Do I really need to adjust my sales strategy?

Blog, Thursday 29 December 2016

If you realise the tar­get­ed increase in turnover annu­al­ly, and you’re sure you’re cap­i­tal­is­ing on the full poten­tial of your clients and staff, the answer is: NO.

The answer is YES if you’ve not­ed, for exam­ple, that is get­ting more dif­fi­cult to meet the tar­gets for turnover, or that the competition’s gain­ing strength.

Many organ­i­sa­tions don’t search for a solu­tion in the adjust­ment of their sales strat­e­gy, but main­ly con­sid­er the qual­i­ty of their sales team. The mea­sures that are tak­en in response are fir­ing non-per­form­ing sales­peo­ple and hir­ing oth­ers that seem bet­ter. But besides the fact that this recruit­ment process is cost­ly (head hunters, inter­nal train­ing and costs), there is no guar­an­tee that new sales­peo­ple will meet their tar­gets. What alter­na­tives do you have? 

Let’s take a look at the other signals that might be a reason to reconsider your sales strategy.

  • The go-to-market approach yields less results.
  • The cost per assignment shows an increase.
  • Your propositions catch on less or not at all.
  • Sales tracks are getting longer and longer.
  • The competition is growing faster than you are.
  • Some services/products sell better and more easily than others.
  • In Groningen sales are better than in Den Bosch.
  • The assignment-value is diminishing.
  • Your clients are purchasing in different ways.
  • You’re missing out on many contracts.
  • You have new products and/or services available for sale.
  • It’s getting more difficult to arrange appointments with prospects.
  • Your organisation is transforming from product sales towards more services/consultancy sales.
  • Many of your current contacts are changing jobs.

If one of the signals above sounds familiar, it would be worthwhile to reconsider the sales strategy. And it would be wise to take certain aspects into consideration.

  1. Distinguish between the sales strategy and the implementation of the strategy. After all, your staff may be competent, or even extremely competent, but if the strategy or its assurance are not up to par, all those competences are insufficiently put to use. It’s hardly useful to send your commercially excellent staff to sit down with potential clients you could have known weren’t exactly your ideal customer. That’s a waste of all the talent and time invested.
  2. Previous results are no guarantee for the future. In a world that is constantly changing faster, relying on past success is a liability. So try to think less from the inside out, and more from the outside in. What is happening around us? What are the real drivers of our (future) clients, and how can we anticipate them, and with what propositions (the value of your products/services as seen through the eyes of your client)? Harvard Business Review conducted a survey this year among 456 organisations on the reasons behind their sales success. An important conclusion is that the difference between averagely successful organisations and very successful organisations mainly lies in establishing the right target groups in advance. Invest your time in taking aim, not in taking all the shots you can.
  3. A sales strategy is a collection of actions and policy targets. Analyse and evaluate each component and be critical. Constantly ask yourself: ‘’Am I doing the right things?’’, and then ‘’am I doing things right?’’.
  4. Drawing up sales plans is not that complicated. Charged with a healthy dose of ambition you put your sales plan together in no time. Making sure the plan will yield the desired results is a lot more difficult. The definition and assurance of concrete actions over time are an important condition for a solid sales plan. Compose your plan in a way that everybody understands and will be aware of what is expected from them. This will increase the likelihood of success enormously.
  5. A familiar phenomenon is tunnel vision. We can relate to it and it is often inevitable. It’s difficult to look at your own sales strategy and -plans objectively. Why not let an expert from a different sector than yours have a look at your (new) sales strategy. It will lead to surprising new insights and success.

So sales strategies are important. A valid strategy paints a clear picture of where the organisation wants to go, and of the ways results will have to be achieved. Good adjustments are also important. In these fast-changing times, sales strategies must be modified more and more often in order to be, and remain, successful.

Would you like to toss some ideas around on the subject some time, and are you curious about the way we assisted other organisations with their successful sales strategies? Contact us.

Coen Kijk in de Vegt

B2B Telemarketing is dead
Sun Tzu was one of the world’s most important, visionary warlords.

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