Which Sales Strategy Is Right For Your Business?
Several runners of a half marathon in Bangalore, India abandoned the race when they found out that the pace car missed a turn, leading nine runners a kilometer off course. The wrong turn ruined any chance the runners had to win. In the same way, a wrong turn by your sales leadership can result in your company ending up off course. If your sales strategy was set by the wrong data or skewed view of the market place, your pace car could have your sales team aimed toward disaster. Below is a look at three common sales strategies and the corresponding direction they will take your company. You may find that it’s time for a course correction.
Many, Fast and Cheap
It is estimated that by 2020, customers will manage 85 percent of purchase transactions without talking to a human (Gartner Group). Your company can take advantage of this shift by creating efficient, accurate, timely, and cost-effective transactions. Your company can win by becoming the most efficient transaction processor. Transactions can be processed online, through a store, or through an inside sales person. The “how” does not matter as much as the “how fast.” In this strategy, your company is valued not for salesperson knowledge, but for how quickly and cost-effectively you can provide value. This strategy works best for companies that target numerous, small accounts.
Better Quoting, Better Business
If you want to win mid-sized opportunities, it will require more than efficient transactions. At this level, success depends upon your ability to facilitate the buyer’s selection process. Your sales team isn’t really selling so much as it is facilitating the client’s buying process responsively and cost-effectively. Buyers are evaluating your sales team’s ability to respond to the buyer’s bid process accurately, completely, and in compliance. Do this well, and your company will become a master at winning mid-sized deals.
Team Selling, Team Winning
Maybe you have your sights set on growing explosively, perhaps doubling in the next three to five years. In this case, your best bet is to focus on large, top-of-the-heap accounts. The way to win large accounts is to solve organizational-level problems. This means that your strategy will have to do more than create efficient transactions or manage the buying process. Your company will have to be the champion at solving systemic, organizational-level problems that keep key decision makers awake at night. Solving problems at this level means your sales team will have to reach high-level decision makers. It will also take more than just your sales team to land large deals. Your entire organization must be structured to allow for more people to be involved in the sales process, as large deals require more resources. Today, in a typical firm of 100 to 500 employees, an average of seven people are involved in buying decisions (Garter Group).
So what’s it going to be? In my experience of running four fast-growth middle-market organizations, I have learned that you can choose one, maybe two strategies, but you can’t choose all three (or you will fail at all of them). It is up to you as the leader of your company to uncover which sales strategy your sales leadership is following and decide if it aligns with the direction you want your company to go. If not, there needs to be some serious course correction in your very near future.