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sales strategy

Marketing Tactics Begin with Sales Strategy

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.

The Building Blocks of Sales Strategy

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:

  1. Who is your audience and what motivates them?
  2. What is your positioning, unique selling proposition, and point of difference?
  3. What is your business best at? Which of your products or services provide the best margins — with opportunities for growth and success?
  4. What is your current state? Where do you want to be in 1, 3, and 5 years?
  5. What are your company values? Know who you are and who you are not. Saying  “no” when something doesn’t fit your strategic plan is a key component of staying focused.
  6. How will you hold yourself and others accountable for the plan outcomes?
  7. How will you measure your success from beginning to end?

For any sales strategy to be effective, it must be specific, measurable, and deadline driven.

Creating your Custom Marketing Strategy

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]

Selling Gourmet Coffee: A Case Study

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.

Key Takeaways of Sales Strategy and Marketing Tactics

No marketing tactic is effective without a sound marketing strategy. Here are some takeaways to consider when creating your plan:

  1. Having a strong sales strategy helps you make decisions along your business path.
  2. No sales strategy can be successful with ineffectively executed marketing tactics. Execution presents the biggest hurdles to success. Keep it simple. Remain focused. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
  3. Executing marketing tactics without a sales strategy is like playing darts blindfolded. You might hit the board, but it’s easier to win when you can see where you are aiming.

[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.

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About Scott Steer

Scott Steer is a New York-based marketing strategy/engagement/activation consultant focused on optimizing omni-channel marketing. Share this page:

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