Every worthwhile endeavor starts with a strategy. Whether you’re on the battlefield, building a business, running for political office, or trying to get out of the grocery store in less than 20 minutes, you need clear goals and a plan for how to get there. No plan, no payoff.
In this case, we’re focusing on sales strategy – and how you can use specific strategies to benefit your B2B company in the new year. But first, the basics.
What is a B2B sales strategy?
A B2B sales strategy is the detailed, documented plan for positioning your B2B operation and selling your product. A solid sales strategy should align with your sales goals and act as a guide that sales reps can follow, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
Sales strategies typically feature a comprehensive range of important metrics and messaging, including:
- Growth goals
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
- Buyer personas
- Sales processes
- Team structure
- Competitive analysis
- Product positioning
- The sales techniques you’ll use to reach your goals
And, because the term “sales strategy” is thrown around so often, sometimes incorrectly…
Here’s what a B2B sales strategy isn’t:
It’s easy to lump a bunch of different ideas and sales initiatives into one strategy bin, but not everything is a sales strategy.
- A sales strategy is not a sales tactic: Sales tactics are specific actions taken to increase sales, while a sales strategy involves a comprehensive, long-term plan.
- A sales strategy is not a marketing strategy: While sales and marketing go hand in hand, a sales strategy and a marketing strategy are not the same things. Your marketing strategy should identify your target customer and your plan for making them aware of your product, while your sales strategy focuses on converting those targets to customers by making the sale.
Why your business needs a solid sales strategy
Your sales strategy will set the foundation for how much revenue your company will generate. By clearly communicating goals and giving marching orders to your sales reps, a solid sales strategy will ensure everyone moves forward together, accomplishing the same goals according to the same plan for optimal results.
As you work through your own sales strategy, here are 5 proven tips to ensure a successful New Year.
5 proven B2B sales strategy tips
1. Set Goals You Can Reach
Whether it’s a number of new sales, a number of new customers, or a target revenue amount, your sales strategy needs to start with a clear goal.
As you decide what your sales goal will be, reflect on your sales resources, the current state of your market, and what your overall goals are as a company. Steer clear of wishful thinking and instead focus on what makes sense for your organization and your team.
2. Create a Customer Profile
Use your demographic information to build a fictional profile of your ideal customer – whether it’s an individual person or a type of organization. Create a narrative around your customer that allows sales reps to understand, empathize, and address their needs in a genuine, effective way. Elements of a customer profile could include:
- Media usage (websites they visit, news sources, and podcasts they like)
- Social media (which platforms they use and how they use them)
- How they spend their time outside of the office
3. Define Your Buyer’s Journey
Once you’ve built your customer profile, consider mapping out what your prospect likely thinks, needs from a product or service, and wants from you at each stage of the sales funnel.
Since their needs will evolve from the top of the funnel to the bottom, this allows your messaging and communication style to evolve as well.
4. Write Value-Driven Messaging
Oftentimes, sales strategies primarily focus on internal issues and ignore an element that can make or break a sale: your message.
Your sales strategy should include compelling messaging (scripts, talking points, email templates, etc.) that highlights your value proposition and directly and empathetically address the needs presented in your customer profile and buyer’s journey.
Just as importantly, the right message needs to be delivered at the right time, depending on where your prospect is in the funnel. For example, if a prospect is solution aware and in the process of evaluating partners (placing them in the middle of the funnel), then sending a case study would be the most effective way to deliver your message.
5. Build a Quality Prospect List
Your sales strategy should include a list of potential customers that reflects your customer profile.
You can do this by searching social media platforms like LinkedIn, doing online research, networking, or partnering with an agency that can help you cultivate a quality list.
Want more tips? Check out these three strategies to incorporate into your sales strategy, including increasing your inbound marketing and using social selling.
Next step: Get started using a free sales strategy template
Pre-made templates and worksheets can help you set goals for the New Year and track sales as you move forward with your sales strategy. You can find super convenient, free templates here, here, and here.
The start of the New Year is the perfect time to reflect on your sales initiatives and consider working with a sales management partner like Peer who can help you determine the best B2B sales strategy for your business. Schedule a conversation today.