What if there was a simpler way to develop a full-proof sales strategy in less time and without missing any of the key details?
Actually, there is a way! It's this B2B sales strategy framework that acts like a template or guideline for you to develop your own unique strategy.
All you need to do is follow the framework, input some answers, and you will have an outline of your own B2B strategy ready to go!
This framework is for the CEOs and sales leaders of the world who:
- Are tired of their strategy always falling through
- Feel like their strategy is never good enough
- Spend hours writing up complex plans just for them to fail
The key to making the framework work for you and not against you is by keeping it simple!
Yep... When following the framework, make sure to keep all of your inputs simple and straightforward. Because, the more complex you make it, the more potential problems you create for yourself!
This is your one-stop shop for all things strategy. If you are the leader of a B2B sales organization, just know that your life is about to get a whole lot better!
Not only that, but your sales game is about to rise to a whole new level.
Just remember, consider this framework your guideline, and... keep it simple!
What Is a Sales Strategy?
The sales strategy is your company's plan or outline for positioning your product or service in the market against the competition. At the center of the strategy is your brand message (more on that later!).
You can think of the strategy as a broad outline or guideline for all of sales. Developing it should be the first major step you take once you decide to dive head first into sales.
Moreover, once you have the strategy done, it will guide you to develop the rest of your sales plan, including a highly-technical sales process.
In fact, the strategy lays the groundwork for the process, which includes all the inbound and outbound sales tactics you will use.
Unlike the extremely technical and rigid process however, the strategy is more of a soft outline. However, just because we use the word soft doesn't mean that it isn't important!
That being said, getting your strategy right is imperative to sales success.
What Is a Sales Strategy Framework?
You can think of the strategy framework as an outline for your outline.
The strategy is an outline for sales itself, but sometimes people don't know where to start with it. Hence, why we've created this framework (AKA outline) to help you create the perfect strategy.
If you want to make the most out of the framework, be sure to follow it step-by-step. It includes all of the most essential pieces of a strategy, and they must be done in order because each one builds upon the next.
Moreover, each piece of the framework is the foundation for the next piece.
Additionally, be sure to keep all of your inputs simple, like we mentioned before!
In short: A sales strategy framework takes the somewhat daunting task of developing a B2B sales strategy and makes it more straightforward for you.
What You Need to Do Before Going Through the Strategy Framework
The moment you decide to step up your sales game, you set off an entire cascade of events.
And, developing an effective sales strategy doesn't occur until later down the line.
Before following the framework to put together your strategy, you need to do a couple of things, including:
- Getting you and your sales rep's mindsets in the green
- Setting goals, particularly sales goals, that are clear and concise
- Developing or fixing-up your company's vision statement
While the strategy is the first major step in outlining your plan of attack in sales, that doesn't mean you can skip over these smaller first three steps.
Unless you do these three steps first, there will inevitably be holes in your strategy!
Therefore, do these three steps, and then come back to this point where the strategy framework begins!
1. Dig Deeper Into Your Company’s Vision
This first piece of the framework is more about brainstorming than anything. Therefore, it should be a fun, creative step in developing the strategy!
While it is a creative endeavor, be sure to write down all of your thoughts so they become concrete.
Like we mentioned above, you should have already gotten together with your sales members and made any necessary fixes/adjustments to your vision statement.
If you haven't already done that, go back and do it now, because it will be the foundation for this first piece of the framework!
What Problem Are You Trying to Solve?
Before you started your business, you likely saw a problem in the world that you wanted to fix.
Once you knew you wanted to start a company, you developed a vision for a world in which your business would work to solve that specific problem.
All too often, many CEOs, sales managers, and salespeople get so wrapped up in the day-to-day of sales that they lose sight of that original vision.
As a result, their entire sales strategy begins to crumble because it lacks the necessary foundational vision to solve that problem and create a positive impact.
Therefore, get together with your sales and marketing teams to reflect on the specific problem you're trying to solve.
