Some business decisions just aren’t easy, like which markets to go after and which customers to say no to. But they can become easier when made in context.
Context matters. In this case, the context I’m referring to is strategy. Many businesses believe they can operate without a clear strategy. While it’s possible, in many cases it doesn’t drive the sales you need. Your strategy is a critical filter for the constant barrage of decisions your sales and marketing teams need to make every day.
How does that work? You have to have the critical components of your strategy clearly defined.
The critical components of strategies that drive sales are:
- Ideal Customer
Your vision is your story about what you are building and why. It is a detailed description of the product, service or technology. It includes the size; including the number of people, locations, units, revenue or anything else that will define your size. It details what it will look like including the product, the packaging, and the locations.
- Is it Apple slick or Google fun?
- Does it include your long-term plan including your exit strategy?
- Are you selling a company, a product or a license?
- Who uses what you are buying?
- What is their world like when they have what you are selling?
Without this clear vision, it becomes difficult to drive sales.Without clear vision, it becomes difficult to drive sales @LizRHeiman Click To Tweet
Values are built, in part, on your “why”. If you understand why you are doing something, you can figure out how you want to do it. I think about values as your “how”.
- Will we do things in ways that are environmentally friendly?
- Will we do things with integrity?
- Will we have fun while we are doing it?
- Will we be changing the world?
- Will we be helping people?
It also helps us understand what kinds of people we want to hire and what kinds of people we want our clients to be. If integrity is our highest value, then we don’t hire someone who talks big and changes their story during an interview. If customer service is our first priority, then we need to hire people who care about other people more than they care about being cutting edge or fun.
When we have problems, our values help us decide how to solve them. Do we fire staff to cut costs or do we focus on revenue generation?
When you know why you are doing things and how you want your company to work, decisions become easier. Decisions like firing a customer or changing your market focus.
Mission is the simple sentence that tells us what we do and who we do it for. It may include the why we do it.
If our mission is clear, it is easy to see when we have gone off mission. If our mission is to provide better fencing to pig farmers, then we will quickly know when we are off mission. Sometimes, we decide that our mission needs to change or expand and so too, may our vision. At least we can explain that and bring the whole team along with us. Salespeople need to be clear on the mission. This guides them to bring in the right types of customers.
Once we know where we are going, why we are doing it and how we want to do things, we can think about the specific path we want to take to get there. Our goals become our benchmarks for our journey. Like when you see the sign that says 500 miles to Cincinnati. Goals let you know you are making progress in the right direction. A good strategy includes goals around:
- Market position
These goals help you establish priorities in a world where we are constantly inundated with external demands. It’s difficult to set reasonable sales goals when the larger company-wide goals are not clear.
Ideal CustomerThe clearer we are about who we are selling to, the better our results will be @LizRHeiman Click To Tweet
The clearer we are about who we are selling to, the better our results will be. Your product is a good fit for certain people. Your company culture and values narrow that definition. By looking at our products and who will get the most benefit from them, can afford to pay for them, will close without too many hurdles, will be a satisfied customer and will buy from us again in the future, we can narrow down who we should be targeting. Both marketing and sales need to be clear on what the ideal customer looks like so they can target them.
Positioning is about how we want to be perceived in the market.
- Are we the low-price leader?
- The environmental option?
- The latest technology?
It’s the story we tell about our company. Our values will help us think about what story we tell about ourselves and our solutions. That story or positioning will help us attract the buyers most likely to be interested in our offer.
Now that we understand the critical pieces of your strategy, I hope you can begin to see how they can be a filter. If your team doesn’t understand your strategy, they may not be able to make good decisions about resource investment, partnerships, product development or even sales strategy.
Values become a filter for solving problems every day. Goals become a filter for resource allocation. Ideal customer helps us focus our marketing and sales teams on the clients we want most. Positioning determines the story we are telling and impact decision making from marketing to ops. All of these things affect decision making in every part of your organization, including sales.
Schedule a time to chat with us and we’ll help you drive sales by using your strategy as a filter.
Latest posts by Liz Heiman (see all)
- How to Use Your Funnel to Grow Your Business - June 20, 2018
- How to Have Values That Support a Winning Sales Culture - May 23, 2018
- How to Use Strategy as a Filter to Drive Sales - April 4, 2018