4 Fundamental questions defining the sales strategy
Sales is a process of asking questions and finding out the right level of information from your prospects about their needs, so you can deliver them the optimal solution. But before getting started, the organization needs to answer some fundamental, interconnected questions first:
Why are we in business?
What are we offering?
Who do we offer it to?
How are we doing this?
Let’s take a deeper look at these questions.
1. Why are we in business?
This is the most critical question of all: what is the purpose of our business, what do we stand for? Defining its purpose is hard, yet very necessary. A McKinsey study (https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/purpose-shifting-from-why-to-how) revealed that 82% of employees found it important that their company has a purpose and 72% believed the purpose should receive more weight than profit, yet only 42% felt their organizations’ purpose statements drove impact. The purpose not only helps to inspire & engage employees, it also attracts and binds customer and other partners in the organization’s eco-system. Defining why the organization is in business will be the key building block on which the company’s values, culture and business & sales strategies will be constructed upon, and which determine the way the organization will create value in the future.
2. What are we offering?
When asked this question, the answer will frequently be about the product or service being delivered by the organization. This might actually be rather short-sided. For example, is an automobile manufacturer selling a car, or mobility, or even freedom? Or is a library renting out books, or delivering information or educational insights & development? Although defining this too broadly is likely to create issues in positioning and accurately addressing the target audience selection, a too-narrow definition of the offering takes away the opportunity to diversify in different markets or to different applications or usage models. Finding the right balance is not easy, but when done well, it helps define the organization’s USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and sets it apart from its competitors.
3. Who do we offer it to?
We mentioned it in the previous paragraph, depending on how the organization defines its offering, the target audience may expand or shrink, or may have different characteristics. The “what” question has a significant impact, as it will influence the total addressable market (or TAM, reflecting the total market’s revenue opportunity available for a product or service) and the total serviceable addressable market (SAM, being the total market revenue opportunity for the organization’s product or service, determined by its potential buyers). In order to be able to make accurate business forecasts, create reliable, realistic budgets & targets, and position the offering correctly in the market, the organization needs to put a great deal of thought into who its target audience(s) will be and what the key characteristics of this/these customer group(s) are.
4. How are we doing this?
Once the organization understands why it is in business, what it is offering and to whom, finding a path to successfully delivering the offering to the market is the last fundamental question to answer. The organization will have to reflect on how it wants to position the product or service in the market, and versus competitors’ offerings, how it wants it pricing model to work and how it can enable sales through utilizing its sales, marketing & other customer-facing teams.
I2ACT Canada has extensive experience sales management and strategy setting in small, medium and multinational corporations. We can actively assist your organization in defining your purpose, determining the right product or service offering, selecting the most profitable target markets and create the optimal go-to-market strategy to drive results. If you want to learn more about the sales management services I2ACT Canada can offer and the solutions & skills it can bring to your organization, visit the website or contact Dirk Baerts.