Recession Sales Strategies For a Troubled Economy

During my career in sales I’ve seen both strong and troubled economies. Selling in a strong economy is nirvana. Money is flowing and companies are concerned about growth. All that changes in a recession and salespeople must also changes their sales strategies. I have some advice for you about recession sales strategies.

Pay attention to two words used during a recession. The first word is “loss”. In a strong economy, everyone wants to get ahead. In a recession, everyone wants to cut his or her losses. People and companies are motivated to hold on to what they have and just survive until conditions improve. The “fear of loss” is a powerful motivator and must be part of a rep’s sales strategies when selling in a recession.

The second word is “uncertainty”. We live in uncertain economic times. There is uncertainty about the economy and when it will rebound. “Uncertainty” is another powerful word that salespeople need to deal with as part of their overall sales strategies during a recession. Uncertainty paralyzes prospects and motivates them to do nothing.

So, how do we incorporate “loss” and “uncertainty” into our recession sales strategies? Let’s take them one at a time and put them to work.

Dealing With The Fear Of Loss

Your product or service may save your clients money or make them more productive. These are the benefits and we already know we should be selling benefits. Never sell a mop to someone that wants a clean floor. Sell the benefit of having that mop… a clean floor.

Benefits are positive advantages and that’s how salespeople present them to their prospects. However, when dealing with the “fear of loss” as a recession sales strategy, salespeople must change how benefits are presented. There is also a negative side to benefits. The negative side is what happens when a prospect fails to take advantage of a benefit. Both the positive and negative sides must be emphasized when dealing with the fear of loss. Let’s explore how this works when incorporated into recession sales strategies.

Let’s say a salesperson can save prospect money. Well, the savings don’t begin until the prospect agrees to hand over some money to the sales rep and at that point, the “fear of loss” enters the sales process. The salesperson may, and should, calculate a strong ROI (Return On Investment) model for the prospect but the “fear of loss” is still strong because the salesperson is only focused on the positive benefit of “savings”. Recession sales strategies must also include the negative aspect of not taking advantage of the benefits. As it relates to “the fear of loss”, the prospect must also hear… “Stop losing your money”.

Dealing With Uncertainty

The best way to deal with a prospect’s uncertainty is to sell with what I call, “Absolute Certainty” This is not the time for salespeople to look for shortcuts. Recession sales strategies require extra work because the salesperson must connect all the dots for their prospect. I already mentioned the importance of strong ROI models as a recession sales strategy. However, there will be uncertainty over the reality of actually receiving those returns.

“Absolute Certainty”, as a recession sales strategy, requires proof beyond all doubt. Reference selling is one way to start removing that doubt and uncertainty. The salesperson must demonstrate that they’ve successfully delivered the benefits they are promising to other clients. Testimonials and Customer Success Stories must be part of a rep’s recession sales strategies because they are powerful tools to overcome “uncertainty”.

In these economic times, a different way of selling is required to achieve sales success. That’s why I now include these and other recession sales strategies in all my sales training. I hope you’ll remember these recession sales strategies and put them to good use.

The 12 Most Costly Sales Strategy Mistakes

Research shows that less than half of all forecasted opportunities will close. A recent survey by CSO Insights found that 23.6% of forecasted deals are typically lost to no decision and another 30% are lost to the competition.

The good news is that there is something sales managers can do to improve these statistics if they work more closely with salespeople to impact sales strategy and win rates early enough in the process. Organizations with consistent sales strategy and coaching practices experience 10-15% better win rates than those that don’t. But if coaching yields such big returns, why aren’t most sales managers doing it more often? It needs to be a habit, a discipline.

In his book The Score Takes Care of Itself, Bill Walsh, Super Bowl winning coach of the 49ers and contributor to the Harvard Business Review, said that if he managed recruiting, training, coaching, and strategy, good outcomes would result a large part of the time.

Flogging a forecast is driving in the rear-view mirror. By then, it’s too late. Sales managers who have a sales strategy and process for hiring, training and coaching a deal as it evolves position themselves and their reps for winning much earlier in the process – and they qualify out of bad deals earlier.

The closer you get to winning, the closer you also get to losing.

Most forecasting systems and sales strategy methodologies have a built in flaw that ignores three major forces in deal outcomes. If you rate each deal with a percentage based on which phase it is in or which activities have been done, you are planning for forecast failure.

This approach ignores the impact of competition, politics and source of urgency in the decision-making process that we call “the crucible.” It is often an emotional, dynamic committee decision that is beyond logic at this point. If you haven’t prepared for this early in the sales cycle, prepare to lose or win on luck. And we shouldn’t pay salespeople six figures for luck!

Sadly, ignoring the competition and politics in your complex sales strategy is where half the pipeline is lost. But how can managers coach salespeople to get through this process and choose the battles they can win?

