About 20% of new businesses fail within the first two years of launching and 45% during the first five years.
Tactics like creating high-quality goods, cutting costs, and better cash flow management can help improve your business’s survival chances. But the mother of all is to develop a small business sales strategy that’s resilient and helps you achieve your goals.
Before we get into the details of how you can develop one, let’s define it.
A sales strategy is a detailed plan that includes the decisions, actions, and goals that are intended to help boost your sales revenue.
It informs the sales team of how they should position your business and products to close new deals.
So, how do you develop a small business sales strategy that boosts your revenue consistently?
Let’s get into it.
5 Ways You Can Develop a Small Business Sales Strategy
I’ve listed the five major steps through which you can develop a small business sales strategy to drive your business forward.
1. Know Your Target Customer
Even the best products and services can’t make up for targeting the wrong people or failing to align the product offering with customers’ needs.
Without knowing your customer, you can’t figure out how to sell your products or services to them. You need to know their problems and the kind of solutions they’re looking for.
To understand who your target customer is, create a buyer persona. A buyer persona is a research-based customer profile that represents your ideal customer.
It shows their demographics and psychographics, such as their age, gender, goals, interests, and income level, among other things.
You can base your buyer persona on your most profitable clients. Or, if it’s a new business and you are yet to get customers, assess your products or services and determine who would be the right fit. You can even conduct consumer surveys to develop your buyer personas.
A buyer persona will help your sales team identify if a person qualifies as a potential customer before attempting to sell to them. As a result, you’ll only put your sales efforts into people who might convert.
2. Prioritize the Customers’ Journey Over Sales Process
Personalizing your customers’ journey over the sales process is critical if you want to develop a small business sales strategy that wins.
The sales process involves a sequence of steps that move a customer from a prospect to a returning customer and brand advocate.
A problem comes in when your sales team executes this series of steps on autopilot or using a one-size-fits-all approach. Such an approach is ineffective in achieving high levels of sales.
Instead, they should adjust the sales process to the unique problems of each buyer and how they make their purchasing decision.
And how should they do that?
Your sales team should focus on lead nurturing, which involves developing and maintaining relationships with customers at every stage of their buyers’ journey.
Personalizing the sales process and nurturing leads may take a lot of time and effort. For this reason, you need a committed sales team and a powerful lead management software that can help you stay on top of the nurturing process.
Here is what you need to do to ensure you have a capable sales team:
- Give your sales managers a list of attributes to use in screening, recruiting, and retaining top sales talent.
- Your training and onboarding program should prepare the team to start selling efficiently (paying attention to each customer’s unique needs).
- A compensation and rewards system that’ll motivate the sales team to perform their best is also important.
2. Refine Your Sales Pitch
When customers buy a product, they do it for the end result it provides.
With this in mind, develop a small business sales strategy that’s focused on speaking to your customers’ needs through a well-crafted value proposition.
A value proposition is the promise of value that you give your target customers.
Use your buyer persona to understand the problems your target customers are going through. Then, use this knowledge to create a killer value proposition that your sales team can use in their sales pitch.
Enrich your value proposition with testimonials, content marketing case studies, and data that provide real-world examples of how your product or services have helped other people.
However, a great value proposition is not enough to succeed in a sales pitch.
Your sales strategy must also address how the sales team can personalize the benefits of your product or service to each customer such that they’re able to see the value of the purchase. Show them a product demo video, for instance, that compels them to accept the offer.
Here’s a great example of a product demo video by Slack.
For customers who make special requests, don’t be afraid to accommodate their unique needs. They could turn out to be your most profitable and loyal customers or brand advocates.
4. Measure Performance
If you develop a small business sales strategy but fail to measure the results it delivers, it gets hard to refine it to improve its performance.
Measure monthly or quarterly KPIs using marketing tools, such as:
- Volume of trials
- Retention and churn rates
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
- Conversion rate
- Upsell and cross-sell rates
Measure performance at both the individual and team levels.
By finding and improving the weak points, you can develop a small business sales strategy that’s resilient and dramatically improve its performance.
5. Create a Customer Retention and Expansion Strategy
Sales teams tend to focus on customer acquisition and demand generation. As a result, they miss out on selling more to their existing customers who can help drive even greater revenues.
It’s thus important to develop a small business sales strategy that reinforces your position as the ideal solution for the needs of your existing customers to retain them.
And what should be the prime goal here?
You should find ways to increase your customers’ CLV (customer lifetime value), which is the worth of a customer during their entire relationship with your business.
A loyalty program, for instance, can boost your CLV and your sales team can nudge your existing customers to opt for it.
You can reward customers with free shipping, special offers and discounts, occasional double reward points, and more. So, it’s crucial to find lead gen platforms that offer the loyalty program add-on as well so that you can manage your loyalty programs well.
For instance, note how Sephora incentivizes its customers to remain loyal.
A loyalty program increases:
- How much your customers spend on your business
- How often they spend on your business
- Their CLV
Work on creating convenience for your customers and boosting customer satisfaction through:
- Excellent customer service
- Frequent communication on the customers’ preferred channels
- Fast shipping
- Free returns
- Mobile pick-up orders
Use customer data like customer service interactions, purchase histories, and data from your loyalty program to identify the needs of your customers, recommend more relevant products, and deliver better services.
Ensure that every interaction your customers have with your business deepens your relationship with them. It should lead them to reveal more information about themselves, which your sales team can use to drive sales upwards through upsells and cross-sells.
It’s Time to Develop a Robust Small Business Sales Strategy
The sales process shouldn’t take place on a trial-and-error basis, even as a small business. You can close more deals if you develop a small business sales strategy that’s tailored to your target customers.
To start with, know who you’re targeting and what their needs are, then create a sales pitch that shows your product or service as the solution to their problems. And don’t forget to measure the performance of your small business sales strategy to improve it.