Mercer’s Shawn Rossi discussed sales strategy development in a recent webcast, Sales Planning and Strategy: Optimizing Resources, Tactics, and Outcomes. Sales strategy, says Rossi, answers three questions: What, How and Where
What is your growth target? Many factors impact this – including budget resources, past achievement, and demand projections. Rossi explains how managers should analyze these variables to inform realistic sales growth targets aligned with business objectives.
Sales managers should clearly outline the ideal levels of retention, expansion and acquisition necessary to achieve optimal growth. He recommends determining these targets based on expected returns for each area’s investments. For insight, review past performance and identify particularly strong or weak areas. For example, if your sales declined last year due to poor customer retention, your future period resource allocation priorities should logically focus on maintaining profitable customer relationships. Common sense – but often overlooked by managers too quick to focus on new growth areas.
Quantifying retention, expansion and acquisition goal targets within customer segments provides management with essential context for addressing “where” strategy should focus. Some companies may focus on high-value customer expansion; or invest heavily in new client acquisition. Alternatively, firms may emphasize growth within a specific target market or geography, while focusing on retention in core business. Rossi recommends that sales managers analyze patterns within each customer segment in order to determine strategies that yield optimal return.