best support sales goals.
Modern teams often rely on sales enablement technology to foster alignment between marketing and sales teams. Sales enablement platforms create a single source of truth for marketing-approved content, allowing sellers to efficiently execute a sales strategy with on-brand, easy-to-find content.
While powerful, these solutions are beholden to a strong sales process and strategy. Set your sellers up for success by involving marketing during the development of your sales strategy and by providing ongoing feedback to marketing throughout its execution.
5. Hire and train talent
If you don’t have the people you need, make sure acquiring them is outlined in your sales plan. If you do have enough talent, then make sure they are ready to sell.
Exactly how and when you provide sales training will depend on your product and market complexity, but in general, you must give sellers easy access to the resources they need when they need them. Key approaches to consider include:
- Just-in-time training
- On-demand learning videos
- Routine training sessions
Regardless of method, the desired outcome is that sales teams are on board with your messaging, goals, and overall go-to-market plan.
6. Implement, evaluate, and iterate
You now have a solid sales strategy and it’s time to set a timeline and communicate your strategy across teams. Each team must have a clear understanding of their goals, strategic initiatives, and execution timeline.
Once your sales strategy is implemented, continue ongoing evaluation of each element to see what works and what needs to improve.
How to Measure Sales Strategy’s Success
Setting goals and measuring sales success can be difficult because there isn’t one single answer — every company will have different metrics that are relevant to their business.
Salesforce, for instance, suggests measuring call effectiveness, meeting traction, pipeline velocity, lead quality, and change in win rate. Hubspot suggests you measure only lead-to-opportunity conversions and opportunity close rates.
Find metrics that allow you to quantify success in terms that make sense for your business.
You’ll achieve your sales goals through a strategy that is customized to your customers’ unique needs and the way your business solves them. To learn more about how to optimize your strategy to meet modern buyer expectations, download our eBook, Winning Over the Modern Buyer.