How to Update Your Selling Strategy for the New Year

BY Kathy Crosett
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When’s the last time you reviewed your selling strategy? If your sales department isn’t meeting its goals, you need to fix the disconnect or the miscommunication between the strategy you envision and the approach your sales manager is taking. As a company leader, you know no business succeeds without having a market-​ready product, professionals who can close deals and a selling strategy that aligns these two operational components.

When Your Selling Strategy Doesn’t Match the Market

When sales professionals struggle to make their numbers, they may drift away after from the “go-​to-​market” strategy you initially established. In this situation, Scott Edinger points out that your reps will try to sell to anyone who will listen to their pitch. The problem with this approach is they may close deals with prospects that don’t match the ideal customer profile.

You developed your product’s feature set based on a gap in the marketplace or on the goal of targeting a specific type of customer. When your sales reps stray from the agreed-​upon strategy, they may start negotiating discounts to sell to the prospects who will buy from them. Or they may have to promise product changes to suit the needs of customers that were not part of the original target audience. In doing so, your organization’s profitability will take a hit.

If your reps are encountering this situation in the market, it’s time to evaluate your offering in the context of the marketplace, adjust the feature set if necessary, and redefine the ideal customer profile. Then ask your sales manager to retain the sales staff and give them the context they need to sell to the customers that will benefit from what you’re offering.

When Sales Reps Must Handle Complex Sales

With a significant part of the B2B sales process happening online, your sales managers need a strategy to identify and smoothly handle complex situations. Many buyers have quickly adapted to researching and then purchasing products and services online without meeting a sales rep in person. To serve those buyers, your managers should put an online process, one that includes answering questions via great content, in place.

Other buyers may have multiple decision-​makers or are not sure how your solution will help them solve their critical problem. They won’t feel comfortable making a purchase until they speak with members of your sales teams in person or through video calls. To capture as many of these deals a possible, your organization needs a complex selling strategy, and you need to put the right reps in the roles to handle these sales. Encourage your sales managers to identify the reps who naturally excel in handling these complex sales. They can do so by asking their reps to take psychometric and skills assessments. If necessary, work with your managers to reorganize their staffing to match the strategy you develop for addressing complex sales situations.

Do You Need Another Layer of Sales Management?

If your initial strategy was all about bottom-​up sales and you’ve grown your company by encouraging users to sign on to a free or reduced-​cost SaaS model, congratulations. You’ve been able to get the users to convince their higher-​ups to pay for the product they want. This bottom-​up sales method takes time.

If you want to grow sales more quickly, and if you face a competitive market, you may need to shift to a top-​down selling strategy. Using this model, your top sales reps will target specific top decision-​makers at a few key accounts and sell to them. While it’s a resource-​intensive approach, you can grow sales quickly, especially if you have the right individuals in the key roles of selling and managing the process. You may need to add another layer of sales management to build out a top-​down selling approach.

2022 is right around the corner. Do you plan to start the new year with an updated selling strategy in place?

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