More Than “How Much and When” – Why Managers Don’t Coach Enough

In our experience working with hundreds of sales organizations all over the world, many sales managers are great performers who were promoted to management. But what made them great salespeople doesn’t necessarily make them great sales managers.

In complex sales, the stakes are high and deals are complicated. Divided camps break out late in the game, issues change, deals stall, competitive counterattacks surface, and new players enter the picture. If you get bad news early enough, you can qualify out or change your sales strategy, but few salespeople have the critical information they need in time to make this decision unless they are prodded to by their manager in a deal strategy review.

The Top 12 Sales Strategy Mistakes Most Salespeople Make

In our experience, there are 12 common mistakes that most salespeople today make in their sales strategy resulting in wasted time and lost revenue:

Mistake #1: Blind Spots and Assumptions

Many salespeople don’t understand the strategic pains of the customer, the decision making process, or the root causes of the pains. They assume that because the customer is being nice to them that they must be the preferred vendor.

Mistake #2: Wrong People

Selling too low and talking to the wrong people in the sales process is another common sales strategy mistake. Salespeople tend to stay in their comfort zone and sell to those who are already sold rather than those who can really get the deal done. The key is figuring out whose votes you need and then getting them on your side early.

Mistake #3: Political Strategy

Each person on the buying committee has a different amount of power and plays a different role. Within their sales strategy, salespeople must identify key players and how they can influence their vote or live without it. The most effective tool in selling is a stakeholder analysis that identifies each stakeholder’s pain, power, preference, part and plan. If salespeople don’t have this level of information, they are watching what is happening – not making it happen.

Mistake #4: No Competitive Strategy

It is critical to anticipate, predict and be able to neutralize the competition. How do they plan to win? Who is helping them? What do they usually say about us? You must be able to differentiate yourself in a strategic manner and demonstrate how you solve their challenges better.

Mistake #5: Missed Losing Signals

There are many signals that indicate a deal is out of control – cancelled meetings, unreturned calls, new requirements late in the process, no access, etc. If salespeople can pick up on these signals fast enough, there is time to change the sales strategy. The earlier you realize a deal is out of control, the better chance there is of turning it around.

Mistake #6: Happy Ears

A positive mental attitude is an important quality of successful salespeople, but it can also cloud critical thinking and sales strategy. Sales managers have to ask critical questions and challenge assumptions to predict what could go wrong before it actually does. You don’t want bad news late in the game.

Mistake #7: Poor Team Leadership

Everyone who touches a deal should understand the politics and history of the deal and their individual role and action items. Salespeople must look at their job as a leadership position and it is the sales manager’s job to drill down and find out what is going on before it’s too late.

Mistake #8: Tactics Don’t Match Strategy

Often, salespeople do things in “reaction” mode or because someone asked them to when it does not contribute to a victory. Salespeople don’t get paid to be busy – they get paid to be effective. Matching your selling style to the individual personality style of the buyer results in better relationships, bonding and alignment overall.

Mistake #9: Poor Qualification

Many deals are over before they even begin because of a bad solution fit, bad cultural fit, or no source of urgency. How to effectively qualify deals will differ for each rep and company. Ultimately, it depends on your chance of winning, the resources it will take to “buy the next card,” and what else you have in your pipeline. Determining qualification criteria upfront takes emotion out of the equation, enabling salespeople to qualify out of bad deals and instead work on those they have a better chance of winning.

Mistake #10: No Deal Coaching or Strategy Reviews

Companies that do this well are simply more successful. Yet most sales managers claim they don’t have time to coach or don’t think coaching is their job. Instead, they spend their time propping-up weak salespeople, rescuing weak deals, or working on deals that are out of control rather than coaching deals before they become out of control. Having regularly scheduled sales strategy sessions with reps enables managers to help revise the strategy to ultimately win deals.

Mistake #11: No Closing Strategy

In this economy, it can take as long to navigate the approval process as it does the decision-making process. Procurement has become much more powerful and sometimes they are better at buying than salespeople are at selling. Salespeople must document their differentiators and update their stakeholder analysis on players that come in late including additional executives, IT, procurement, finance and legal. ROI alone won’t close the deal. Consider your sales strategy – your solution must have a political pain or gain for a powerful person who will push it across the CFO’s desk.

Mistake #12: No Plan B

When new information emerges, retest your sales strategy. Issues change and power struggles over priorities emerge the closer stakeholders get to making a decision. You should always have a Plan B (and C). If you try one sales strategy and it doesn’t work, there may not be time for a huddle. Flexibility and agility are critical.

What Good Coaches Do

Most sales managers claim they have no time to coach, but consider all of the deals you and your reps have worked on in which you came in second place. If you close 50% of your deals that means that 1,000 hours per year per rep is wasted. Zero revenue. Even if you close 75% of the forecast that means each rep is only wasting 500 hours per week. Why? They get outsold because they don’t have a winning strategy because they don’t take 30 minutes a week to plan their sales strategy with their manager. And sales strategy is much more than how much and when?

