Entrepreneurs must learn to tackle many tactics when marketing their businesses, including website design, social media, and other offline and online marketing tactics. But the foundation for building all those elements and tactics is a sales strategy. Your marketing and sales strategy is the plan to drive your business growth — the cement that holds those elements and tactics together.
Strategy is not only planning what you are going to do, it’s also knowing what you are not going to do. Most entrepreneurs do not have the time, money, focus, or other resources to do everything. The Fortune 500 carefully chooses what goes to market and the best ways to accomplish that. Entrepreneurs need to be even more thoughtful about the process.
Here are 7 things you should consider when creating your sales strategy:
For any sales strategy to be effective, it must be specific, measurable, and deadline driven.
Once you understand your business’s unique building blocks, create your strategic plan. There is no such thing as an off-the-shelf or one-size-fits-all plan. Customize each strategy to your specific business. Consider your business goals, target audience, company values, and available resources.
If, like most small to medium companies, you don’t have a person dedicated to strategy, you may be thinking, “This is great, but how and where do I start?”
Market data collection and review is a classic place to start. Use this data to create your “SWOT Analysis,” a.k.a. the business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Then use the results of your SWOT analysis to develop goals for your business. Don’t try this alone or in a vacuum. Engage others for diverse and outside perspectives. Think about consulting buyers, customers, people who decided not to buy from you, or other departments within your business.
[Editors’ Note: If you are planning to work with a marketing team, you may want to read 6 Tips for Building a Better Marketing Team]
Take my company’s gourmet coffee client as an example. We finished our market research with a good understanding of the current coffee market and where it was headed. We had a handle on our strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities.
In this case, the market breaks down into two main groups: coffee made at home or coffee made in a shop. We chose to target home coffee brewing, which has several subcategories.
Why we chose this market is just as important as how we chose this market. We chose the home brewers’ market because the home coffee-brewing consumer is easier to reach. The home brewing segment has better margins and is a much less complicated sale. The “brew-it-for-me” market requires working with restaurants and coffee shops. Costs of providing equipment and maintenance result in a lower margin. Strategically determining that we didn’t want those complications became just as important as determining our actual strategic focus — the home coffee brewing market.
No marketing tactic is effective without a sound marketing strategy. Here are some takeaways to consider when creating your plan:
[Editors’ Note: To learn more about this and related topics, you may want to attend the following on-demand webinars (which you can listen to at your leisure and each includes a comprehensive customer PowerPoint about the topic):
This is an updated version of an article originally published on July 30, 2019. It was updated by Maryan Pelland]
©2022. DailyDACTM, LLC d/b/a/ Financial PoiseTM. This article is subject to the disclaimers found here.
Scott Steer is a New York-based marketing strategy/engagement/activation consultant focused on optimizing omni-channel marketing.
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