If you’re a product-focused business, selling your product should be a priority. Without consistent sales, you may end up without the income you need to keep your business running.

To ensure consistent sales, many businesses build a sales strategy. A sales strategy is simply a plan put in place to help businesses create achievable sales goals, and better understand the process they need to follow to make more sales. 

In this article, we’ll explain why having a strategy is important, and then provide a five-step plan for building a sales strategy. The steps we’ll focus on are:

  • Assess your current position
  • Build a customer profile
  • SWOT analysis
  • Set clear goals
  • Create an action plan

Why sales strategies are important

Put simply, sales strategies are important because they help your company sell more effectively. Having a clear path forward helps you achieve your goals, similar to the benefits that come with having a business plan or a financial plan.

Sales strategies are great to refer to in future, if you feel your sales are dipping and you’re unsure of what methods your company should use to help the situation. They can remind you of important factors like your target market or your sales goals for the month. 

How to build a sales strategy in five steps

1) Assess your current position

Before you can build a new and improved sales strategy, you need to analyse where you are with regards to sales and income. By understanding how your business is doing now, you’ll be able to create more realistic goals for the future.

Ask yourself questions to help uncover important data, such as:

  • How much did your business sell in the last year?
  • Who did you sell to? Do you sell to many individuals, or make large sales to organisations?
  • Is repeat business likely?
  • Which product sold best? Which sold worst?
  • Did you create a sales strategy last year? Was it effective?
  • What has changed in your business and in the economy?
  • What resources and connections do you have that will support your sales strategy?
  • If the required support doesn’t exist, what additional support will you need?

2) Build a customer profile

Once you establish a solid understanding of your business, it’s time to try to understand your customers better. You can do this by creating a customer profile.

A customer profile is essentially a list of characteristics for people you’d most like to sell your products to. Building a customer profile might mean surveying your customers to find out their age, location, and details on their lifestyle.

It’s important to regularly review and update a customer profile so you can make sure it’s accurate. You might also want to create multiple profiles if there are a few different demographics you’d like to target.

3) SWOT analysis

A SWOT analysis is a way of assessing your business, where SWOT stands for:

  • Strengths: The aspects of your business you can rely on and have invested heavily in.
  • Weaknesses: The parts of your business you’re unsure of that may need more investment or restructuring.
  • Opportunities: Resources or contacts available to your business that could increase your chances of success.
  • Threats: Potential problems that might arise in future or existing problems you’re yet to solve.

Completing this analysis may involve using information gathered during the first step, but the aim here is to identify strengths, weaknesses, etc that are specifically related to sales.

Along with the sales goals you set, the SWOT analysis will likely be the part of your strategy you refer to the most. It will provide a clear picture of both the potential problems your might encounter and the resources available to deal with those problems.

You may also need to update the SWOT analysis over time, as you’ll likely shore up the parts of your business that were formerly weaknesses and find new opportunities as you expand.

4) Set clear goals

A key problem with many new businesses is that they have unachievable or vague objectives. One of your main aims in building a sales strategy is to create a set of clear, achievable sales goals.

The specifics of these goals will be unique to your business, as they should combine information like your past monthly sales and any sales-related expenses. It’s best to measure sales in money rather than in the number of units sold. 

The sales goals you produce using your strategy won’t just impact the way you sell to clients.

 These goals will affect the production and marketing sections of your business as well, so make sure the goals are clear to any partners, contacts, or employees that are related to these departments.

5) Create an action plan

Once you’ve gathered and organised the relevant information, the final part of your sales strategy is to decide on your next steps going forward.

A good way to create the plan is to think of the previous steps. For instance, think about how you would use the opportunities listed in your SWOT analysis to achieve the sales goals you’ve set. 

Remember that you should be able to start work on the different tasks of your action plan immediately. This is what differentiates them from sales goals. 

For instance, the first tasks on your action plan might include brainstorming new marketing ideas or speaking with manufacturers to order more units of the product you’re hoping to sell.

Managing sales revenue

More sales means a higher income, which means you’ll need to spend more time on your financial management. This can cause problems, as bookkeeping can be a complicated process if you’re not experienced in accounting.

To make bookkeeping easier, consider using Countingup.

Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app. It automates complicated bookkeeping admin for thousands of self-employed people across the UK. 
Start your three-month free trial today.