Often, if a sales manager had gotten involved in the first place, he or she could have helped the salesperson get in control earlier in the sales strategy. Those managers who make a conscientious effort to coach their teams on a consistent basis will get results and positively impact both revenue and turnover. A good coach can look at a deal objectively and provide the critical thinking necessary to improve the sales strategy.

Coaches can help salespeople pick winnable battles, and then provide the motivation, encouragement and confidence they need to close the deal.

Remember: second place pays zero. In your sales strategy, ask the tough questions and eventually, your reps will start asking them themselves. The consistency with which you do this is the key to competitive advantage.

The Importance of Having a Marketing and Sales Strategy

In today’s complex and competitive business environment, it is important to have a competitive advantage to ensure profitability for the organization. This is where a well planned Marketing & Sales Strategies come in handy. Some key contents to the benefits of having a Marketing Sales Strategies are: Understanding your clients better, Strategic planning of your business short & long term goals, and ultimately more sales.

Better understanding of your clients:

By developing a marketing and sales strategy, you understand the type of clients you are going for by developing a strategy to approach those clients to buy your products / services. You must undersatnd your demographics so you can develop a proper strategy that will work.

If you are a Real Estate Agent, your target would be anyone that’s selling or buying a home. That’s your demographics. You would plan your strategy based on areas where buying and selling homes are active.

Planning of your short and long term goals:

To be successful, you must know your short and long term goals. Learn what you are trying to achieve in the immediate and long-term future. A marketing and sales strategy helps you answer these questions by structuring your plan step by step.

As a business owner, your short term goal(s) maybe to increase number of clients, reach break-even stage, maybe even launching. Your long-term goal(s) may include expanding, making profit, client base increase, new products/services. A proper Marketing & Sales strategy would help you plan how to achieve any or all the above through a well planned strategy.

More Sales:

More sales leads to profits. Usually that is the first reason you start a business, to make more money. Who wouldn’t like that? but to get more sales you need to strategize on how you will achieve that. Components such as strategic location to attract customers, Financial planning, and minimize expenses are important components to consider. A marketing and sales strategy would help you plan for these components.

A Marketing and Sales strategy helps you put things in perspective. By understanding your client niche, your goals (short and long terms), and increasing your sales would help you reach your ultimate goal and have the business work for you. When choosing your components, figure out what works best for your perspective market.

Solid Marketing and Sales Strategy will not only help your business pick off the ground, but to prosper assuming you implement the correct elements and best prespectives for your market.

Roles of the CRM Application in Defining Sales Strategy

The importance of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications can be attributed to its role in enhancing sales by targeting the correct audience. CRM taps into customer data to reach out to them via improved marketing communication. As per Salesforce.com, CRM applications can contribute towards enhancing sales by almost 29 percent.(1)

The CRM applications have to be employed in the correct manner to channelize customer data. It is important to define the most valued customer, focus on techniques for customer acquisition, search for sources and acquire new customers. CRM analyze the effectiveness of previous communication by reviewing past orders and service requests. In addition, the applications can be targeted for a more strategic role.

Sales Data Analysis: Forecasting the sales volume can be enabled by CRM applications for a given time duration. This helps the sales team chart sales strategies, prevent fall in sales, or plan for operational effectiveness for enhanced sales. Better coordination and collaboration amongst various teams such as marketing, inventory, logistics, and shipping can be maintained for meeting customer requests within a stipulated time frame. It can also aid in fulfillment of organizational goals related to time management. (2)

Serving the Most Desired Customer: Segregating customers into “most desirable”, “desirable” or “potential” through the CRM applications can shape the marketing strategy. Data can be gathered through the application for customer segregation and enable the business to channelize efforts towards the most desirable category. Applications allow the sales team to follow the valued customers through the entire sales process until the final purchase and feedback session. This allows for evaluating how effective the sales process is and gauging customer satisfaction. CRM data can be further used to modify the sales strategy to target the desirable and potential customer category and convert them to “most desirable”.

Suggestion selling is another sales strategy which CRM applications help in implementing. Recommendation tools enable salespeople to focus on the best time to recommend new and improved products and accessories related to a specific purchase. or unrelated purchase.(3)

The focus should be buyer centric marketing and sales strategy. Better engagement tactics during the sales process are necessary because so many buyers have access to company information online.(4)

Source Evaluation: CRM application data can be analyzed to evaluate the effectiveness of various sources with respect to lead generation and lead conversion. Working on analytics of various sources can help in determining the most effective strategy from the sales and marketing perspective.(5)

Customer Retention: For any business the most difficult task is to retain customers and harness the benefit of lifetime value relationships. Serving the retained customers can make the sales efforts more effective. This can lead to servicing the customers in a better way, understanding their requirements, monitoring communication with them, and developing stronger customer reports. (6)

Developing relationships through customized communication, depending on past buyer behavior, and current need analysis, can help in building customer loyalty. CRM not only maintains new customer profiles and purchases, but also tracks retained / loyal customers.(7)

All of this helps in developing stronger ties with customers, sharpens persuasive marketing strategies, and betters customer engagement techniques.