Ask yourselves these questions:
- What is the problem in the most basic terms?
- What is the root cause of this problem?
- How good of a job are you all currently doing to solve the problem (make the vision come to life)?
Again, while this is a bit of a brainstorming activity, it is important to think critically and write down your thoughts!
How Does Your Deliverable Solve That Problem?
After honing in on the problem you're trying to solve, dig deep into your current product or service.
Ask yourself what it is about your deliverable that helps solve the problem at hand. If you were to get together with a group of five year-olds to tell them what your company does... What would you tell them?
Additionally, ask yourselves seriously how good of a job your deliverable is doing at solving the problem at hand. Consider going through customer reviews to determine what customers are and aren't liking.
While this all might seem a little elementary, your answers to these questions lay the foundation for the rest of your strategy. Therefore, don't skip over them!
2. Develop Your Unique Value Proposition
Once you've gone deep into your company's vision, it's time to call the unique value proposition (UVP) into play.
The UVP is the thing that sets your company apart from the competition.
It's the thing that makes you stand out in the market, and makes prospects say things like, 'That's what makes this company different!'.
For example, while there are dozens of e-commerce websites out there, Amazon has a UVP of being able to deliver packages in as little as 48 hours for a very low price. This is what sets Amazon apart from the competition in the eyes of potential customers.
When it comes to business, you want to provide not just value, but unique value. Because, while almost every company provides value, it’s special to provide a kind of value that nobody else does!
What Sets Your Company Apart From the Competition?
Even though they might have competition, great companies put themselves in a different league by capitalizing on the thing that makes them unique.
Whether it be that they have amazing customer service or the quality of their product is pristine, they make sure everybody knows about it!
Moreover, the thing that makes them stand out is their UVP, and they make sure that it is evident to their target market.
At this point, you and your team need to ask yourselves a few questions, including:
- What sets us apart from the competition?
- Are we capitalizing on what makes us unique, or trying to blend in with competition?
- Do our customers know what makes us unique?
One of the most fatal mistakes even great sales teams make is putting a cap on the UVP in order to blend in with competitors.
This is usually a result of having low confidence in their uniqueness or fearing that standing out will lead to failure.
However, we're here to remind you that your UVP IS the pathway to your best sales performance ever!
Is There a Need For Your Unique Value?
Now, not everyone likes this next step because it's quite critical.
All of your sales team members must ask themselves whether or not there is a genuine need for the unique value you have to offer in the market. More specifically, are their potential customers out there who have a pain point that your unique value could help solve?
Think of it like this... If you all are going ham on sales and not shy about putting your UVP out there yet prospects still aren't biting, ask whether or not it could be because people simply don't desire or need your unique value because it doesn’t help them solve a pain point.
However, just because you aren't getting the sales results you want does not automatically mean there is no need for your UVP! Rather, it could be a result of countless other problems:
- Using poor sales tactics
- Inconsistency with outreach
- Not fully understanding how to market the UVP
That being said, don’t automatically write off your UVP just because your sales performance isn’t as great as you’d like it to be.
Nonetheless, it is important to sit down and think critically about it. Look at your competitive landscape and ask yourself if your UVP really matters to people.
If you think critically and still believe that your UVP is valued in the market, then carry on!
3. Develop An Ideal Customer Profile & Buyer Persona
With the UVP at the front of your mind, the next question you need to ask yourself is who is your unique value most likely to resonate with?
To put in simpler words... you need to decide who your target customers are!
These are the people who will say... 'While I have other options, I like this company because they help solve my key pain point!'.
Furthermore, your target market includes the potential customers who are most likely to resonate with your UVP AND buy from you over the competition.
Also, it is extremely important to note that, when defining your target customer base, you must be as specific as possible. The more specific you are now, the easier your sales cycle will flow, particularly with lead generation because you'll have an easier time qualifying leads!
