|As consumer behavior continues to evolve, so does the need for organizations to reexamine and evaluate their approach to sales. Sales strategies are, in essence, plans that position a company’s brand or products in ways that help them gain an advantage over the competition. They should work to assist the sales team to better target customers and communicate with them in relevant and meaningful ways.If you’re rethinking your company’s sales strategies, it’s important to consider all aspects of today’s consumer, including what they expect from a salesperson, how they shop and the information they use to gather data to make final purchasing decisions. For some helpful sales strategy tips that can help your organization reach customers, improve sales and increase profits, keep reading.|
Eight ways to modernize your sales strategies
An effective approach to sales takes into account changing technology, communication channels and customer preferences. Here are eight tips to help bring your sales strategy to the next level.
- Think like a consumer: In order to effectively reach customers today, you need to think like one. A modern consumer does their homework, they are well informed and they are the ones driving the sale. They expect to have information readily available to them to guide purchasing decisions—think customer reviews, real time access to information about products and services, and easy online transactions.
- Balance virtual and in-person connections: Some will say there is no substitute for face-to-face sales meetings because they foster connections and build relationships that don’t always occur with virtual meetings. However, more and more customers are becoming increasingly comfortable with virtual means of connecting and are even demanding it, due to the flexibility and convenience it affords them. Companies who are able to strike a balance between the two are more likely to reach customers when and where they’re looking to buy. Consider sending meeting materials ahead of time, either in a presentation folder or on a USB, dependent on your customers’ preferences.
- Identify consumer preferences: One size does not fit all when it comes to marketing to customers. Each organization will have varied levels of success with different types of marketing materials. Whether your company uses catalogs, direct mail, email marketing or a website to reach customers, find out what your customers want to see and when—and adjust accordingly.
- School your sales team: Today’s consumer expects a certain level of expertise from a sales rep. It is important that salespeople are able to help consumers make better purchasing decisions; customers will not settle for simply being sold. A sales force that consists of technical experts will better position your company as an expert source for providing the immediate response expected from today’s modern consumer.
- Use predictive analytics: Using data, rather than gut intuition, to generate sales can lead to better, more qualified buyers entering your sales pipeline. Training your sales people to collect data on consumer preferences via customer feedback can be a great start to implementing predictive models designed to upsell current customers and increase sales. Encourage customers to provide feedback after an online purchase, via polls or surveys and by simply asking. And make sure to thank your customers for their feedback with a small token of appreciation, such as a stylus pen or cell phone wallet.
- Adopt social selling: Social media can be a great way to interact with both existing customers and potential ones. Social media outlets such as Twitter®, Facebook®, LinkedIn® and Pinterest® can provide great opportunities to utilize connections for relationship building and to gain valuable insight into the behavior of targeted consumers.
- Utilize inbound marketing: Inbound marketing uses valuable company content such as blogs, podcasts, videos, e-books, e-newsletters, white papers and social media marketing to gain the attention of sales leads. It can be highly effective, especially when sales and marketing work together to attract prospects and then guide them through the sales pipeline. Encourage potential clients to sign up to receive your content by holding periodic drawings for gifts, such as tablet cases or earbuds.
- Go from cold to warm calling: While some believe that cold calling is a thing of the past, others swear by it. Either way, using tools such as the Web and social media to learn as much as possible about prospects before contacting them can help warm up the coldest of calls. If you think you have a good lead on your hands, it may be helpful to introduce yourself ahead of time by sending an introductory letter and product catalog in the mail. Include your business card clipped with a bookmark pen and let your prospect know approximately when you plan on calling. When you do connect, be sure to focus on how your product or service can solve a problem, not on the sale.
Revamping your sales strategy allows your company to better target the customers of today. Striking a balance between traditional sales approaches and modern sales strategies can be a great way to reach your customers when and where they’re ready to buy. For more information on developing sales strategies that work, check out our Blue Papers®.
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Klobucher, Derek. “What B2C Can Teach B2B About E-Commerce.” SAP Community Network. N.p., 10 Sept. 2013. Web. Retrieved 28 Oct. 2013.