ROI Calculation: the sales data can be analyzed to assess the return on investment with respect to advertising and marketing efforts. Every channel can be individually monitored with respect to their contribution in revenue generation. A cost/benefit analysis can be done for every sales and marketing channel to predict sales generation, study lead pipelines, and allocate resources.(8)

Pricing Strategy: CRM software can help in devising correct pricing by monitoring customer orders, analyzing inventory, and fulfilling orders based on product availability.(9)

Goal Alignment: CRM applications can link data related to marketing and sales strategy to analyze the level of goal synchronization between these two related fields.

It is very essential for marketing and sales to collaborate to engage, develop, and convert leads into actual and repeated revenue cycles. Any gap between the two teams can lead to poor buyer experience and lost opportunity. For streamlined communication with the buyers at various stages of the purchase cycle, both marketing and sales need to develop utilize a program. (10)This synchronization can be achieved by implementing a CRM application as a part of an overall strategy.

References

(4,10) Carlos, Hidalgo. “4 Strategies for Transforming your Demand Process.” 13 February 2013. Software Advice. 17 February 2015

(1,2,5,6) Jeff, Orloff. “CRM’s Role in Sales Strategy.” February 2015. Toolbox for IT. 17 February 2015

(7,8,9) Measures, Arlette. “CRM Role in Sales Strategy.” 2015. Small Business Chron Website. 17 February 2015

(3) Neil, Kokemulle. “CRM Role in Sales Strategy.” AZ Central Website. 17 February 2015

Coach The Sales Strategy (And Your Forecast Will Take Care Of Itself)

It’s been said that some salespeople make things happen, some watch things happen, and some wonder what’s happening. The difference lies in having a strategy and leading a team to execute it effectively.

Strategy is a plan to deploy resources in a way that brings your strength to bear on the opponent’s weakness, creating momentum that leads to victory.

You can win without a strategy. It’s called luck. Direct salespeople are paid to make their own luck. You can get luck with a Web site.

The models of strategy descend from (like it or not) military history. In the last few years, many business executives and military leaders have been studying classical leaders’ strategic models to determine the models of strategy, which can be applied to company or marketing-level strategies of today. We do this because the models are timeless; the application is situational. It requires allegorical thinking. Models allow us to anticipate future events and to communicate that vision. Intuitive or “natural” salespeople or managers without mental models may have trouble leading a sales team because they don’t know why they are good and can’t transfer that knowledge to someone else.

Classical historical strategy drives market strategy; market strategy drives industry or territory strategy. At the sales level, it is critical we strategize at four different levels:

· THE INDUSTRY MARKET LEVEL

· THE ENTERPRISE LEVEL

· THE OPPORTUNITY LEVEL

· THE INDIVIDUAL LEVEL

Only then can you drive a complex sale strategy in its entirety. Each level requires different technique, talent, and technology that can communicate the enterprise strategic account plan worldwide.

WHY STRATEGIES FAIL

Knowledge is power; the more you know earlier, the more advantage you can have. It’s amazing how little most business developers know about their accounts after months of involvement and considerable resources.

Failure is the seed of learning. By studying why strategies fail, we learn how to make them succeed.

One of the major reasons strategies fail is poor information. There is not a general out there who wouldn’t trade troops for better knowledge of where the enemy is and which way they’re headed. That’s why spies are so important. In the Persian Gulf War, our initial strikes were to knock out the information and command centers and blind the opposition.

Another reason for strategic failure is no strategyat all. Imagine a quarterback in American football coming out on the field and having a huddle. The team asks what the play is and he says “I don’t know, let’s just go for it.” (We’ve all been in those presentations.) If the quarterback calls the snap and fades back to pass and the rest of the team is going out for an end run, this person is going to get footprints all over his body. Effective power comes when the entire team knows the plan and can execute it, with timing, together.

Another fatal error is not having a plan B. Some leaders plan only for the best possible outcome and assume how the competition will react. They don’t test their plan and develop alternatives. The speed of change in marketing and sales today is so fast that a rigid, inflexible, or static plan will result in defeat.

Speed of information drives speed of strategy drives competitive advantage. By the time you win an opportunity, you may be on plan D, E, or F. This doesn’t mean we should be indecisive. There must be a conscious reanalysis and coaching process for absorbing new information and processing it into new strategies, tactics, and actions.

Other sources of failure include poor execution. Patton said a good plan violently executed beats a perfect plan we’re constantly thinking about. He also realized that speed gives the opponent less time to perfect their plan and defenses.

