Across many industry types and market sectors, the concept of a ‘sales strategy’ is often described as weak. And for some of us, non existent. This is often due to the relative disconnect our understanding of the academic and philosophical world’s concept of ‘strategy’. That is, our sales strategy when applied to the real world of selling.

For example, much of our strategic and marketing thinking in modern MBA programs is developed based on assumptions. That is assumptions gained from fast moving consumer good markets. Indeed, they bear little or no correlation to our business. Additionally, there is no connection either to B2B channels. Nor can we see one in their sales and marketing.

This naïve thinking by some of us can severely disrupt our overall sales plans. Additionally, the ‘off-balance sheet costs’ we see can be astronomical! So, here are  for you some of the costs of using a weak sales strategy on your business.

Sales Strategy - The Complete Guide (With Free Template!)

1. High Turnover Of Salespeople, Because of Inconsistent Direction

The high cost of sales attrition is primarily caused by conflicting expectations between our company leaders. As well as your business’s managers and your sellers. But also on the market dynamic we are currently sitting in.

Firstly, we are often asked as salespeople to spend more time on the road. And most times we have little or no strategic sales plan, direction or suitable training. All of this, while we are trying to keep up to speed with our boss’ expectations. That is, with demands for call reports, record keeping and database entry management into the company’s latest, ‘new’ sales CRM. Oddly, it is supposed to be ‘customer relationship management’ but in essence ends up as our ‘customer records management’. That is because none of us have a clue how to use this a strategic sales enabler or marketing tool.

The direction of PAGA graph is inconsistent with the stream plot · Issue #456 · theislab/scvelo · GitHub

TOOLS AND STRATEGY

Many sales tools we use are costing our company. More over, even when we have some spare time, it’s often taken up with more, unproductive administration. That is, not with more sales. However, for natural sales converters this might appear ok. But many other ‘mediocre’ sellers are stuck in the second and third quartile of the bell curve. That is, with little strategic input or direction. And for them, it can be very costly. For them as well as the company.

Crucially, the inability of many sales managers to translate the company’s business compounds the situation even more. That means, transforming the brand’s marketing plan into a coherent short, medium and long term sales plan.

2. Lost Customers

Should my account managers be ‘hunting’ or ‘farming’?

We have found that many salespeople are confused when it comes to how much time they should direct to prospecting for new customers. That is, instead of looking after the ones they already have. This is especially acute when the company leaders start barking for ‘instant orders’. Or even more so, when there is a temporary blockage in the sales pipeline (aka weak order intake).

Consequently, what happens is they are told to go out and get new business from the ‘x’ market. But then they find the market has suddenly dried up. Next, they are then told to try and maximise as many sales as they can from their existing customers. However, when they finally go back to these customers they find that they have defected to the competition. Crucially, when asked why, the customer says, “well I haven’t seen anyone from your company for quite some time, so I took up the next best offer”. So not only did the sales person lose a customer, but seemingly to an inferior competitor. All as a result of failing to spend enough time with them or care enough to keep the marriage alive.

Put simply, they were miss-directed by their leaders because they didn’t have or communicate effectively enough. Ultimately, they did not communicate their sales strategy.

sales growth margin

3. Weak Sales Growth and Margins

Often when sales people aren’t given enough direction or a consistent sales strategy, they end up just selling to their comfort zone. They need a sales strategy that is linked to a well-engineered marketing strategy. Otherwise they will end up promoting only the familiar products to their customer buddies.

Unknowingly, they haven’t realised, or in fact been taught, that the products they are selling are legacy and outdated. Additionally, it is often from a weak customer demand. More over, they are trying to sell these products and services into a declining or static market.

WHAT HAPPENS?

Well, this causes pressure on sales volumes. This is as a result of increased competitor activity from competitors in these markets. In turn this produces a downwards price pressure which will ultimately impact sales margins.

That being said, did you know that if your salespeople dropped their sales prices on average by just 10% with a gross sales margin of 20% they would have to find another 10% more sales volume to provide the equivalent gross contribution? Crucially, that is not easy to find this volume in depressed markets!

So if a manager has not communicated and followed through on their pricing strategy, then weak growth and margins could result.

4. Sales Productivity Decline Caused by ‘Digital Disruptions’ + Meetings

For sales teams today, there is a lot of unintended distractions that take the focus away from the important tasks. That is tasks that a successful key account manager has to do to grow the account.

Salespeople and account managers are simply flooded with too much unnecessary and distractive data. And also an excess of sales tools. On top of that, tools that most don’t know how to use properly. But used effectively, these tools enable them to construct meaningful and consistent growth strategies with their accounts.

DISTRACTED AND NOW CONFUSED

They are also confused with inconsistent direction from their leaders. One minute they are told to increase product penetration of x, y, z products with dedicated sales promotions. And then next they are told to focus on customer satisfaction surveys of their top 20 accounts.

Additionally, here is another common ‘distraction’. That is the times when account managers are asked to drop everything at a moment’s notice and line up a series of meeting with the key players of their key accounts. Most likely because their overseas vice presidents will be in town shortly and they want to meet these very important customers.

Interestingly, many of these managers just happen to be in Australia during their winter months. They then leave afterwards back to their home lands, without any follow up. What a waste of time and money!

PICKING UP THE MESS

After all of this, the account manager is expected to pick up the rhythm again where they left off a month earlier. Then they are expected to get back to implementing what they was doing before the disruption.

Overall, a weak sales strategy can cost much more than just money. It can be as a result of disruptive digital technology, misdirection from higher-ups, or lack of consistent goal setting. Keep updated because in our next blog post, we will divulge the solutions that will enable account managers to address these issues. And ultimately, implement a strategic sales strategy for your business.

To learn more about the leading Sales and Negotiation Training program in Australia, contact us today. Call 1300-833-574 or email us at info@healthybusinessbuilder.com .

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