Understanding your target customers is of the utmost importance to a successful sales strategy.
Study Your Current Customer Base
Want to know who your perfect customer is?
Start by studying your existing customers for clues!
Specifically, identify your current most loyal customers. Ask yourself what about them makes them such a great fit for your company.
Think about what had to occur in order to convert them to you in the first place. Consider the factors of your sales cycle, and whether or not they played a role in converting that customer.
List as many items that you can as to what makes your relationships with these customers so great, and what you did to get them in your hands in the first place.
Additionally, list as many traits about those ideal customers as you can, including:
- Company size
- What kind of business they do
- Personalities of the decision-makers
- Company culture
Create the Ideal Prospect Profile (IPP)
An IPP describes the type of company that is most likely to want and buy your product or service.
It paints a very specific picture of what that company looks like, so much so that you could talk about it with a complete stranger and they would get the idea!
The IPP is less about a specific person and more about the company itself as if it were a person! Therefore, the IPP should include things like:
- If they can afford your product or service
- Whether or not your company vision resonates with theirs
- If you know they have a pain point that your UVP would help solve
Bottom line... You want to be sure that the company would not only want to buy your product, but is also willing and able to.
Create the Buyer Persona
On top of your IPP, you should also create a buyer persona for the head decision-makers at the prospect company.
The decision-maker is the person who has the most authority during the buying process. They're the ones who do most of the decision-making when it comes time to make purchases.
So, you should create a persona for what that person is like that includes their demographics and psychographics.
For example, consider:
- Elements of their personality
- How they communicate
- What their emotional needs are
Answering these questions should reveal what that person is like both on the inside and the outside.
Think of the persona like a caricature for the head decision-maker! The clearer the caricature is, the greater your sales team performance will be.
4. Create Your Brand Message
Now that you've put together your UVP, IVP, and buyer persona, you're ready to create a brand message (AKA, the thing that’s central to your strategy and sales success)!
The brand message is the way in which you connect with buyers in your target market. It's how you relate to them; you're not just telling them who you are and what you sell. Instead, you're trying to get them to relate to you so that they say, ‘Hey, they understand me!’, so that they are motivated to buy from you!
In addition to what your brand message says, what is equally important is how you say it.
In many ways, the brand message represents your company's identity. Once you have it put together, your goal should be to try and interject it at every point of the sales process!
Bottom line: The brand message creates an identity for your company to try and relate with your target customers. By doing so, you pull them in and move them down the sales pipeline… and, eventually to a closed deal!
Do the Unique Value & Ideal Customer Make Sense Together?
Before going any farther, ask yourself this question... Do your UVP, IPP, and buyer persona all make sense next to one another?
By that, we mean would it make sense that your ideal client would be drawn to your UVP?
For example, if your UVP is that you make the highest quality sledgehammers yet your target customer is children under the age of twelve, then it doesn't make sense.
Put yourself in your potential customer's shoes... Would the UVP resonate with you?
If so, then you're on the way to creating a solid brand message! If not, then consider going back to the target customer and UVP drawing board before moving forward.
What Is Your Company’s Story - What Do You Want to Be Remembered For?
Take another moment to ask yourself this next question... What do you want your company to be remembered for?
If your company was on its deathbed and you wanted people to say the thing they will remember most about it, what would you want them to say?
By answering this question, you start writing your company’s story, which is at the core of your brand message!
The company story is the thing that you scream from the top of the hill to attempt to resonate with new customers. It incorporates your UVP, and resonates with your ideal prospects on an emotional level.
By emotional level, we mean that it fulfills their emotional desires!
Believe it or not, but even in B2B sales, emotions matter... a lot. While you certainly need to be able to solve your qualified lead's pain points, you must also satisfy their emotional desires!
For example, Amazon solves people's problems by giving them easy access to purchase items off the internet. But, their story is way larger than that! Their story is that they sell basically every item you could possibly think of in the easiest way possible AND get it delivered to you in the least amount of time possible.