Strategies also fail because of bad timing– the right thing done at the wrong time, too late, too little, or even too early. Because issues and politics change, a time-based strategy is essential to victory.

The inability to have a process for absorbing new information and generating new accurate strategies can often lead to indecision, poor priorities, or waffling, all of which can prove fatal. IBM’s response to the justice department’s attempt to break them up resulted in not two but three strategies that were not a migration path for the client but were competing strategies, leading to their decline in the 1980’s.

A classic principle of strategy is not to divide your forces in the face of a superior foe – spreading yourself too thin. Multiple strategies can work. The allies did it successfully in World War II. But it requires more resources, clear priorities, and decisive leadership.

The last source of strategic failure in sales is failure to pursue the battle won. “Hit-and-run selling” or “drive-by selling” is when you get inside the walls, then leave for the next opportunity rather than selling from the inside out.

The best account managers use opportunity management in tandem with account strategy. Why? Because real profitability comes from shorter sales cycles and better margins on repeat business after you gained access, built trust, and reduced risk.

A DYNAMIC STRATEGIC PLANNING MODEL

Patton said, “Luck favors the man in motion.” By this he meant that the person in motion not only keeps his or her opponent off balance and unable to process new strategies but in the process of action, he or she finds out more information faster than the enemy.

The information processing cycle is known by fighter pilots; they live and die by it. In the movie Top Gun, Kelly McGillis asks Tom Cruise, “What were you thinking up there?” His reply was, “You don’t have time to think. You take time to think up there, you’re dead.” By that he meant it must be habit and reflex. The pilot must have all the models in his head to be able to process strategy instantaneously.

Many salespeople don’t process this at all. They pick a company and product strategy and plod straight ahead until they either win or lose. If you could always win on company and product, why do you need salespeople? Most salespeople don’t know when to trigger alternative strategies. Those who do, win more often.

DYNAMIC, FLEXIBLE STRATEGY

The first step in the strategic process is information. The more we know – about the competition, the decision-making process, the politics, and the client’s needs – the better we will be able to formulate a more accurate strategy.

Information drives strategy. Then you need a vision of victory. Salespeople need a mental picture and map of how they plan to win. They also need electronic communication tools to get it out of their head and into the teams’ heads. Then the team needs effective presentation skills and graphics tools to get the benefits out of their heads and into the prospects’ heads.

Next you need to set goalsand objectives. These terms get switched around semantically, but a goal is more general than an objective. An objective defines what you want to do in measurable quantities and is date-driven. It is less important what you call it than that you have one and execute it well.

Setting a clear objective is essential to defining the strategy. If we don’t know where we’re going, any road will do. Covey says, “Start with the end in mind.”

Strategyis how you intend to achieve the objective; it’s your plan of attack. It is how you plan to allocate resources, what you’re going to sell to whom, where, and when. Tactics are the day-to-day detail actions you do to execute the longer-term strategy.

STRATEGY COACHING REVIEWS – THE ANTIDOTE FOR “HAPPY EARS”

The most essential part of a strategic plan is the testing of it. Professor Tom Kosnik of Standford University says, “Testing their strategy is what separates the amateur strategists from the effective ones.” But it’s also where our tradition of positive mental attitude can get in the way. The best of plans require critical thinking and that is perceived by some people as negative.

It is true there is a self-fulfilling effect of positive thinking. However, too often this results in assumptions, or “happy ears,” for salespeople who are always ignoring the facts. The account looks good, right up until it’s lost. There is a balance point of critical thinking, attacking our own plan without becoming negative. In the movie A Bridge Too Far about Montgomery’s failed attack at Arnhem, the Polish general Sosabowski (played by Gene Hackman) said, “But what about the Germans?” No one wanted to question the assumptions in the plan, and the attack failed.

Bad news early is good news.

One thing is certain: Your plan will be tested – by the competition, the client, or Murphy’s laws. But it will get tested. Salespeople who were too busy to plan will now have to find another prospect.

Bad news early is good news because we can either refine our strategy or withdraw from the account. Blind spots late are bad news. Bill Gates says about himself in Business @ The Speed of Thought, “I have a natural instinct for hunting down grim news. If it’s out there, I want to know about it.” “An essential quality of a good manager is a determination to deal with any kind of bad news head on, to seek it out rather than deny it.” A Fortune magazine article on “Why CEOs Fail” described one of the warning signs of executive denial as a background in sales or marketing.

Who do you want to test it? Your own team. And from whom do you want the bad news? People who want you to win – your own team. But it means leaving your ego at the door and improving your plan rather than defending it. Testing plans on the job is learning by losing – a far more expensive approach, except for the fact that lost sales never hit the books, so you may never know how bad you really are.

