COVID-19 has had a huge effect on the economy, with several companies permanently changing the way they operate. Salespeople have been particularly impacted, with many struggling to close new deals and meet their sales goals during the pandemic. If, like them, your business development has stalled during COVID-19, then it could be your sales strategy that’s holding you back.
Building an effective sales strategy is about more than just generating leads—you need to find the right opportunities for your business, and approach them at the right time. The need for more data-driven insights is growing, but data is not all on you way to success.
So what steps can you take to be sure that your business hits the ground again in 2021? I have created some ideas.
Find and target the people you can help the most
2020 has been a difficult year, and while 2021 should see a big improvement, people will still need help—finding out who your product helps the most is key. Having built a picture of your ideal customer and buyer personas through internal analysis on your CRM, you then need to identify new leads quickly, only targeting the businesses that are most likely to convert.
Once you’ve identified and qualified your leads, it’s important that you then take the time to prepare a well-researched email or prepared points of conversation for your sales calls. Your prospects will only spend time on you if you’ve spent time on them, so be highly personalised in your approach. Make sure that you understand their demand and needs, and figure out exactly how your product can help them. And take pride in your product
In creating and executing a sales strategy, the best and first step to consider is to analyze and weigh all trends in all aspects before coming out with a final sales strategy. Take a detour on all the indicating and leading factors you considered in 2020 and the previous year, and see how it has directly and indirectly impacted your growth and performance as a company and as a team.
Never disregard how your competitors performed because this is pivotal in terms of knowing what to improve, develop, or retain in your product or service.
The next step is to study the indicating factor of your sales. What do you think converted a lead? Is this a one-time big-time event? How many of these sales can be repeated or manually converted? Did your salesperson become a big factor? Identify your timeline, and learn who your decision-makers are. This trend will help you understand the situation you are in, and where your company was sitting, during the recession, and the like.
Create buyer personas
My biggest tip for creating a sales strategy is to borrow Nike’s slogan “Just do it”. I see too many entrepreneurs sit on their hands because they’re afraid to make mistakes, but the cost of doing nothing is almost always higher than the cost of being wrong.
Create the best sales strategy you can, then measure results and make improvements as you go along. When you realize you’re not sure of something, make your best guess and keep moving forward. You can learn along the way, and it’s better to make mistakes than to sit idly by and wait for sales to come in on their own.
As far as execution, I recommend that you always remember who you’re selling to. This allows you to focus on the problems you solve instead of the features of your product. Whether your sales strategy involves emails, phone calls, or something else, focus on the prospect and not your own product. Most people don’t care about the specific features of a product, only how the product will benefit them and help them reach their goals. When you have solid buyer personas, it will become infinitely easier to address their pain points and add value.
Have a good marketing strategy
A good sales strategy starts with a good marketing strategy. I never want to sell to cold leads so I make sure to plan marketing content that attracts new leads, qualifies them, and warms them up by increasing know like and trust factor before they ever get on a sales call.
If we do our marketing job well, then I don’t have to ‘sell’, I just have to show up and make sure that the potential client is a good fit and they have a problem we can help them solve and share with them how we do that.
For 2021, we are actually creating even tighter filters and much higher focus on storytelling. That means we’re thinking about the client and how they can and will identify themselves, with the product and company behind.
Digitize your process!
Investing in software and hardware can be quite the headache, but the end result can also save the day. If you automate your sales processes, it creates more time to focus on what’s important: building a relationship with the customer.
Furthermore, without a webcam for online meetings, you shouldn’t start your sales approach.
Ask your customers how the pandemic has affected them
The pandemic has obviously affected every industry in a variety of different ways. So, ask your customer prober questions about how the pandemic has affected their specific business. You can use this information to craft custom-tailored solutions to their specific challenges.
For example, if your business manages a clothing store’s website and social media, you’ll need to help expand its e-commerce options, as well as their search and social ads. People are online more than ever now. Sales organizations need to be experts in helping their clients leverage online outreach to support their customers, gain referrals, and, ultimately, increase revenue in an unprecedented time.