(This article was originally published on hubspot.com and was edited for content, length and style.)
A strong sales strategy creates the foundation for a cohesive and successful sales organization. Sales strategies and initiatives also align salespeople on shared goals and empower them to do their best work—keeping them happy and successful, too.
Here are ten best sales strategies that can help you generate more leads and close more deals.
1. Increase online sales through social media
Social media is one of the most popular ways that people consume information these days. That’s why nine out of 10 retail businesses are active on at least two social platforms. With the data on your side, increasing online sales through social media is attainable with some creative thinking and strategic planning.
Although it may be tempting to jump on the hottest social media trend or go where your competitors are, that probably won’t be your best choice. Time is of the essence and you’ll want to build your pipeline as efficiently as you can. So, be diligent about figuring out where your target customers are spending their time and meet them where they are most active.
Keep in mind that your tone and voice may need to adjust to the platform so you can connect with your audience. You’ll want your content to blend in naturally with the platform and not seem out of place.
2. Become a thought leader
Sharing your advice, tried-and-true best practices, and niche expertise are some of the most long-lasting ways to build your personal brand and lend more credibility to your organization. I’m sure we all can agree that nobody wants to feel like they’re being sold to. Instead, it’s better to help people by offering solutions to their problems.
Thought leaders do exactly this and it’s even been backed up by Edleman data. In its 2020 Thought Leadership Impact Study, 88% of respondents agreed that thought leadership is effective in enhancing their perspectives of a company.
So, what’s the catch?
Not all thought leadership content is created equal. Just as much as it can positively affect a company, poor thought leadership can be devastating to a company’s sales goals. A quarter of decision-makers who answered Edleman’s survey reported that thought leadership content contributed to their reasons for not doing business with an organization. Ouch!
Before you plan a spree of LinkedIn posts to drive leads, consider who your audience is, what they need to know and how your organization can help. And, it may not hurt to have a second set of eyes from your marketing, communication and PR departments review your plan first to make sure everything is on-brand (and trackable!)
3. Prioritize inbound sales calls as hot leads
There’s the age-old question, “should I discuss product pricing with a prospect on the first sales call?” The honest answer is: It depends. You and your sales team know your process front and back and if you’ve seen success with pitching with pricing first, last or somewhere in between, stick with what’s working for you.
In addition to that, your team should always prioritize those prospects who call into sales first. These hot leads are definitely interested in what you have to sell and want to know enough information about how it’ll benefit them before they make a decision. By prioritizing talking to these prospects as soon as they call or send an email, you’re putting your best foot forward and showing them that you’re helpful, solutions-oriented and considerate of their time. If it means closing the deal on the first call, there’s no harm in it so long as the customer has the information they need to make an informed decision.
4. Properly research and qualify prospects
Even the strongest sales strategy can’t compensate for targeting the wrong customers. To ensure your team is selling to the right type of customer, encourage them to research and qualify prospects before attempting to discuss your product. They’ll find that more work on the front end can lead to smoother closing conversations later on.
Outline the criteria a prospect should meet to qualify them as a high-probability potential customer. This should be based on a prospect’s engagement history and demographics.
5. Don’t shy from cold calling
In sales, cold calling is unavoidable. But it doesn’t have to be miserable. There are a number of cold calling techniques that really work, including our bulletproof cold calling template. Have your sales team practice cold calls on one another before making actual calls; it’ll boost their confidence and get them comfortable with the script.
6. Offer a demonstration of the product
Pitching can be the make-or-break moment in a sales strategy. The sales pitch has to be a powerful, compelling presentation, but it also can’t come on too strong lest you’ll scare away the prospect.
Study the elements of a successful sales pitch and demonstrate to prospects how they’ll benefit from making the purchase. Have your team practice amongst themselves, too. Better yet, test your presentations on a few loyal customers and gather their feedback.
7. Provide a personalized, clear end result
When customers come to your business, they aren’t necessarily looking for a product or service, they’re looking for their desired end result. These customers want to purchase a means to improve their own operation, or simply improve their strategies with the help of your offering.
After you explain your product or service offering, you have to personalize the benefits to each client in a way that’s valuable to them. If you’re selling customer service software to a small business that has no experience with one, it’s your job to educate them on its use in the setting of a small business, not to manage hundreds of employees in larger ones. By doing so they will have an easier time seeing how they can use it and spend less time debating what they’ll use it for.
By painting a clear picture of the end result, your customer will be able to see the value of the purchase and feel more inclined to accept the offer.
8. Be willing to adapt your offering
In sales conversations, you should expect to come across clients with unique demands. It’s only natural when working with companies of different structures and needs. Instead of saying “you won’t” or “you can’t”—make sure your sales strategy is adaptable to accommodate the customer’s desire.
9. Close deals with confidence
How you close a sale is just as important as how you start the conversation. Encourage clear, concise and firm closing techniques to ensure your sales team sets the right expectations and delivers on their promises.
Keeping a list of proven, go-to closing techniques will help salespeople routinely win deals. Such techniques can include the now or never close, “If you commit now, I can get you a 20% discount,” or the question close, “In your opinion, does what I am offering to solve your problem?”
10. Nurture existing accounts for future selling opportunities
Once a deal is done, there’s no need for a sales strategy…right? Wrong. Account management is an incredibly important part of the sales process, encouraging loyal, happy customers and leveraging cross-selling and upselling opportunities.
After your sales team sees success with the sales strategy, go the extra mile and form a partnership between your sales team and customer service/success teams. By ensuring customers’ continued satisfaction with your product or service, they will be more inclined to do business with your company again and even advocate for it.