If your business sales stagnate, it may be time to review your business strategy. Know the aspects that you should take into account
As entrepreneurs, and especially at the beginning of our business, it is very common for us to fall in love with our products or services. Sure, we must be convinced of the value of our offer and its chances of success, but the reality is that nothing sells alone and, in the end, income is fundamental to the success of a company. This is why having a solid business strategy plan is so important.
Defining your business strategy can be particularly complex, especially when you’ve just started as an independent consultant. However, there are approaches to approach this imperative in a methodical and organized manner. To leave nothing to chance, it is above all essential to proceed in stages.
But how to develop it? Where to start, what are the priority tasks and above all, what tools do we need? Here we share the steps recommended by the best experts.
1. Talk to your market and listen to it
The basis of any successful business strategy plan is knowing what the customer wants. As Blair Singer, author of the book Dog Sellers, explains, many entrepreneurs make the mistake of first creating a product and then confirming whether people need it. We also need to identify what obstacles our potential customer faces in buying what they want.
2. Set clear, ambitious … and realistic goals
In many companies (even large ones), commercial managers set goals without prior analysis of the actual or potential market situation. Some are simply based on the results of the previous exercise. Others, to please the CEO or the owner of the company, impose unattainable challenges on their salespeople. Do not fall for these mistakes that, in the long term, will only harm the results, the ability to retain talent and the reputation of the brand.
3. Define achievable goals
The implementation of a commercial strategy plan aims to achieve one or more objectives. In the absence of an objective, it would, therefore, have no meaning. Agreement goals, but how do you set them?
First of all, it is necessary to understand that a “good” objective must meet a certain number of criteria. According to the SMART method, a correct objective must be:
• Specific, that is to say, simple and precise.
• Measurable, to allow you to assess yourself.
• Ambitious, to make the process worthwhile.
• Realistic: the means at your disposal must make it possible to reach it.
• Temporal, therefore precisely defined in time.
The main objective can also be accompanied by secondary objectives that have no other role than to support it, to give it a more precise direction.
Be careful, however, not to multiply the objectives unnecessarily. You would then take the risk of reaching none!
4. Design a detailed plan
All the hours of work you spend thinking about how you are going to sell will help you save time and effort in executing the strategy plan. Once the short, medium and long-term goals have been established, determine what the steps to achieve them will be, what tools you need and what the roles and responsibilities of all team members will be. Don’t just involve salespeople, even a receptionist has a responsibility to generate revenue in a company. And it works in the development and monitoring of processes.
5. Be clear about your objectives
The objectives are the partial goals that must be achieved to achieve greater goals. For example, if you want to reach the highest point of a fence, you must place a ladder and climb the steps, in this case, the highest point of the fence is the goal, and the steps are the targets.
6. Collect the necessary information
The problem with many business plans is that when drawing or executing them, they are not based on market data, vendor performance, or inventory status. This can lead, for example, to a seller signing a large contract and then realizing that the company cannot fulfill the agreed deliveries.
To avoid these problems and make the most of the opportunities, it is important to have a robust business administrative system that allows you to control the cycle of all the company’s purchase-sale operations (such as customers, invoicing, or accounts receivable and payable). ).
7. Form talent
Technology is also impacting how we sell products and services, communicate, and provide good customer service. No business strategy plan can work if you do not have salespeople who are aware of new trends and, above all, who have a positive attitude to adapt to changes. If you already have a good team, invest time and money in their training, motivation and professional growth.
8. Study the market from top to bottom
Market research is an essential first step in any commercial strategy plan, whatever form it may take. This includes gathering information about your competitors, your target, the geographic area concerned or even market trends. Let’s see in more detail what it is all about.
Who are your competitors?
Unless you have the ambition to create a whole new market by launching a revolutionary service, you will necessarily have to confront other salaried employees, self-employed workers and companies. Some of these competitors have been present in the sector for a long time while others are starting. It’s up to you to study their profile, their offers and the market share they occupy.
Which geographic area?
Defining a precise geographic area is of the utmost importance if the service offer that you intend to offer requires that you be present in the same geographic area as your clientele, as is the case with trainers. This step is less crucial if you have the possibility of working remotely.
What are the characteristics of your target?
It is essential to understand your target. What is his typical profile? What are his needs? What are its financial means? Is she satisfied with the current offer? What actions could be taken to increase satisfaction?
So many questions whose answers will allow you to draw a robot portrait of prospects to whom you will offer your services.
What is the trend of the market in which you will intervene?
Is the market you are going to enter growing? Or rather stagnating? Are there new technologies or new concepts in the making that could allow it to find a second wind? You would have understood it; this preliminary study will allow you to assess the viability of the market and to estimate your various interventions in the medium and long term.
9. Create a consistent service offering
After having carefully studied the demand, the current offer and having assessed your business prospects in this specific context, it is high time to put together your service offer!
As a freelancer, you cannot afford to scatter yourself in building an overly supplied offer. Go to the essentials by focusing on your core business, however trying to find out how to stand out from your competitors (extensive experience in the sector, local support, quality of services, mission reports, etc.). Differentiating elements that you must imperatively highlight in your commercial discourse.
Also, when you define your rate schedule or the amount of your hourly rate, remember that you do not collect all of your billing in salary portage.
10. Treat your sales pitch
Now it is a question of defining the process which will lead to the signing of the service contract. Even with many years of experience behind you and a perfect mastery of the subject, the art of convincing a prospect is not given to everyone!
Here are some key principles that will help you prepare an effective business case.
• Start by presenting the reasons for your presence, then your profile, and finally your performance.
• Make sure to expose specific and quantified elements to your prospect.
• Highlight your uniqueness, which sets you apart from your competitors.
• Think about any objections your prospect may have, and prepare your answers carefully.
• Do not monopolize the word: your prospect must have the possibility of expressing his needs, his point of view on your offer.
• Use authority arguments and studies to support your point.
• Adapt your behavior to the prospect’s reactions (on the defensive, awaiting additional elements, etc.)
• Be courteous, even if you are refused.
11. Build customer loyalty
Assuming that it is much more expensive to find new customers than to retain them, it is essential to integrate loyalty actions in your commercial strategy plan.
Be attentive to your customers, proactive, be enthusiastic and passionate during the accomplishment of your missions!
As a general rule, a client satisfied with your services will not take the risk of going elsewhere!
12. Determine your strategies
Strategies are specific ways in which the established objectives are achieved. Develop different strategies depending on the goal and objective, and remember to always have a plan B that anticipates complicated scenarios.
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