For every self-fulfilling positive mental attitude success story, there are a dozen disasters in sales and marketing from people who didn’t adequately challenge their own plan. Edward DeBono has a book called The Six Hats of Thinking. One of these is a red hat for the positive thinking aspect, but there is also a hat where we attack our own plan to find the flaws in it before the competition does.

Nothing increases positive mental attitude more than winning. If we can anticipate the failure points and strengthen them, we should have a much better plan as well as plan B, C, and D in the pocket.

Next, you must execute. The devil is in the details. But an average plan can be overcome by great execution, Likewise, a perfect plan can be defeated by poor execution.

Finally, you get results and new information based on a call, a presentation, or a survey. In sales it is essential that you process new information and come up with a new plan or revalidate the old one.

The best time to reevaluate strategy is right after a sales call (not in the elevator or the bathroom, but after we get out of the building – the walls have ears). The curbside review is important to detect new information, critique performance, and make sure who has the ball on each action item. If you scatter like quail for the airport without taking this valuable time to strategize, you have missed a great opportunity.

The next time to revalidate your plan is in a strategy session before each major event requiring resources – the big proposal, the big presentation, or the corporate visit. These are essential. Once your top executives say the wrong thing because they weren’t prepared adequately, you can’t buy enough “mind erasers” to get it out of the prospect’s head. “What the chairman meant to say our strategy was – never mind.”

COACHING – THE MANAGER’S VALUE ADDED

Competitive advantage doesn’t come from awareness of a strategy; it comes from consistent execution faster than the competition. Coaching is where managers can make the difference. And yet many sales managers and most consulting partners don’t see this as a major part of their job. They simply “flog the forecast until morale improves.” Salespeople need more than “how much and when?” from their managers.

Pipeline reviews by management in a coaching environment are where you drill down into the competition’s strategy, the value proposition, and the politics of the decision-making process. More accurate forecasts come from a foundation of better sales plans for accounts controlled early and reviewed often.

STRATEGY AND TACTICS

When it comes to strategic planning, tactics should fall out of the strategy. But too many salespeople go “ready, fire, aim.” Abraham Lincoln said, “If I had nine hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first six sharpening my ax.” Many salespeople are out there chopping with a dull ax, generating tons of paper and lots of sales activity without felling any trees. But salespeople don’t get paid to be busy; they get paid to win. It’s been said that tactics are doing the thing right and strategy is being sure we’re doing the right thing.

Tactics are short-term and flexible; they change dynamically. Strategies, however, should stay consistent until new information is introduced and you have made a conscious decision to commit to a new strategy. Both strategies and tactics are essential to success; a plan will fail for lack of either.

Tactics in the absence of a strategy creates a dependence on luck. General Bedel Smith, Dwight Eisenhower’s chief of staff, said, “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.” Great salespeople, like great generals and athletes, make their own luck. Hannibal, the Carthaginian general who crossed the Alps to defeat the Romans, said, “We will either find a way or make one.”

There are multiple strategies that could win. Looking for the perfect one will cause the loss of valuable time. Commit to one decisively, execute it violently, and revalidate it constantly.

The terms “strategy” and “tactics” often get confused, and the reason is that they are actually “nested.” An action item can be both a strategy and a tactic at the same time, depending on the level from which it’s viewed. What is a tactic to the enterprise becomes a strategy for the department. So the same item, viewed from above or below, could either be a strategy or a tactic. It’s less important what you call it, than that you write it down and do it.

Top 5 Marketing and Sales Strategies You Can Use Online

Bringing your business online is one of the wisest things you can do in order to catch up with the growing trend of people going online for shopping, for banking, for working and many other needs. With a lot of people all over the world are going to the internet to find information, it is indeed an advantage for you to start finding marketing and sales strategies online.

To help you boost your business’ online presence, here are top 5 marketing and sales strategies that you may not want to miss.

1. Affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing works by having affiliates promote your products. Affiliates are individuals online or website owners who want to make extra money online. By being an affiliate, they get commissions for every sale of a product, or if they can refer a potential customer whatever it is that you have agreed. One good thing about affiliate marketing for businesses is the convenience of getting customers to your site and of course, you only pay for results.

2. Pay per click marketing. Pay per click marketing or PPC allows you to post you links or your ads in other websites or on the search engines and you only pay for every interested online reader who clicks on your ad and the cost is very minimal. Although this is a cost-effective marketing strategy online and cost cheaper compared to the conventional marketing and advertising techniques, this can also cost you money if you fail to plan your PPC campaign. In PPC, it is important to study your campaign, choose effective keywords and be constantly watchful on the marketing trends online.

3. Article marketing. Yes,you can write informative articles to promote your business. People online are looking for information. In fact, people always want to know before buying, so provide valuable information to effectively sell and promote your products. Although this can be time-consuming, you can however delegate this part of the marketing campaign to freelance writers who are willing to do the work for you. You can then submit your articles to submission directories online and start getting traffic in the long term. One advantage of article marketing is that, it can generate you traffic for a long time, for as long as your articles are present online.

