Imagine you are given a product to sell. Where do you start? Maybe marketing has put together a competitive landscape. Your job is not only to sell but sell the shit out of it. You are left as the salesperson to figure out how to sell the product. Good luck. Does anyone see a problem with this?
The problem is as a company you are hoping the salespeople know what to do. That’s why you hired them anyway, right? By not taking a deeper look at the nuances of selling, you are leaving money on the table. You are not maximizing the potential. You are leaving yourself vulnerable to being “outsold.” Vulnerable to competitors. That is why a sales strategy is so critical to reaching higher without wasting money.
Frontline Sales Strategy?
I hesitate to call this a sales strategy. A sales strategy means something different to different people. It could mean deciding whether to go with direct salespeople or a distribution channel. Or possibly how a specific territory may be split up. Who gets the big anchor accounts? Who goes after geography? It’s too general.
That is not the sales strategy I am talking about. The most critical component of any company strategy should be incorporating a well thought out and adaptable frontline sales strategy. Frontline is the salespeople in the field. The grinders. The callers. The ballers. The road warriors. The hustlers who get up every day and hit the pavement looking for the next sale. They are the frontline. What we go through on a day to day basis is rough. Exhausting at times. Yet at the same time hectic. A good hectic. By adding frontline my intention is to emphasize the importance of focusing on the salespeople in the field. Not a corporate sales strategy.
All too often the battle being fought in the trenches goes unnoticed. There are too many companies relying on hope. As you know hope is not a strategy.
A frontline sales strategy is important and very critical to excelling in sales without much-added cost. I always ask “What is the difference between your product and the competition?” I strongly believe, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! People will spew off better specs, faster, easier to use, etc. Those things are important, however, the main difference is…..YOU. The salesperson is the most important factor in the sale.
Another one of my strong beliefs is there is no such thing as B2B. I really don’t like that term. There is no such thing as a business to business selling. Intel doesn’t sell to Apple. Slack doesn’t sell to a startup. The deals are negotiated by people. Person to person or P2P is much more appropriate. A sales strategy is far more effective with a micro view rather than a high-level macro view. I caution though micro doesn’t mean micro-management. That is the last thing you want to do to your top salespeople is kill their freedom.
A simple example is looking at differences between an iPhone and Android. Not really much different but asking the question of how a person uses the phone leads to a different conversation. On an iPhone, you can’t attach an excel file to an email for example. For work, you might find that important.
Frontline Sales Strategy Suggestions
- Tactics — A method is working better than others. An example could be to bundle products together. Gives customer a complete solution.
- Tips — Feedback from sales on a particular improvement.
- Gotchas — How to handle objections? Or how to handle product flaws. Delivery issues.
- How to convey a confidential roadmap
If you agree P2P is important, then the next question is why isn’t there more emphasis on developing better frontline sales strategies? Most likely people don’t know this problem exists. Maybe. Or because it’s hard to do. It requires continuous attention and refinement. Good collaboration is necessary for it to be effective. Management of marketing to engineering to sales need to be on the same page.
This isn’t about tricking customers or manipulating the conversation. This is about understanding the customer requirements and constantly aligning your products and strategy around those requirements. Ultimately improving the sales process and securing more business. Make it rain!