Sales Strategy: How to build a plan? 3 Examples of successful sales strategy
As you can see, having the right strategies in your business can help you run things more smoothly, which has been proven to work for many eCommerce companies in the past and will continue to work foreseeably in the future. With the right plan for selling products and services and increasing profits, it will make or break your startup business.
What is a good strategy? Most advisors tell us to have a documented plan, a brief and solid process, as well as to have a staff who knows solution inside and out. On the other hand, when most sales strategies are too internally focused, they might complete their tasks and goals in documenting internal procedures, but they might lack the sight of the messages and skills while communicating value to your customers.
So, when it comes to this part, things are getting more complicated, right? So, in this article today, I will carefully lead you to step back and clarify what it needs to create a successful sales strategy by providing you the definitions, the methods as well as components of a good sales strategy plan that actually works for your eCommerce business.
Table of contents
- What is a sales strategy?
- Types of sales strategies
- How to build a sales strategy plan
- Components of a good sales strategy plan
- Proven sales strategy for eCommerce business
- Best examples of successful sales strategy
What is a sales strategy?
A sales strategy is a documented plan, which is especially for positioning and selling your product or service for those qualified buyers via a different and unique method from your competitors. With a sales strategy, you will be able to offer clear objectives as well as guidance to your sales organization. Subsequently, they will be able to typically embed some key information including growth goals, KPIs, buyer personas, sales processes, team structure, competitive analysis, product positioning, and specific selling methodologies as well.
In a Sale strategy, most guidelines provided are useful for communicating purposes as well as storing your sales reps on the same page. Normally, most sales strategies often fall short as they are too focused on the internal workings of your organization. However, in order to be truly effective, then your organization’s sales strategy should concentrate on the customer conversations instead, because when you have these skillfully delivered conversations, then it will help you create a distinctive purchase experience as well as the value for your buyers, and help your company to be separated from the competition as well.
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Types of sales strategies
In general, there are two kinds of sales strategies, which are inbound and outbound.
Inbound sales strategy
This kind of strategy is included in the legacy system of most sales teams in the companies that base their sales strategy on the seller actions. The manually-entered data will be utilized by them in order to monitor the sales pipeline and coach their salespeople. As a result, they will be able to run their sales and marketing in an independent way, then create a disjointed experience for customers as well.
In the Inbound sales strategy, the customers will benefit in three-stage of purchasing process, including awareness, consideration, and decision. With the help of the Inbound sales teams, the customer will become aware of potential problems or chances for them. The teams figure out strategies to solve their problems, then they evaluate whether the problem can be fixed, and customers will then buy the solution.
Outbound sales strategy
This is considered as the modern methodology for sales teams in the companies that base their sales process on the buyer actions. Specifically, the seller and buyer data will be automatically captured so that they can manage the pipeline and coach salespeople. Also, the teams will be able to align sales and marketing, as well as creating a perfect experience for customers.
How to build a sales strategy plan
In order to build a good sales strategy plan, the sales team needs to outline its targets, its best practices, as well as the elements designed to support the team and bring consistency.
Components of a good sales strategy plan
So, below are the crucial components that a sales plan should have:
Specific and measurable goal
The first thing is the goal that is specific and measurable. There are many ways to determine a specific goal, you can split the larger goal into small ones, then gradually fulfill it. For example, you can set your goal like selling three times higher than the projected sales quota in Q4”.
The customer profile is what will help you engage a detailed profile of your target customer. In this section, you can add the company size, psychographics, as well as their purchasing process here. Then, you should have your product offering that can outline its benefits and features, and focus on what can solve the target customers’ main points.
Good sellers (Hiring, onboarding, and compensation)
You will need good sellers here for your sales strategy. The process includes hire them, go through procedures to effectively integrate them into your company, and attach compensation for them.
In order to do this, you should generate a list of criteria and attributes for the sales managers so that they can screen for the interviewing candidates, which is a crucial thing to do in recruiting and retaining top talent. Next, you should develop a training and onboarding program so that they start selling effectively and efficiently for your business. Also, remember to include the compensation and rewards plan so that your sellers will be motivated to continue performing.
