We can unequivocally say that selling is an art. And like any form of art, it can be taught, and expertise can be polished over time.
For many businesses, their end goal is to ultimately drive revenue and support a healthy cash flow. You already know that closing a sale is crucial to the growth and development of your business.
Many other small business owners, especially those with not much experience, wonder if there is something specific, they can do to increase their close rate. The good news is, there is.
What is a Sales Strategy?
An increase in sales doesn’t just happen. You can’t just hope that someone will stumble upon your product and make a purchase. Closing a sale is the result of thoughtful sales strategies that are planned and executed.
A sales strategy is a documented plan for positioning and selling a product or service to qualified prospects in a way that differentiates your solution from that of your competitors.
They are meant to provide clear guidance and objectives to your sales team. They typical contain key information pertaining to your goals for growth, KPIs, sales processes, buyer personas, your team structure, competitive analysis, product positioning, and all your specific selling methodologies.
The main goal of having a sales strategy is to help you in communicating goals and keeping your team on the same page.
If you can improve every step of your sales process by even just a little, you will be able to increase your sales by a lot. Allow us to elucidate.
In the olden days, like some 20 odd years ago, designing a marketing plan for product-based businesses was straightforward. Mostly, showing how much your product is better than the competition, is all it took.
Perhaps you’ve seen clips on YouTube where they run taste tests with random customers and then telling people about it. It could also mean paying celebrities to wear your product to major events.
Or it could also mean spending tonnes of money, in which to have a model, an actor, or an athlete looking happy eating/using/looking at your amazing product. Make no mistake, the last two are still being done today.
These examples are just somewhat of a simplification, but generally, that was how it was done behind product-based marketing before the digital age. Today, things are way different, and consumers are now, way, way savvier.
People can now shop for products, just like yours, across the internet, which practically means the entire planet. Consumers are now wary of any hard sell and want to have that feel of control of the purchasing process.
For today’s marketers, channels through which they can reach customers have exploded. No longer are they constrained by just the telly, radio, and print. Now they have browser ads, mobile ads, mobile apps, email, live chat, text alerts, social media… you get the idea.
With this evolution, the line between selling service and product is blurring. The game has changed drastically from even as 10 years back, let alone 20. What does a product-based business do? Check out these 5 tips.
1. Sell the results of the product
Companies can encourage sales by increasing product usage within current customer markets. Show them what your product can do for them. Another effective way to do this is by showing consumers new uses for your products or demonstrating how they can extend the use of your product in conjunction with other products.
Bottom line: Identify the problem your product solves.
2. Build credibility
We are constantly being bombarded online and traditional media with advertising messages. Build credibility by making a claim that no other company makes and back it up with evidence.
Ask for customer feedback and highlight reactions from satisfied and happy customers. If you don’t ask for customer feedback, you’re missing out on these sales opportunities.
Bottom line: Build and nurture trust.
3. Showcase features & benefits
Showcase how your product works, how to use it, and the benefits they can get using your product. Highlight which features your products have that your competitors might not have. To put it more bluntly, show them why you are better.
Bottom line: Sell the benefit, not the product.
4. Sell your brand before selling the product
Building a brand from scratch and make it stand out is no easy task. A brand is not simply a recognisable name or logo. Branding is the way people perceive you when they interact with your business.
Before you can begin to sell a service or product, you should ask of your company – what does your brand stand for? To stand out, you must make an emotional connection with potential customers. Aim to sell an experience first before selling a product, for example: organic food for better health.
Bottom line: Stay top of mind.
5. Drive value
In the case of a product, what is its differentiating capability and quality that makes your product a must-have for customers? Drive value by creating a superior brand awareness or introduce a revolutionary technology to gain a competitive advantage in your industry.
Bottom line: If your customers don’t know what the value of your product is to them, they won’t buy from you. Highlighting how and why your product offers value, you can potentially boost sales and inspire confidence.
Once you have outlined what to do or how to go about fulfilling the tips presented above, it’s time to go to market, sort of speak. Go about by creating a solid sales strategy by outlining the following:
- Define digital marketing goals – One thing that probably hasn’t changed since the first product was marketed is to define your goals before creating a strategy. It’s safe to assume that your goal is to sell more products.
Since we’re talking of digital marketing, one goal to seriously investigate is to grow your email list. An email list provides you with a bank of potential customers to build relationships with.
Another goal you should aim for is to build your brand. You’d want customers to have your brand on top of mind above all others when they’re in the market for what you’re selling.
These are just a couple of general goals, of course, and you could and should add to them as need be.
- Identify the best channels to reach your customers – When coming up with a sales strategy, you need to put together a profile of your ideal customer. Now every product-based business is different, and they probably gather in very specific industry-related places, especially if they sell highly specialised products. You would need to find out where that ideal customer hangs out online.
Pro-tip: Product-based businesses stand the best chance of reaching customers through visual mediums. Think of Instagram or Pinterest, more than Facebook and Twitter.
- Build up your email list – Email is a vital tool that allows you to connect with new customers while sustaining your relationship with existing ones. Email subscribers are more than likely to be buyers. You’d want to work on that list as hard, if you will, with your social media presence.
- Consider pitching with influencers – Influencers are key in any digital marketing strategy; they are essentially helpful for marketing products. There are a lot of brands out there that have seen major success in working with influencers. Just ensure to choose your influencers extremely carefully.
Create an authentic and believable relationship between your brand and the influencer – otherwise, you’ll be better off doing product placements.
- Create great content – Any business benefits by heaps with content marketing. It is vital to get new visitors to your site, which in turn is eliciting more interest in your products, and eventually turning them into actual customers.
Companies that employ content marketing have as high as 6 times conversion rates than companies that do not use content marketing.
- Evolve, grow, and pivot – Every business needs to be able and willing to change as needed to stay competitive and profitable. If your current marketing tactics aren’t working, try implementing different ones.
If your content is getting a lukewarm response, try looking for more interesting topics to talk about or run a contest. The same goes for your influencer relationships. If they are not producing the results you wanted, refocus your efforts on a different industry, or acquire the aid of different influencers.
These are just some tips that you can adapt and implement for your business to gain an edge and drive revenue through sales. For a more in-depth and specialised guide on how to maximise your sales strategy, The Growth Manager can provide you with our Sales Mentoring Program to guide you and your team to your sales journey.