Sometimes admitting when we are headed in the wrong direction can be difficult. But doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is a waste of time and resources (some might even call it insane).
Learn to recognize when your sales team has veered off the path, and consider tweaking your sales strategy to get them headed back in the right direction.
Here are 6 signs that you may need to rethink your sales strategy:
1. Your Sales and Marketing Departments Are Not Aligned
There’s nothing more frustrating than expecting one thing, and getting another. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens when your marketing department makes promises that your sales team can’t keep.
Maybe marketing is promoting the fact that you are technical experts, while sales is highlighting quick delivery and turn around. Unless the messages your organization is sending out are congruent, the buyers you attract won’t be getting what they came for. Make sure that both departments are on the same page and that the messages are consistent.
2. Your Market Is Too Broad
When you’re canvassing the sales territory, it can be difficult to resist the “see a bear, shoot a bear” strategy. Being completely confident in your product is crucial, but believing that your product is the right fit for every buyer is unrealistic, and can hurt your credibility. It’s also not a good use of your time and resources to attempt to reinvent yourself constantly.
Positioning too broadly diminishes your ability to become a trusted advisor. Instead, look to bring value to a very specific market segment. You’ll become the go-to choice for the niche you’ve focused in on, and you won’t be distracted by the business you’re less qualified for.
3. You’re Selling to a Diminishing Market
You may have taken all the right steps in an effort to pinpoint the market segment you’re after, but that won’t be helpful to you if you’ve landed on a sinking ship. An ever-changing technological landscape means that certain markets will become obsolete as they are replaced with new ones. New regulations and government policies that you may not have been able to predict can throw you off your course, as well. Be prepared to roll with the punches.
After you’ve carved out your niche, make sure that it’s within a market that has potential for growth and expansion. Stay up to date with market research, and prepare to shift sales strategies if your segmented market takes a turn for the worse.
4. You’re Not in a Position to Deliver [Volume, Quality, After Sales Support…] Consistently
Being a solutions provider to a rapidly growing market seems like a situation every sales organization would like to find themselves in. But it’s not uncommon for a company to go after a growing market, only to find themselves unable to keep up with demand they aren’t prepared for. This is often seen with new product launches. If your organization is not ready, sales confidence can be injured—resulting in hesitation to execute. If salespeople see you can’t deliver, they won’t sell it.
If your organization doesn’t include a strong support team, the challenges that ensue can be disruptive and distracting. Make sure that you are in a position to deliver consistently, and to consistently deliver a quality product.
5. Your Sales Reps Can’t Gain Access to Decision Makers
Your sales reps must consistently be in front of qualified decision makers in order to be successful. If they are repeatedly being blocked by a gatekeeper, you need to incorporate methods around gaining access and positioning into your sales strategy.
When shifting strategies, it is important to consider whether your salespeople have the skill and knowledge required to have meaningful business conversations with decision makers in the markets that you want access to. If you shift sales strategies, your reps need to be updated as well.
Positioning the sales team with content marketing and thought leadership will help your salespeople gain access. And if it’s unfamiliar territory, have marketing step up to the plate and help get your people in the door.
6. Your “Gut Feeling” Is Now Giving You an Upset Stomach
Intuition certainly does come into play with business related decisions, but it should never be implemented without some accompanying research to back it up. If you feel as though your sales strategy should be working, but it just isn’t, it may be time to reevaluate your data.
A sales strategy should be a combination of “gut feeling” and research based evidence (that either validates or dismisses that hunch). Relying on either one alone is likely to send your strategy in a misguided direction.