5 Steps to a Sales Strategy That Hits the Number

By: Matt Sharrers

First, your sales strategy should build on the insights from market research. Second, it should align with the corporate strategy. Third, it should address how Sales will achieve its objectives with support from the Product and Marketing teams.

With those three foundational pillars, you can begin to define a winning strategy.

The right sales strategy will enable Sales to stay focused on the right investments. It will grow sales revenue organically. There are five steps to defining it successfully.

A winning sales strategy will grow sales revenue organically and keep your team focused on the right investments.

1. Planning:

How do you reach your goal? Develop sales and data plans that allow Sales to make the number.

Create a clear plan to make your number. Define KPIs and determine what data you need to help you make decisions. Determine what talent resources you need.

A sales revenue plan enables the sales team to work in concert. It gives them a clear path to their goal – and to hitting the number.

Scott Gruher went into detail about Planning this SBI blog post.

2. Engagement:

Even supported by a winning marketing team, Sales must still generate leads. In fact, Sales is typically responsible for 50-70% of opportunities.

The Engagement step involves prospecting and defining a sales process. In this step, you will determine how Sales interacts with prospects and customers.

Begin with prospecting to generate early-stage buyer interest. Then deploy a sales process tailored to how buyers actually want to buy. This will improve win rates and deal sizes while shortening the sales cycle length.

3. Org:

Next, figure out how to deploy the resources you secured in the Planning phase. Set up the organizational structure so the right people are in the right roles. These people should be able to execute the processes defined in the Engagement phase.

Set them up for success by:

  • Placing them in well-defined territories. Create balanced territories by placing the right reps in the right places.
  • Assigning them the right quota. Translate the corporate revenue goal into sales quotas. Make sure these quotas reflect the potential of each territory.
  • Incenting them with a compensation package that drives desired behaviors. This comp plan should stay within the corporate budget. But it should also attract, retain and motivate top talent.

Your talent program is crucial in this phase. To execute your strategy, you must source, hire, on-board, coach, train and develop talent.

4. Execution:

In the Execution phase, you begin doing the work. Here you focus on sales enablement and pipeline/forecast management.

First, determine how you will drive adoption of new sales initiatives.

  • What content does the sales team need?
  • How do you communicate new sales enablement initiatives?
  • How do you package the material into a playbook? And how do you make sure it’s available when the sales team needs it?
  • What should your training program include to build the necessary sales skills? How do you reinforce that through coaching?
  • How do you measure the effectiveness of your enablement investments?

Focus on getting the right content to the right people at the right time. But stay agile and incorporate lessons from successes and failures along the way.

The second part of the Execution phase is analyzing the data.

The data requirements you determined in the Planning step should come alive through reporting. Forecasting issues can result in a loss of credibility. So think through your pipeline carefully.

  • What pipeline/forecast management process do you need to drive accuracy?
  • How should you train your team on this process?
  • How should you account for big deals in your forecast?

Conduct quarterly business reviews that help the sales team make the number.

5. Support

Supporting your sales team will enable them to be effective in perpetuity. It will also make the internal organization easier to do business with.

Remove non-selling responsibilities from the sales team. Streamline those responsibilities that can’t be delegated. You can accomplish this with three moves:

  1. Establish defined sales operations roles to increase sales efficiency. This includes process, technology, metrics and best practices.
  2. Find a sales support team to make the organization easy to interact with. They will represent Sales within the other corporate functional groups.
  3. Construct systems that automate the core business processes. This will remove administrative burden and increase the productivity of the sales organization.

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