There are some effective sales activities that you should focus on in your strategy:
- Prospect qualification: This is about outlining the criteria that a view should have so that they can qualify them as a high-probability potential customer. Mostly, this activity should be based on a prospect’s engagement history and demographics.
- Sales presentation: The presentation here should give an overall outline for the connect stage of each salesperson. For example, it can be a discovery call or a final sales pitch, you must determine them all. Also, the inbound sales teams had better run their leadership via a tailored message to the customer in a detailed context as well as viewpoint, not with a generic elevator pitch.
- Objections: The sales teams here should fully furnish the responses, resources, as well as educational material so that they can deal with any objections that a prospect might commonly address.
- Closing techniques: This is about having a list of proven and go-to closing techniques in order to help the sales man routinely gain deals. For example, some techniques can be the sentence that says, “If you commit now, I can get you a 15 percent off”, or the question close like “In your opinion, does what I am providing to solve your issue?”
- Timeline: Timeline is considered to be the typical timeline of your sales process from the first contact to the close one. In this section, the sales teams will be guided to understand the length of each stage in the sales process better.
Performance tracking is always the thing that you should do. In this method, you should set up the infrastructure and form a procedure for tracking performance on the individual, team, as well as the company levels for it. The measurement can be based on the form of quarterly KPIs, weekly dashboards, monthly reviews, or some combination of your business. You can also highlight the detailed metrics for your team to concentrate on by generating this section as well.
Proven sales strategy for eCommerce business
There are seven main sales strategies that have been proven I want to show you to use for your eCommerce store.
1. Use shipping/Free shipping
The high shipping cost is considered to be one of the most common reasons for visitors to leave their purchase, and abandon the cart. So, it is reasonable to provide your customers with the free shipping policy as well as clearly state that benefit on your site.
According to research, there is 39 percent of customers that will buy products to get free shipping. At the same time, there is 93 percent of them who are normally encouraged to purchase more products in case there is the free shipping offered. As a consequence, you will be able to enhance your conversions, also the size of your orders as well.
2. Build your brand awareness
It is also a great way to build your brand awareness via content marketing by creating online material to appeal to your target audience. You might not be able to sell products directly via this method. However, you can utilize this as a way to educate potential customers about your product and develop thought leadership as well as raise awareness about your brand.
3. Testing and testing for increasing conversion rate
This method testing is probably considered to be the easiest way for online marketers to optimize their business website for more conversions. With this testing methodology, you will be able to easily reduce the guesswork and take actions that cause results in the form of increased web ranking and conversion rates.
Also, you will be able to have real experience in trying and testing changes to your web pages against the current design. Then, you might have the solutions to change those that can demonstrate the best results for your business, then produce positive results after that. Just simply adjusting, this way can perhaps make a big difference in the effectiveness of your site and conversion rates as well.
4. Focus on sales activities
This focusing on growing sales and revenues is challenging, at the same time, effective for many small business owners and entrepreneurs. It will help you effectively focus on the activities that lead to new revenues in order to grow business and ultimately thrive as a company. When a staff focuses on his business’s sales activities only, it will allow an “amateur” to fulfill more than a professional salesperson.
5. Engage with customers on social media
Social media marketing is a very powerful tool, which can be connected to your content strategy. When you engage with customers on social media, then it will enable you to personally communicate with your industry, customers, and market as well. With social media, you can take advantage of it to create your business’s engagement and interaction, boost traffic to your website, and develop a bigger base of customers. There are some visual social networks like Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest, which are best for online shops that are selling products. Meanwhile, Facebook and Twitter own more than 75 percent of all internet users.
While using different social media platforms for different purposes, you can also generate a rich presence for the company as it can show and diversify your abilities, efforts. As a result, it will ultimately help you take care of your customers’ needs and gain trust from your audience as well because when you have daily communication with your customers, it will help every business to answer the buyer’s needs and provide a better user experience. Also, you can save an amount of money for advertising here as social media is the fastest and cheapest way of connecting with your customers.
