Five Steps To An Effective Sales Strategy

I know a company that recently wanted to take a closer look at their sales pipeline. They evaluated their top 100 accounts against 16 specific criteria. Based on how these top 100 accounts scored, they then narrowed the list down to a top 50, and these accounts became their "super" targets. They referred to them as "capstone" accounts. Identifying and targeting capstone accounts was a key sales strategy for this organization.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we're sharing five key steps to create an effective sales strategy from Inc. partner, Project Entrepreneur, a national initiative providing women entrepreneurs access to tools, training and networks.

1. Build your roadmap. The first step to creating an effective sales strategy is knowing where you want your company to go. Where exactly do you want your business to be this year or in three years? Who are the customers you want to attract?

Come up with a specific plan, like you do when you pinpoint directions in Google Maps, and then determine every single step that you need to take to get there.

2. Approach target customers in an authentic way. Once you have a roadmap and a list of target customers, the next step is to start reaching out to your targets directly. One tactic for approaching key customers is authentically engaging them on LinkedIn or by email. For example, become a member of the same groups as your target customers through LinkedIn Groups. This will give you the ability to connect with them without needing their email addresses. Then send short, personal notes to the people who mention your shared interests and show that you've spent some time getting to know more about them and their businesses.

3. Captivate your target audience like a rockstar. It is important to remember that your target customers are busy and have several things vying for their attention. To captivate your target audience, you'll need confidence, a genuine connection with your audience, clarity on what you want from them (and what they need from you), command of your data and what sets you apart, and most importantly, the ability to close the deal.

Before heading into an important meeting with your ideal customer, look them up on social media and see what interests you have in common. Be sure to also check them out on LinkedIn; perhaps you went to the same school or know mutual people.

Conduct a Google search to find out if they've been featured in any recent news articles. See who they're talking to and what they're talking about. It becomes simple to have a conversation with somebody when you know everything about them in advance.

4. Nail the big meeting. You should never have an in-person meeting before you've done a discovery call. When requesting the discovery call, frame it as an opportunity to become as knowledgeable as possible about your customer's company.

Once you're in the sales meeting, resist the urge to inundate your customer with information. People will only remember three things, and those should be the three ways your business can change your target customer's life. Preparation is also key for nailing a big meeting.

Finally, practice your presentation and pitch, and check your tone and body language. This can have as much of an impact as your spoken words.

5. Always follow up. It may take more than one meeting with a potential customer before you close the deal, so effective follow-up is key. At the end of each meeting, take some time to make sure everyone is on the same page about next steps.

Also use that time as an opportunity to schedule a follow-up meeting, if necessary. Let your potential customer know what you plan to do and when you plan to have it completed.

Then spell out what you need from your potential customer and give them a deadline. Doing this at the end of the meeting will make additional follow-up that much easier.

Source: Project Entrepreneur is on a mission to increase the number of women building high-growth, economically impactful companies. Launched by Rent the Runway Foundation in partnership with UBS, Project Entrepreneur is a national initiative providing women entrepreneurs with access to the tools, training and networks to build scalable companies.

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