4. Social Networking. If you find these social networking sites addictive, you can also take advantage of this for your marketing and sales strategies. You can crate a page in Facebook, or MySpace or put your business into twitter. Sending tweets allow you to send fresh information conveniently, thus you can take advantage of these new and fast ways of communication and make your business a buzz with these useful sites.

5. Search engine optimization. One of the very important things that you have to keep in mind if you want to promote your business online is to make sure that your business website will be visible to as many target customers as you can amidst the competition and amidst the millions of websites already existing online. To do this, you can make sue of some search engine optimization techniques and methods that will allow you climb on top of the search engine results where people search the information they want to learn.

A Market Plan And The Marketing Environment

A market plan is a very important part to marketing success. It helps stabilize the ideas of companies and marketing teams when they are in the process of marketing something. A market plan defines a solid picture of marketing intentions and how these intentions are achieved. There are a lot of strategies in making an effective market plan but I am going to talk about one of the early stages of its development. It is the assessment of the current marketing environment and how it will affect the actions you will take in your market plan.

Market environment is a term used to refer to all stimuli that is not part of marketing itself but affects the entirety of a marketing management’s ability to develop strong ties with intended customers. It is divided into two specifications, the micro-environment and the macro environment. The first consists of the different factors that affect the company directly and its efficiency in serving its customers. These include the issues in the company itself, their immediate suppliers, their competitors and their distribution intermediaries. In short, micro-environment is the internal environment of the company and its processes. It is the company in its entirety.

The other one, the macro environment, refers to the factors that are bounded by the containing society and which are continuously affecting the micro-environment. This includes, but is not limited to, economy, natural events, current technology, politics, demography, religion and culture. This summarizes all the forces that are outside of the company. How humans adapt to changes, the current economic situation and the growth of the target customers and their preferences are one of the issues that are being dealt in this level. All of these things are the basis in making a strategic market plan. How you are able to address these issues will reflect on your sales and the performance of the marketing team.

Assessment of market environment is part of the analysis phase of the famous AOSTC (Analysis, Objectives, Strategies, Tactics, and Controls). It sets the stage for the development of the market plan and becomes the basis for the consequent phases. Since most of the things are based from careful studies on the current conditions, having a solid grasp of the market environment will increase your probability of choosing the best approach in marketing the company’s products and services. If you are short of ways on getting an accurate summary of the environment, professional help from business coaching firms are available. This is a wise idea if you are short of manpower or if you want to have that confidence of having a reliable data.

If you want to be productive and efficient in promoting your products, you will always need to have a solid foundation for your plans. Knowing well your market environment will not only increase your sales, but it will help you respond to the needs of your customers and will help you think of new ideas in the future.

Create a MAP To Increase Sells – A Marketing, Advertisement, and Promotional Strategy

There is absolutely NO way around it, if you want to make more sales, which lead to more money, you must drive more traffic to your offer by developing a Marketing, Advertisement, and Promotional strategy, which includes advertising techniques that motivate people to buy your product or service. In other words you must aggressively market your product!

It does not matter if you are an author, entrepreneur, or brick and mortar business owner; having a Marketing, Advertisement, and Promotional strategy is an absolute necessity to getting you on the road to increase sells. Driving traffic to as many people as possible! Anyone who is in sales and marketing knows that it is a “numbers game.” This means; an increase in the number of people who see your message, will result in an increased number of sales.

As competition becomes tougher, your advertisement strategy must become more creative and directed. Global Marketing has made the “World” our “Market Place!” which means international marketing has also increased our competition level. Don’t despair, just decide how you can take this obstacle and turn it into a powerful advertisement opportunity. Here are a few pointers…

Before launching your public relation campaign, map out a promotional strategy that includes various marketing methods. Your marketing mix should include; a variety of IT marketing solutions, such as the use of; blog marketing, network marketing, YouTube marketing, and social marketing

In order for your communication to be effective, you need to connect with those who need or want what you are selling. Who is your target market? What type of products or services are they looking for? What is the best way to reach them? Without developing a clear market plan, business owners are destined to continuously fall short in their product marketing efforts. Therefore your advertisement efforts must help you achieve the following;

• Determine your marketing objectives
• Identify how many sales you want to make
• Complete a marketing analysis to identify who’s looking for what you are selling
• Decide the types of marketing that will work best in reaching your target market

Not many people would argue the fact that “sales and marketing” go hand-in-hand. However, some of you may still be asking the question; why is marketing important? Simply put, the more you communicate your message to your audience, the more sales you make; and the more sales you make, the more money you will make!

You are now equipped with a Marketing, Advertisement, and Promotional strategy that will put you on the road that leads to an increase in sells. Simply follow the directions that will get you to your destination of becoming a local and international market leader.

