The SCORE online workshop “Identifying Your Sales Strategy” details how to reach, talk and sell your business to customers. This webinar allows you to step back and analyze what works and what needs improvement.
First, focus on the basics and think about these factors:
- Product/service: What are you selling? What is its appeal? How will your clients benefit from your product/service?
- Who is your ideal client? What niches can you target? How are you trying to attract your customers?
- Staff: Who is your ideal salesperson? Do you have the person/people who fit the profile?
- Competition: Who is your competition? How does your business differ? How do they attract customers?
- Current sales strategy: What is your marketing budget? Is this enough? Are your sales growing?
Choose a Distribution Channel
One of the most important decisions that can determine success or failure is choosing your distribution channel--how to get your products or services to customers. Your decision will be influenced by your industry, business size, resources, target market and competitors’ methods. Two basic strategies are direct sales and indirect sales.
- Direct sales:
- Sell directly to customer and retain revenue from all sales
- Need to hire and train employees to handle all sales and marketing
- Well-suited for low priced goods
- If you have an online store, you can sell anytime, anywhere in the world. Start-up investment is fairly low compared to a physical store.
- Indirect sales:
- Sell through a third-party, like another retailer or distributer
- Effective for more expensive, high-tech products that need more customer support and if you have a high sales volume
- Don’t need a large staff trained on all products and support
Prepare a Sales Forecast
This is an estimate of your sales for the next fiscal year. You will look at past buying patterns, current sales efforts and customer indications of future purchases. A sales budget includes salaries and commissions, advertising and marketing expenses, administrative costs and is usually between 5 to 10% of total revenue. If you have a new company without any sales, base your estimates on market research.
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
Choose a Structure for Your Sales Team
Developing a sales team depends on your budget, business size, number of existing and new clients and your industry.
Consider these important questions to determine your selling approach:
- Will sales be conducted by current employees or contractors?
- Will all staffers be responsible for generating leads, 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 you actually need and can you afford them?