In today’s economy, big and small businesses are seeking every opportunity to win sales through competitive advantages. Smart owners of the small business know a sales strategy can create a competitive advantage.
Selling consists of two main functions: tactics and strategy.
Sales strategy is the planning of sales activities: methods of reaching clients, competitive differences and resources available.
Tactics involve the day-to-day selling: prospecting, sales process and follow-up.
The tactics of selling are very important but equally vital is the strategy of sales. The advantages are too compelling to ignore.
Some of the competitive advantages of strategic sales planning include:
- Increased closing ratio by knowing clients hot buttons
- Improved client loyalty by understanding needs
- Shorten the sales cycle with outside recommendations
- Outsell competitors by offering the best solution
The insight gained for a competitive advantage comes from the marketplace, not from your mind. The approaches to use are three.
Look at your client and the outside influences on their business.
Approach these three tiers to understand your customer:
Association: What association does your target customer belong to? Contact the membership and establish a relationship not for selling but to understand their member’s needs.
Suppliers: Identify non-competitive suppliers who sell to your customer. Learn their challenges and look for partner solutions.
Customer: Work directly with your customer and ask them what their needs are and if your business may offer a possible solution.