Identify your sales strategy

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Intro

A Plan

  1. Reach
  2. Talk
  3. Sell

Critical to your company’s success.

  • How do I define my business?
  • How is my company different from the competition?
  • How do clients benefit from my product/service offering?
  • Who are my ideal clients – and what am I currently doing attract them? What new things can I do to entice them?
  • Are my sales currently growing at a desirable rate?
  • What is my idea of ideal salespeople? Do I currently have enough people who fit that profile on my staff? If not, what can I do to attract them?
  • What is my current marketing budget? Is is adequate to achieve my sales goals?
  • Do I have an effective referral program in place?
  • Is my product/service best suited for selling directly or indirectly to the end customer? (Direct sales are made when you sell right to the end user. Indirect sales utilize a middleman or reseller.)
  • What, if any, specific niches will I target? How will I find them and reach them within my geographic locations?
Outline:
  1. Establishing Your Sales Strategy
  2. Questions To Ask Yourself
  3. Prepare a Sales Forecast
  4. Establish a Sales Budget
  5. Contingency Plan: The Solo Approach
  6. Your Sales Presentation Skills
  7. Resources

Establishing Your Sales Strategy

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Establishing your sales strategy
1. Choose a distribution channel
- The format for how your products and services will be presented to the end customer
… the right amount of product at the right time to the right people

1. Choose a distribution channel
- The format for how your products and services will be presented to the end customer
- will be influenced by your industry, the size of your business, its level of internal resources, the demographic profile of your target market and the methods being used by your competitors.
- You can utilize more than one channel at the same time, and it may be in your best interest to do so.

Establishing your sales strategy
1. Choose a distribution channel
- choose a term
A. direct sales
B. Indirect sales
Establishing your sales strategy
Direct sales
Using direct distribution, you sell your products and services directly to the end customer. By bypassing any of the “middlemen” in the indirect methods, you maintain control over the distribution process and retain all of the revenue from your sales. The downside is that you will need to hire, train and maintain a staff that will handle all of the sales and marketing activities, and this will take time away from your other business responsibilities – namely making the products or providing the services you are selling

Generally speaking, direct distribution is well suited for:
Establishing you sales strategy
Indirect sales
On the other hand, indirect distribution is typically more appropriate for:
• Higher-ticket products and services sold in more dispersed geographic areas
• “high-maintenance” items that require substantial training/support
• Companies that aren’t staffed or otherwise equipped to handle the sales and marketing process themselves

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Questions To Ask Yourself

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What are my competitors doing and how successful are their methods?
• Networking
• “shopping: the competitors
• Industry and trade research
• Professional associations
• Local government offices
What are my competitors doing and how successful are their methods?
Questions to ask yourself:
1. How many products and services am I currently offering?
2. is my sales volume high or low, relatively speaking?
3. Are my offerings high- or low-tech? Are they support-intensive or can they stand alone?
What are my competitors doing and how successful are their methods?
4. Do I plan to distribute locally, regionally or nationally? Do my chosen distribution channels mesh with those plans?
5. What are the barriers to entry fro the distribution channels I’m considering? Can they be overcome?
6. How risky are the potential channels? Can I absorb the risk – and will the return be worthwhile?
What are my competitors doing and how successful are their methods?
7. how much will it cost me to utilize the channels I’m considering? Can I absorb these costs and still maintain an acceptable level of profit?
Note: if you own a very small or new business and cannot determine the best route to take, sometimes the most feasible solution is to follow the path of least resistance to the most inexpensive distribution channel with the fewest barriers to entry, and then add other methods nice you have gained some experience and profits.