Affordable Web Site Marketing Plans and Strategies

Possibly one of the biggest mistakes Website owners make is to invest the majority of their budget into the development of their Website while leaving only a small percentage of the budget to actually market the site. Does this make any sense? When developing your e-commerce business plan remember to include reasonable marketing costs within your budget. The scale and type of marketing required to market your site is relative to your type of business. For example, if your business is seasonal then your marketing requirements might be different than if you operate a year-round business. And if your product is orientated towards teens your marketing requirements will certainly be different than if you are selling pharmaceutical or medical products.

Considerations for Your Website Marketing Plan

Reasonable Internet marketing costs for small businesses could range from $2000 to $10,000. Medium sized businesses are easily investing $25,000 or more per year into their online marketing. While there is no magic formula to calculate exactly how much you should spend on Internet marketing it is important to realize that some forms of marketing are more effective than others. But no matter what type of marketing you do, if you do not plan and manage it well then it may result in a lower return on your investment.

Below are several factors to consider when developing your marketing plan and budget.

1. Who is your target customer?
Are you targeting teens, doctors, parents, wives or husbands? This will help you determine which type of Websites or portals to direct your advertising.

2. What are your goals?
Do you want to increase sales, increase brand awareness, or sign members to your newsletter? Knowing your goals could help you with the development of your keyword phrases, ad copy, and landing pages. And may also help to decide what specific type of marketing would be the most cost effective.

3. Is your business seasonal or year-round?
If your business is seasonal then you may want to focus more of your budget on pay-per-click and behavioral targeted advertising. If your business is year-round then focusing your budget on search engine optimization might be a priority.

Below are several effective Website marketing methods. When developing a marketing campaign one or many of these methods could be considered.

A. Pay-Per-Click Programs (PPC) – this form of direct marketing displays your ad in the sponsored section of the search engines and in the search engine network. This is an alternative solution if you are not ranked on the first page of the organic search listings. Pay-per-click is easy to implement allowing Internet savvy website owners to instantly create their own campaigns. Depending on the competitiveness of your keyword phrases you could launch an experimental pay-per-click campaign for as low as 100.00$ per month. Pay-per-click is an excellent marketing solution if you only want to market during specific seasons or holidays.

B. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – search engine optimization is a long-term strategy taking up to eight months before producing any measurable results. Implementing best practice SEO requires unique skills and plenty of patience. A professional SEO campaign could produce great returns on your investment, so expect to pay no less than 1000.00$ for the services of a competent search engine optimizer. And always ask for references.

C. Behavioral Targeting – provides data that allows you to investigate Internet user behaviors and patterns over periods of time. Behavioral targeting allows you to manipulate the consumers behavior by providing advertisements based on past behavior patterns.

D. Shopping Engines – shopping engines are just like search engines but show products in the search results. Most shopping engines charge on a pay-per-click or a monthly fee basis. Froogle.com, Shopping.com and Shopzilla.com are popular shopping engines.

The Importance of Having a Marketing and Sales Strategy

In today’s complex and competitive business environment, it is important to have a competitive advantage to ensure profitability for the organization. This is where a well planned Marketing & Sales Strategies come in handy. Some key contents to the benefits of having a Marketing Sales Strategies are: Understanding your clients better, Strategic planning of your business short & long term goals, and ultimately more sales.

Better understanding of your clients:

By developing a marketing and sales strategy, you understand the type of clients you are going for by developing a strategy to approach those clients to buy your products / services. You must undersatnd your demographics so you can develop a proper strategy that will work.

If you are a Real Estate Agent, your target would be anyone that’s selling or buying a home. That’s your demographics. You would plan your strategy based on areas where buying and selling homes are active.

Planning of your short and long term goals:

To be successful, you must know your short and long term goals. Learn what you are trying to achieve in the immediate and long-term future. A marketing and sales strategy helps you answer these questions by structuring your plan step by step.

As a business owner, your short term goal(s) maybe to increase number of clients, reach break-even stage, maybe even launching. Your long-term goal(s) may include expanding, making profit, client base increase, new products/services. A proper Marketing & Sales strategy would help you plan how to achieve any or all the above through a well planned strategy.

More Sales:

More sales leads to profits. Usually that is the first reason you start a business, to make more money. Who wouldn’t like that? but to get more sales you need to strategize on how you will achieve that. Components such as strategic location to attract customers, Financial planning, and minimize expenses are important components to consider. A marketing and sales strategy would help you plan for these components.

A Marketing and Sales strategy helps you put things in perspective. By understanding your client niche, your goals (short and long terms), and increasing your sales would help you reach your ultimate goal and have the business work for you. When choosing your components, figure out what works best for your perspective market.

Solid Marketing and Sales Strategy will not only help your business pick off the ground, but to prosper assuming you implement the correct elements and best prespectives for your market.