What’s the difference between a sales strategy and a sales tactic? The difference is the sales strategy is your plan to acquire the business and the sales tactics are the methods you will use to implement the plan.
Sales tactics include such things as how to open a call, how to handle objections, and how to gain agreement. The sales skills needed to implement these tactics need to be continually honed and developed.
The sales strategy involves determining what approach you are taking to the sale. This would include such things as: taking the quality approach or the low price approach, consultative selling, your unique selling proposition, and determining your competitive advantage.
To be successful and win the sale game you need to have a sound strategy and effective tactics. One without the other will not allow you to consistently sell a high volume of business and high margin business.
Because the sales strategy comes before the sales tactics, let’s look at some of the key pieces of a sound sales strategy.
The first step in developing your sales strategy is to conduct pre-sale research. The pre-sale research gives you the information you need to formulate your plan.
What you are looking for in pre-sale research is information about your prospect’s industry. Who are the major players in the industry? What challenges does the industry face?
Then you want to find information about the company. How long in business? Who are the members of the executive team? How do they create value in the marketplace when they sell their products or services? What is their current situation regarding the products and services you offer?
In the pre-sale research you want to uncover as much information about your prospect as possible.
It is a proven fact that decision makers are “turned off” by sales people that ask them questions that they should already know the answer to. The decision maker sees this as a waste of time and lack of quality on the sales person’s part. Do good pre-sale research and you will set yourself apart from a lot of sales people out there.
Deciding on a sales strategy will depend a lot on what you discover in your pre-sale research. In determining your sales strategy you want to take into consideration such things as: Is your prospect a value purchase or are they a price purchaser? How many people will be involved in the sales process? Who will be your competition on the sale?
Your sales plan will include:
Pricing strategy –
Develop your pricing strategy based on your anticipation of your prospect perceiving the value for your product or service. Their perception could be shaped by what they are currently doing, competition, or the philosophy of the company. Your pricing strategy is not the price you plan to charge, but how you are going to position your pricing.
Buying influence strategy –
Your pre-sale research should give you an indication of who will be involved in the buying decision. Your strategy should be to make sure you take into consideration all of the buying influencers needs and wants. In addition, you want to identify who will be willing to assist you (your coach) in working with the other buying influencers to help you get the business.
Resource strategy –
How much/many resources will it take to get the business. Resources can be items and tools such as: data, reports, demonstrations, site visits, entertainment, etc that will be needed to acquire the sale. Knowing the amount of resources helps you to gauge the cost of getting the sale.
Relationship strategy –
What relationships inside and outside your company could you leverage to advance the sale. Customer testimonials from current clients can be utilized to create value. Who do you know that knows your prospect (whether a current client or not) that could endorse you. Part of your relationship strategy is to leverage the people in your company. Relationships in your company that could move a sale forward could include the owner or president, support staff, etc.
Developing a sales strategy for each sales campaign is essential to keep you on track to acquire the sale. By having a sound plan you can always see where you are and where you need to make adjustments in you tactics.
Of course there will be times when you need to change your sales plan altogether to get a sale. That’s OK! What is not OK is not having a good plan to start with.