B2B sales strategies are absolutely crucial to sales success, regardless of what your definition of sales success is. However, they’re perhaps the most important when it comes to achieving sales growth.
Unfortunately though, when it comes to dominating sales growth, most sales leaders don’t know where to start; they know that they need a strategy, but putting one together and then executing feels like being tasked with creating something out of nothing.
To help you execute a strategy with the objective of sales growth, I’m sharing my B2B sales strategy framework for sales growth and overall business growth. This framework will act as a guideline for putting your sales strategy to work.
Without a strategy and a framework to execute it:
- Your sales team members are lost;
- The selling process gets messy; and
- Sales growth becomes unnecessarily complicated.
Having a plan isn’t enough. In addition to a plan, you need action. Having a strategy framework will give you the guidance you need to take action!
What Are B2B Sales Strategies?
A B2B sales strategy is a sales team’s overarching plan of action to achieve a defined sales objective.
In many cases, that objective is sales growth.
Sales strategies help get every team member on the same page to focus purely on that one common but important objective.
What Is a Strategy Framework?
A strategy framework is essentially the sales strategy put into words on paper. It is the guidelines outlining how to formally execute the strategy.
With firm guidelines on how to execute the strategy, the implementation isn’t as choppy. Instead, it gets streamlined.
Whenever a sales team member encounters a challenge during the sales process, the answer to that challenge is often outlined in the strategy framework.
Regardless of what your sales objective is, be it sales growth or something else, I strongly suggest writing out a strategy framework. Even if you have a small team, getting all of the ideas down in writing will undoubtedly help you and your team.
B2B Sales Strategy for Startups - Kickstart Sales Growth
If you’re a startup business, then you’ve come to the right place.
Because unless you start making sales, your business technically doesn’t even get off the ground.
Thankfully, a sales strategy for sales growth is just what you need to grow your entire business!
Sales Growth = Business Growth
Let’s say that you’re a mature business and not a startup... does sales growth matter as much for the mature business as the startup?
In short: Yes.
Because ultimately, just about every type of business growth comes down to sales growth. Not only that, but business improvement comes down to sales growth.
Think about it: Want to expand out of your current market? Make sales in a completely new market. Ready to invest in an office space for your team members? Make more sales to increase revenue. Want to invest in new technology to streamline your business processes? Make more sales.
Moreover, sales growth isn’t reserved for startups or newer businesses, rather, it’s for any business that wants to grow in almost any way, shape or form.
The B2B Sales Strategy Framework for Sales Growth
Here is exactly what your B2B sales strategy framework with the objective of sales growth should look like. This framework will work as the guidelines on how to execute your strategy. In the end, executing the strategy will lead to sales growth!
Like I said above, sales growth isn’t just for startups or new businesses. Rather, it’s for any business, regardless of how old it is. Therefore, this strategy framework is for everyone.
If sales growth is your objective, start with this strategy framework.
1. Clarify Your Unique Value Proposition & Potential Customers
Do you ever feel as if you’re swimming in the middle of a sales ocean not knowing exactly what you’re doing or why you’re doing it?
If so, you’re not alone! Many sales leaders regularly stop and ask themselves whether or not what they’re doing even makes any sense.
If you’re in the same bucket, the likely reason why you feel as if you’re in the middle of a sales ocean is because you lack clarity. Without clarity, it’s impossible to ever know what to do. It’s like getting in a car trying to drive somewhere on a foggy day when you can’t even see a few feet in front of you.
The first part of your sales strategy framework is clarifying your company’s path forward by clarifying the unique value proposition and target customers.
Unless you start with clarity, the rest of the strategy will fall through.
What Does Your Company Stand For?
To begin with, if your company was a person, what would they stand for, what would their personality be like, and what mission would they be on?
It’s important to think about your company as if it were a person because, ultimately, leads make purchasing decisions as if they were buying from a person instead of a company.
For example, a particular prospect might be more inclined to purchase your product or service if they align with the company’s voice and/or style.
That said, create an outline of what your company truly stands for.
Who Are Your Dream Clients?
Next up, identify your ideal prospective customers. These are the customers you’ll be filling your sales pipeline with during lead generation.
