How to Develop a Sales Strategy

Instructor: Tara Schofield
Sales strategies can make the difference between having a dream that is never realized and reaching a goal. This lesson explains the importance and process of creating effective sales strategies.

What is a Sales Strategy?

A sales strategy is an action to support a company's sales goal. It helps identify what steps a company can take to meet a goal and support the objectives. Developing a sales strategy is the process of reviewing the goals, analyzing the steps that need to be taken to reach the goal, and creating actions that will support the sales goals.

Let's imagine you own a small company that manufactures and sells patterned paper for handmade cards and other paper crafts. As part of your role as owner, you are responsible for creating a sales strategy for your company to determine what your sales plans are, how you will meet the sales goals, and what steps you need to take to accomplish your plans.

Determine a Goal

Before strategies can be developed, the target or goal must be clear. For instance, a company may have a goal to sell $100,000 in products each month. While this may be a reasonable goal, it will just be a dream if strategies aren't implemented to support the achievement of the goal.

As part of your strategy development, you need to understand where your company is now. If your company is young or in a slowly growing industry, you will have lower goals than if your company is more established or in a rapidly growing market. Looking at historical data, coupled with plans to market and expand your business, you can determine a feasible sales goal.

Returning to the manufacturing example, let's review how the goals are determined. Although your company is only four years old, your industry is growing rapidly and there is a solid interest in patterned paper. Because your sales have consistently doubled every year over the past four years, you determine your goal for this year. You want to double your sales to $2 million from $1 million last year. This is a sizable jump, and you know you must have a solid plan in place to be able to meet this goal.

Creating Strategies to Meet the Goal

Once you know what the goal is, you can break the goal down into smaller, measurable steps. During this process, you can create a plan with action items to reach your smaller stages. The action items in your plan are the steps you will take that will ultimately lead you to achieving your objective.

Returning to the paper manufacturing example, you want to sell $2 million in products this year. You break down the goal to be around $170,000 monthly, or about $8500 each business day. To reach this level, you create a strategy to increase sales to current customers, create new paper lines that will attract more customers, and increase the number of new customers you have that are buying from you this year.

The three plans that you have created will help you meet the sales goal. You will create specific plans to reach the goals by implementing the three actions you have selected. This will help you focus your efforts and execute the strategies that will help you successfully reach your goal of $2 million in sales.

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