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What is a Sales Strategy?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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A sales strategy is a plan for bringing sales into a business and keeping those sales consistent to build the business. It is usually partnered with a marketing strategy, used to build awareness of a company and generate customer relationships with the goal of turning those relationships into sales with the sales strategy. Businesses of all sizes can benefit from developing a policy for handling sales and increasing frequency of sales and business consultants are available to assist people with sales development.

In a sales strategy, people at a business think about how to generate sales and close deals, while also working on customer retention to get people using the company in the future and thinking of the company when they have new needs. The goal is to turn marketing leads and general customer interest into actual sales, while working with the marketing side of the sales team to develop and maintain a specific image and build the company's branding.

Sales strategies vary from company to company. They can include tactics like following up on leads with personal contacts, authorizing company representatives to make concessions to bring deals to a close, and using promotional tools to increase sales. The marketing team may suggest discounts and other features to bring people into a store, for example, while the sales team works on a store layout that encourages people to buy once they walk in the door.

When designing a sales strategy, companies must think about how it will be implemented and develop a plan that people who work for the company will be able to follow and enact in real life. Suggesting, for example, that companies follow up on leads with personal phone calls only works if there is a sales team big enough to handle this task. An ambitious sales strategy can look excellent on paper and during the planning phases, but if it is not feasible, a company will not be able to address stagnant or unsatisfactory sales numbers.

Numerous books on sales strategy are available, discussing different approaches and providing things like sample plans, templates for personal contacts with leads, and other materials. These can be useful tools for people during the research phase of developing a strategy. Hiring a sales consultant can also be beneficial, particularly for larger companies where investing in consulting services is more likely to pay off. People who own franchises or dealerships can sometimes ask the parent company for assistance with developing marketing and sales plans.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a SmartCapitalMind researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By oasis11 — On Aug 04, 2011

@SauteePan - I agree and also think an important sales strategy includes asking for referrals from satisfied customers.

This is the best way to get additional business because you already have a customer that will vouch for your company. I think that seeking referrals from existing clients should be a part of all sales strategies.

That is what I used to do.

By SauteePan — On Aug 04, 2011

@GreenWeaver -I remember when I worked as an Account Executive for a staffing firm; we always made our sales calls early in the morning so that we could go to our appointments in the afternoons.

Since we were a large company serving a lot of divisions we were able to cross sell our services to other managers in a company that already did business with one of our divisions. These warm calls were easy to make because if a company is already doing business with a department or division of our company we already had some credibility with the company and it is easier to sell to them.

I also focused on new accounts by cold calling. We would sometimes get lists of companies from our boss, but sometimes I would find companies on my own and would call on them. I think that you really have to be creative in order to develop your sales and a certain percentage of your business should come from new customers.

By GreenWeaver — On Aug 03, 2011

@Subway11 - I think that in businesses that are supported by retail markets you really have to have ideas to get the walk in traffic when there are no ongoing promotions.

This is a challenge because when a retail store finishes a big sale, they are traditionally slower the following weeks which is something that stores try to counteract but is not always easy.

You also have to consider a sales strategy to counteract other competitors promotions or grand openings that might hurt your business.

By subway11 — On Aug 03, 2011

I remember when I worked in the cosmetics business we would always tie in promotional events throughout the year and tie it into special advertising both in television and in print ads.

Our biggest sales event was the Gift with Purchase that we had twice a year. During these promotions we always used an additional team of makeup artists throughout all of the accounts. We would also offer other promotional events and product launches in which we would have the sales associates schedule appointments with customers and offer them promotional samples as well as a complete makeover.

This was a way the counters continued to develop their business and introduce customers to new products. One of the main sales strategies that my company focused on was selling treatment products. Since these products were unique to our brand and the customer would have to come back to replenish their supply, the company felt that developing sales quotas in this area would also help develop sales and market share.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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