I suggest putting together an:
- Ideal prospect profile; and
- Ideal buyer persona
An ideal prospect profile outlines your target B2B companies. These target companies have a particular pain point you can solve, align with your company’s values, and are likely ready, willing, and able to purchase your product or service.
An ideal buyer persona profiles the decision-makers at your target B2B companies. In a way, the buyer persona is more like a caricature that outlines the personality of the person with decision-making authority. Come lead generation, these are the people who you will appeal to.
Ultimately, these dream clients should end up as qualified leads in your sales pipeline who eventually convert into paying customers.
What Factors Help You Stand Out From Your Competitors?
If there was one factor about your business that helped you stand out from your competitors, what would it be?
To take things deeper, if you were to ask one of your current customers what makes your business different from the rest of the field, what do you think they would say?
This factor is your unique value proposition (UVP), and not only does it make your company stand out from competitors, but it’s a particular factor that appeals specifically to your target customers.
Unfortunately, many sales reps have a challenging time saying precisely what their company’s UVP is.
To prevent that from happening in your business, outline the UVP so that it’s clear to everybody on your sales team.
Outline Your Products and Services
Next, outline the features of each of your products and services, along with pricing for each.
You want to get as detailed as possible with each product or service so that every salesperson on the team has an opportunity to study them inside and out.
Most importantly, outline the key outcomes that each product or service creates. For example, if you sell content marketing services, your services obviously solve a prospect’s pain point of poor marketing content, but the outcome it creates could include increased brand awareness and/or inbound channels for potential buyers to enter the pipeline.
With each product and service outlined, every sales team member should study them to prepare to sell!
Outline Your Sales Tools
Finally, select your sales tools and outline clear directions on how to use each of them correctly. By sales tools, I’m talking particularly about a CRM software and prospecting platform.
Unfortunately, many sales teams get themselves into a mess because team members incorrectly assume they know how to use the tools.
On top of outlining directions on using each tool, I suggest putting together a best-use practices outline for team members to follow. That way, they not only know how to use the tools, but also how to use them more efficiently.
2. Outline Your B2B Sales Processes & Set Your Sales Approach
Now that you’ve got clarity, you know which direction to head in. With a direction to head in, you’re ready to outline the steps you need to take to close deals. By that, I mean that you’re ready to formulate your sales processes and sales approach.
This is where the bulk of the sales strategy lives! It’s where you outline the actual plan of attack to capture leads and close new deals.
Think of this section of your strategy as a blueprint for sales success. With a blueprint, the challenging task of securing deals is broken down so that it’s simple to tackle.
Set a Defined Sales Process
To begin without, create a well-defined sales process for your team to follow. Also known as a sales cycle, the key to success is making your selling process as short and sweet as possible!
The shorter and sweeter your process is, the better it is.
This is where many sales leaders get tripped up: They’re so used to following five, six, or even seven-step selling processes that they find it extremely difficult to crunch their process.
However, I’m telling you that your selling process shouldn’t include more than a few steps. In fact, top sales professionals keep their sales process to just four key steps, including:
- Lead generation - siphoning leads into the pipeline
- Lead qualification and hooking interest
- Analyze the pain point and propose potential solutions
- Final sales pitch - deal closes
By following this straightforward process, sales pros regularly close out deals within a few weeks.
The shorter and sweeter your process is, the more effective it is!
Delegate Different Phases of the Selling Process to Sales Team Members
Oftentimes, beautifully developed sales processes turn into messes because sales leaders don’t delegate accordingly.
When a leader doesn’t delegate, nobody on the sales team knows what they need to be working on, nor do they get the chance to become pros at any particular piece of the process.
Once you develop your process, it’s time to delegate, delegate, delegate!
For example, if one particular team member is inclined to cold calling potential B2B customers, let them alone with another team member to manage lead generation. Meanwhile, you can have other team members managing B2B marketing.
Set explicit standards for who is in charge of which task, and then back off to allow team members to really make those tasks their own.
How Will You Hook Prospects During Sales Lead Generation?
Next, think about how your sales team will hook prospects during sales lead generation.
When it comes down to it, you can’t achieve sales success unless you can generate new leads, and you can’t generate leads unless you hook leads by capturing their attention.
When developing your hook, consider what will capture a lead in your target market’s attention. More specifically, consider how you can immediately increase them in value.