In order to develop and maintain brand recognition and authority on social media, remember some basic rules below:
- Post regularly and consistently.
- Utilize some automated tool to keep your posts on track.
- Don’t forget to input images while posting, even on Twitter.
- Do not spam.
- Do not post only promotions on social media for promotions, be engage with your customers.
- Take advantage of analytics tools to track your audience’s engagement.
- Remember to test many available social media marketing strategies before choosing the right one.
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6. Provide excellent customer service
For someone who might not know, customer service is the assistance offered by a business and its employees to those who use or buy its products and services. It can be assisting customers with purchases or solving their problems online. When a store can improve its customer service skills, then it can help you to excel in many positions as well as grow your career. This would be especially effective in sales, customer service, consulting, retail, food and beverage, or advertising and marketing industries. When customer can receive excellent customer service from your business, it is more likely that you will have more return customers who are loyal to you and your organization.
7. Flash sales/Promotions
As you can see, flash sales and promotions are two of the most powerful marketing tools that enable you to bring your clients special offers on products or categories, also allow wholesalers to buy at special rates. What is more, flash sales can be an extremely effective method for quickly unloading excess inventory, turning a negative into a positive in a matter of hours. It is ideal to sell products on a consistent basis, then plan your inventory to perfectly match upcoming customer needs is nearly impossible. For example, when you have to sell items that are either out of season or have been difficult to sell. As a result, with flash sales, you will be able to lower the operating and inventory costs on the back end.
Best examples of successful sales strategy
Hubspot sales strategy
The HubSpot company was founded in 2006, which has grown to over 56500 customers from about 100 countries and over 510 million dollars in annual revenue. So powerful as it is, it has something really special in its sales strategy from the start.
1. Employ the right people based on repeatable evaluation criteria
There is a list of attributes that made a successful sales rep, then a repeatable process was established to evaluate the candidates while interviewing them based on some criteria below: - Work ethic - Coachability - Intelligence - Passion - Preparation and knowledge of HubSpot - Adaptability to change - Prior success - Organizational skills - Competitiveness - Brevity
2. Train the sales team by making them pretend to be customers
When the sales process was defined, then it is wise to outline the company’s unique value proposition, target customer, competition, as well as the most common objections, product features and benefits as well. After that, there will be a hands-on training program created so as to not only imitate the sales process for reps before they actually started selling. At the same time, they will be allowed to experience the company’s target customers’ pain points. A large part of the training program in Hubspot includes making reps that generate their own website and blog and then drive traffic to it. As a result, reps will be enabled to better consult potential customers in the future. Also, exams, certification programs, and presentations are utilized to measure each rep’s performance as well. When employees are finished being on-boarded, the Hubspot team will continue tracking their progress via the diverse stages of the team’s sales process.
The team will primarily look at some criteria like the leads created, leads worked, demos delivered, and leads won. After that, Hubspot will measure these criteria against each other so as to create ratios, like leads created to leads won, for example. Each stage will be tracked in the process. As a result, if there is a rep struggling on any particular metric, the team can dig deeper to understand why it happened.
3. Align sales and marketing
In Hubspot, the sales and marketing teams have a close connection while working together in a process to create stable leads every month. During this process, Marketing is the one who understands what exactly qualities that a sales lead needs to have before it’s handed over to sales, also the number of qualified leads that are needed to generate each month to reach the sales projections. At the same time, there is the Sales team that knows well the amount of time that they should wait before contacting a lead as well as the efforts that they should make to contact that lead.
Salesforce sales strategy
Salesforce has its value of almost over 125 billion dollars. Even more, Salesforce has reached 5 billion dollars in revenue faster than any other SaaS company in history so far.
1. Develop a rigorous sales boot camp
At Salesforce, the sales staff are enrolled in a very strict boot-camp curriculum for their onboarding training that might take like two to three months for enterprise sales reps. When the reps arrive, they will be given a bunches of homework assignments, which have the 20-hour video instructions about the software that they will work with. Also, these are the consistent exams that included testing their knowledge of said software as well.
