Sales: Plan to get the close

Q. What is sales strategy?
Monday, December 1, 2014

A. Have you ever gone to the store for a specific item, only to return home with a full bag of “stuff” and realize you forgot the one item you went to the store for? Believe it or not, sales representatives have similar occurrences when they make sales calls without a sales strategy.

A sales strategy is the plan that positions a company to achieve a competitive advantage. Sales strategies guide sales representatives to focus a company or product(s) toward specific customers and then communicate with them in a predefined way. A successful sales strategy conveys this, so the sales representative spends time pursuing the correct customers with the correct message.

Be careful not to confuse a sales strategy with a marketing strategy. Marketing strategies look at how you will brand your company, make new referral sources swoon and rekindle interest from existing customers. A sales strategy is your plan to get the close. Your sales strategy may be different for different referral sources and/or products. How you segment your referral sources and products is what allows you to create messaging and differentiation. 

When creating sales strategies, give thought to long-term sales goals and intervals to review sales cycles. By doing so, you will gain a better understanding of seasonal impacts, sales intervals, market trends and motivators. Also, after creating long-term sales goals, identify short-term benchmarks, and use these time frames to review goals, identify spiffs or the effectiveness of incentive packages. This allows for short-term performance measurements of the sales team.

By employing a sales strategy, you can be more certain your sales representative will have focus and direction, and return home with the bread and mustard and not forget the bologna.

Clint Geffert is national vice president of sales for VGM Group, Inc. Reach him at