Align Your Marketing Strategy With Your Sales Strategy
Finally, get your B2B sales team and marketing team on the same page by aligning strategies.
Since sales and marketing inevitably overlap in so many ways, get both teams together to coordinate on the game plan.
That way, both teams are throwing out the same messages to potential B2B buyers!
3. Set Goals & KPIs
Finally, the last piece of your sales strategy framework for sales growth is setting concise sales goals and KPIs.
Each individual goal should help fulfill a small piece of your sales process blueprint.
Additionally, you need to decide which metrics you’ll use to monitor the success of your sales strategy. Because we’re talking about sales strategies for sales growth, obviously your metrics will be sales growth related.
Ultimately, this last piece of the strategic framework should help tie the bow on top of your strategy!
Set Realistic, Energy-Based Sales Goals and Expectations
Do you want to know why even the most dedicated business-to-business sales professionals struggle to accomplish their sales goals? It has nothing to do with not working hard enough.
Rather, the primary reason why is because sales leaders consistently set unrealistic sales goals. More specifically, they set specific sales goals that require significantly more energy to accomplish than initially estimated.
For example, a sales leader might set a goal to cold call 20 prospects within 3 hours. However, the leader doesn’t take into account how much energy it actually takes to call each individual prospect. As a result, the sales rep in charge of that goal doesn’t accomplish it and they feel like a failure.
That said, the key to setting specific sales goals with your team is to assess just how much energy it will realistically take to accomplish each goal. That way, you and your team members aren’t left feeling like you’ve failed when you were actually just trying your best.
Outline clear expectations for your team members to manage their sales goals!
How Will You Measure Progress?
How will you know that your sales strategy is actually helping you make more sales in less time if you aren’t tracking progress?
Before putting your strategy to work, establish metric-based sales growth KPIs to track growth.
I suggest tracking your weekly sales growth rate, which is how many additional sales you make in a weekly period. Over time if sales growth is on an upward trajectory, your rate should increase.
You can calculate your growth rate by subtracting net sales of last week from net sales of the current week and then dividing that value by the previous week’s net sales.
Additional KPIs I suggest monitoring are sales pipeline velocity and prospect-to-customer conversion rate.
Sales pipeline velocity tells you how long on average it takes to convert a prospect into a customer. Second, prospect-to-customer conversion rate tells you what proportion of prospects ultimately become paying customers.
Ultimately, you should strive to make the sales pipeline velocity metric as big as possible and strive to achieve a 100% conversion rate.
How Will Team Members Manage Objections?
Next, your sales team members will almost certainly face at least one customer objection during the selling process.
Therefore, to give them a hand, outline a set of potential customer objections and tactics to manage those objections. That way, they’re prepared for what might happen and are armed with the necessary tools to handle the objection.
For example, a common objection that just about every B2B company is likely to encounter at one point or another is, “Why would we pick you over X company for a solution?”
A great way to manage this objection is by turning the tables back on the customer to uncover why they’re asking that question in the first place. Then, once the sales team has revealed the real reason why the lead is really asking the question, they can address the objection adequately.
Set a Regular Weekly Sales Team Meeting
Lastly, you can’t just develop a sales strategy framework, hand it over to team members, and then let them have at it. Instead, hand over the framework and then meet regularly to discuss progress and boost team motivation.
I suggest setting one hour aside every Monday morning to have a team huddle. That huddle should take place at the same time every week and happen every week.
During that one hour, you should:
- Address any overarching problems;
- Discuss any changes to the strategy; and
- Have every team member say a win they experienced the previous week.
Overall, the idea is to have one session every week to help get everybody on the same page. Because, unless everybody is on the same page, the strategy will not have any potency.
Final Thoughts on B2B Sales Strategy Framework for Sales & Business Growth
Remember, sales growth success isn’t a matter of having an awesome, foolproof plan. Instead, it’s a matter of having an awesome plan plus taking action according to that plan. This is where most sales leaders lose their footing: They’ve got a plan, but knowing how to execute it is a different story.
Thankfully, this B2B sales strategy framework helps sales leaders regain their footing! This framework will help leaders like you know how to execute according to their plan.
Bottom line: Sales growth is within your reach! Follow this framework and then put it to work to achieve sales growth. How much longer will you wait to take action?
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