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Prepare a Sales Forecast

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Prepare a sales forecast
Based on historical data provided by the sales team, including:
- past buying patterns
- current sales efforts
- customers future buying trends/habits
The data for you past performance is then projected forward for the coming fiscal year after being updated for any change in the expected number of customers, variations in their spending habits and any increase/decrease in your selling price.
The equation for computing a sales forecast is as follows:
Sales forecast = total number of customers x frequency of purchases (per year) x $ amount per purchase
To illustrate, let’s say that a fictious company called Sierra Snacks is conducting a sales forecast for the coming fiscal year. The company owner knows that he had 500 customers last year and is expecting a 10% increase in new accounts this year (for a total of 550) Customers order monthly, and sierra’s owner predicts average monthly sales of $200 (a 15% increase over last year’s figures, due to national advertising and strong word-of-mouth promotions). The sales forecast for sierra snacks would look like this:
550 x 12 x $200 = $1,320,000
Note: if yours is a new company with no past sales history, you can use the data from your closet competitors to estimate the forecast, taking into consideration any differences (pricing, sales capacity, etc.). if you use third-party distributors for your sales, they can assist you with supply the information for making such projects.

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Establish a Sales Budget

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Establish a sales budget
How much can we spend to make a sale happen?
The portion of your total sales revenue that you can put towards bankrolling the sales process:
- salaries and commissions
- advertising and marketing expenses
- administrative expenses
Most companies set their sales budgets at 5 percent and 10 percent of total revenue

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Contingency Plan: The Solo Approach

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Contingency Plan: The Solo Approach
- Will sales be conducted by our current in-house employees, or will I contract an outside firm to handle the sales prcess? Believe it or not, sometimes it is less expensive to hire an outside agency because you don’t have to pay benefits and other related overhead of having an in-house staff.
- Will all staffers be responsible for generating leads, and selling, closing and servicing all customers? Or will some team members establish leads and make appointments, while others make sales, and a third group services their ongoing needs? - How many salespeople do I actually need- and how many can I afford?

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Your Sales Presentation Skills

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Your sales presentation skills
Hone your sales presentation skills
Depending on the nature of your business and the price of its offerings, as well as the level of your customer’s expectations, you sales presentations can run from the very casual lunch meeting to the very formal technology-oriented boardroom conference. If you dall into the latter category, the good news is that presentation technology has come a long way from the days of overhead transparencies and wax pencils. There is now a vast array of software and hardware- including lightweight laptops and portable projectors – that can make the audio and visual aspects of your presentations easy for you to excute and quite impressive for your prospective customers to view.
Graphical aspects aside, there are several important bits of advice to keep in mind when preparing to make your pitch:
- Be as prepared as possible- rehearse aloud your “spot” for the presentation. Make the appropriate notes you need to remind you of key points, but don’t read directly from written statements.
- Over pack- bring an extra supply of any handouts or business cards in case more people sit in on the meeting than expected
- Keep your objective in mind- as you go through the ebbs and flows of your meeting, continue to remind yourself of the point of your meeting and the path to the state.
- Listen, listen, listen – your prospects will tell you a great deal about their mindset and concerns by the tone and content of their questions. Try to discern the emotions behind their questions and show how your company can solve their problems.
- Try to relax – you will be more believable and trustworthy to your audience if you seem like a “real person.” Anxiety can cause you to tense up, seeming stiff or unfriendly. Don’t relax so much, however, that you lose your attention to good posture and proper etiquette.

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Copyright © 2015, Virtual Advisor, Inc.

Resources

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Books

Larraine D. Segil, "Intelligent Business Alliances: How To Profit Using Today's Most Strategic Tool" (Times Books, 1996)

Robert P. Lynch, "Business Alliances Guide: The Hidden Competitive Weapon" (John Wiley & Sons, 1993)

Juli Betwee, David Meuel, William Berquist and David Memel, "Building Strategic Relationships" (Jossey-Bass, 1995)

Yves Doz and Gary Hamel, "Alliance Advantage" (Harvard Business School Press, 1998)

Charles Poirier and William Houser,"Business Partnering For Continuos Improvement," (Berrett-Koeler, 1994)

John K. Conlon and Melissa Giovagnoli, "The Power Of Two" (Jossey-Bass 1998)

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Copyright © 2015 Virtual Advisor, Inc.