Meanwhile, during this process, there will be badges like “Top-Gun” and “Rising Star” given to those who have top performance. While running their training, Salesforce will always remind the salespeople of the importance of telling personal stories to potential customers, also amongst each other as well. So, when they encounter prospects’ objections, the team will be armed with an arsenal of customer stories so that they can recite smoothly.
2. Generate a system for continuous improvement
Salesforce is full of NPS from customer feedback to employee feedback. They also do surveys for the sales reps after their training so that they can generate a system for the next improvement of their onboarding program. Also, there are some metrics utilized in order to support this system, especially in constantly tracking and measuring reps’ success, some criteria below are considered:
- Visibility: this is what will present the forecasted sales and actual sales together with the percent of quota attained
- Process effectiveness: this is what will show the win rate and percent of reps achieving quota
- Productivity: you can see the average length of the sales lifecycle here
- Lead management: this is the section that shows conversion rate, lead response time, and lead volume
3. Harness extensive data analytics and go-to sales enablement
Salesforce also generated unique sales intelligence to offer high standard information about the probability of leads becoming customers via data collecting from a slew of industries, companies, and cities in the past decade. The Sales collateral section here is also highly accessible with a central system available to all reps, which is designed to offer the ready-made customer success stories, onboarding plans, as well as other content to enhance the productivity.
Shopify sales strategy
The record of Shopify is also remarkable as it has reached 1 billion dollars in revenue faster than any other SaaS company. It currently reaches a valuation of over 20 billion dollars now. There are some features of its sales strategy that you should know:
1. Hire great people, great salespeople are not necessary
It is always crucial to hire great people in order to make a great sales strategy. There are a lot of sales managers who think that hiring sales superstars is enough, but Shopify sales teams look for great people and then train them well so that they can become great salespeople. Below are the six key personality traits for hiring salespeople that the team based on to assess: - Intelligence - Work ethic - History of success - Creativity - Entrepreneurship - Competitiveness
2. Consider sales as a science, not an art
As we can see, sales record success is now should be explained according to cold, hard data-points rather than mystical qualitative assessments. As a consequence, the Shopify sales team now chooses to track their average deal size, average sales cycle length, lead to deal conversion rate, calls per day per rep, and the number of deals in the pipeline. Then, each of these metrics, which were tracked over longer periods of time, will be notified to the companies so that they can know the situation of their sales process and the precise areas that they need to improve.
3. Build a smart, technological foundation
In the past, the sales reps would manually log phone calls and emails into the CRM, and it took them like five hours per week to do so. If the sales force is large, then it would be 130 wasted hours for a week. This method is considered to be the time and capital misusage, then the Shopify team was decided to adopt the free HubSpot CRM. After that, the sales reps will be able to get notifications when there are prospects open their emails, click links, or view document attachments. Consequently, they are able to access to about 19 million prospects. Also, the detailed information about the said prospects like estimated revenue, number of employees, or suggested email addresses, and so many more.
4. Eliminate unqualified leads to maintain a high-quality pipeline
About 80 percent of Threshold quality is utilized to filter out unqualified leads. If there is a qualified lead, then a rep must have a solid answer for four of the five questions below:
- Pain: Is the prospective customer going through a prominent business issue or challenge that makes them change something?
- Power: Is the prospective customer directly included in the decision-making process? If they are not, then who is?
- Money: Does the offering fall within their budget constraints?
- Process: What is their buying process?
- Timeline: What stage are they currently in the buyer’s journey? Will they buy within a reasonable time frame later on?
When going through all the sections above, I believe that you will not only see a way to get an increase in sales, conversions, revenue, and profit, but you also can build a reputable brand for your products and services as well. There is no best sales strategy here, but these have been proven to work by many eCommerce stores before you. If it works for your type of business, then double down on it. If it doesn’t, just try another.
Hopefully, after reading this Sales Strategy: How to build a plan? article, you will be able to eventually discover the most suitable eCommerce marketing strategies to work on your store. If there is any information that you need to explain more, don’t afraid to tell us, then we always willing to help you.