That story satisfies people's primal emotional desire to have more things in less time, which makes them one of the most legendary companies in world history.
That story they tell is their message to the world. It solves people's need to have things, but it satisfies them emotionally by giving them more options in what often feels like no time at all!
That is their legacy. That is their story. That is their message.
What story do you want people to be telling about your company in the future?
Whatever it is, you must tell that story in your message to create an identity for your company that resonates emotionally with your target customers.
Get Your Marketing Team In On the Brand Message
Not only should your sales strategy be infiltrated with your message, but so should the marketing strategy.
Sales and marketing strategies go hand in hand. Moreover, they should align so much so that they should reflect one another, particularly in terms of the company story.
Like we mentioned above, everything in sales should come back down to the message, which embodies your message! And, the same can be said for marketing.
5. Set the Stage for Your Sales Process
Like we mentioned above, the strategy lays the foundation for the process.
The key is to try and reinforce your brand message, the central point of the sales strategy, at every possible point in the process!
With a solid strategy, you have a better understanding of what your process needs to look like in order to portray your brand message to close more deals.
Therefore, the last part of the strategy framework is to lay the groundwork for the process.
Here's how to do it:
Create a Simple Sales Process
Consider the sales process your plan of attack to get new customers in your sales funnel. It includes:
- The outreach tactics you will use (sales calls, cold calling, cold emailing, etc.)
- The inbound tactics you will use (LinkedIn, social media, other SAAS services, etc.)
- A full-scale flowchart of your funnel
At the heart of each step of your process should be the brand message!
There are a couple of keys to creating a successful process, including:
- Keeping it simple
- Being consistent with follow-up
- Using automation to save time (investing in a CRM like Salesforce can do wonders!)
The key to a successful process is to keep it simple, just like the strategy. In the same way, the more simple you make it, the less potential problems you create for yourself!
Delegate Parts of the Process to Members of Your Sales Team
Once you have your sales process flowchart put together, delegate certain pieces of it to your sales team members.
For example, whomever is best at cold calling should take that, while whoever dominates sales pitches should cover that!
Think your team could use a little bit of a sales boost? One sure-fire way to get them on the top of their game is to invest in a full-proof sales training program!
Outline Your KPIs
What isn't measured isn't managed. And what isn't managed doesn't help you achieve sales goals!
That being said, determine what your metric-based KPIs are so that you know how to keep track of your sales progress.
Remember, KPIs should be measurable! For example, conversion-rate and click-through-rate are great ways to keep track of whether or not you're on the right track.
Storytelling, Storytelling, Storytelling
Not only should you create a company story, but you should also turn your prospect’s buyer's journey into a story!
We like to call this sales storytelling, and it's a great way to reinforce your own company story while trying to resonate with the prospect’s story.
It's particularly useful during sales pitches, or whenever you get the chance to talk one-on-one with your prospect.
What You Need to Do After Developing the Strategy
Got your strategy completed thanks to our framework? Awesome!
You can't just create the strategy and then get going reaching out to customers. Instead, there are a series of additional steps you need to take first, including:
- Creating the sales process (more in depth than what is above)
- Deciding what sales tactics to use in each step of the process
- Laying the groundwork to have great customer relationships
Once you finish all of these steps, you're ready to start putting your game plan to work.
Thankfully, if you did a good job developing the sales strategy, then these remaining steps will be easy to follow through with!
Final Thoughts on the Sales Strategy Framework Template
Want to close more deals? Want to close deals in less time? Want to close more deals in less time AND stop banging your head on the table while trying to make it happen?
If so, then this B2B sales strategy framework is your key to success.
At this point, you have everything you need to do to develop the perfect strategy, which is the most important piece of the sales puzzle to get straight!
Because you have all the guidance you need in this framework, it’s now only a matter of putting it to work. How much longer are you going to wait to get going?
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