Sales Management – 3 Elements to a Good Sales Strategy

August 12th, 2018

Sales organizations run a huge risk of marginalizing their results if sales management and their corresponding sales activities aren’t part of a larger sales strategy.  In our years of working with challenged sales organizations of all shapes and sizes, we’ve learned there are three critical elements to having an effective sales strategy, and without a strategic approach to sales, results will likely be mediocre.  Sales strategy is broken down into three major elements; 1) clarity of the target market, 2) having the right sales tools, and 3) a strong plan for execution.  This article provides insight into these three elements.

Clarity of the Target Market

If you get this wrong, everything else will be far more challenging than necessary.  The key to sales success and market penetration is to find customers who have problems that your products and services can solve – ideally in a unique way.  This is the essence of marketing and sales strategy.

Our research tells us that the single most important characteristic of a sales professional is the ability to solve the customer’s problem.  If your customer is convinced you can solve his/her problem, that customer will likely pay you handsomely for the value your bring.

Here’s a process for identifying your best target market…

  1. What problem(s) does your product service solve?
  2. Who has the problems that you identified in #1 above?
  3. Among the people in #2, who is challenged the most by the problem?
  4. How does your product/service solve the problem better than other competitors with like products/services?

In addition to finding solid answers to these questions, you also need to think about how your target customers shop, evaluate and purchase solutions like yours.  Where do they go to gain information that helps them solve their problem?

Finally, there are issues associated with budgets and the buying process.  If you select a target market that doesn’t have the economics (budget) to invest in your product/service, you’ll be working hard without much success.  Also, if your customer’s buying process is complicated and fragmented, it might take a lot of sales effort to make a sale.

Go through the process of asking the above questions about your target market, and give consideration to some of the other characteristics that go along with the target market you are considering.   

Sales Tools

Once you know who you are going after, your finely honed target market, now you need to make sure you have the sales tools to land the deals.  Some of the sales tools to invest in are as follows:

Prospect list – Now that you have identified your finely honed target market, have you acquired a list of who they are?  Not having a list of the specific customers in your target market will prevent you from being effective at outbound prospecting.

Effective messaging – Before you begin prospecting and talking to your target market, do you know what’s important to them – what they value?  Do you know what their frustrations are about their current situation that you can help solve? If you don’t, it’s wise to do some research into your target market to understand their emotions, frustrations and value drivers.

Company information – With a solid understanding of your target market’s problems, emotions and value drivers, you can begin to develop talking points.  These talking points will become an important element in your calling scripts, your Power Statement, your elevator pitch, your website, your LinkedIn profile and all the other offline and online materials you have.  

Sales objections – As you gain a deeper understanding of your target market, identify the most frequent three objections to buying from you.  One of the most effective ways to overcome sales objections and resolve concerns, is to predict what they are and prepare how you’ll respond to them.  Factoring in your talking points, and the features and benefits of your offerings will create a winning formula to overcoming objections.

Sales process – Develop a sales process that adds value to your customers and enables you to communicate your story.  If you are prospecting, consider a short, introductory meeting as a first step. Over the years, I’ve migrated from a relatively short sales process to a multi-step one because it showed more value to the customer and enhanced my opportunity to collaborate with my customers.  Upon ensuring the customer is always getting value and incorporating collaboration time, now map out the steps in your process.

Solutions – Ultimately you have to decide what you are selling.  Are their options, packages and/or standard offerings? I encourage you to refine your offerings so they appeal directly to your target market’s main problems and frustrations.  In the B2C sales environment, you may want to offer more of an ala carte list of items. In the B2B space, I’d suggest you consider more comprehensive solutions that solve the problem.

Execution of the Plan

You’ve identified your target market and you’ve prepared your sales tools.  Now it’s time to get into action. This is usually the most difficult part because it requires discipline and hard work.

The first step in execution is identifying your sales activities.  I always tell people “you can’t do a goal – you can do an activity.”  Activities are behaviors, the things you do, the actions you take to prospect and make sales.  All the good planning in the world will go to waste if you don’t behave properly, take the appropriate actions and do so in a consistent way.

Determine the top 3-5 weekly activities and actions that if done well and consistently will lead to sales.  These activities might include going to networking events, connecting with people on LinkedIn, making outbound calls, dropping into businesses, hosting events, and following up on prospects in your sales pipeline.  

Identify activities over which you have full control.  For example, having 3 meetings a week with prospects is not something over which you have full control – you are dependent on someone else.  Going to a networking event and walking out with 3 new contacts is something over which you have almost total control. Making x number of outbound calls per week is something over which you have control.  

Whatever weekly sales activities you choose, they should be things that lead to generating sales, things over which you have almost total control, and things that if done well and consistently on a weekly basis will generate leads and sales.


Your sales strategy consists of three elements; 1) identifying a clear, finite target market, 2) gathering the sales tools you’ll need to navigate the lead generation and sales process, and 3) an execution plan that consists of the best weekly sales activities that will result in lead generation and sales.  All three elements are equally important, and no one of them should be missed when developing a successful sales strategy.

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