How can one define a coherent and effective business strategy? The issue of consistency is important because the choices must fit into the plan, positioning and values defined at the highest level of the company. We can imagine that a company positioned on know-how and competence will inevitably achieve its goals.
The business strategy is a fundamental element to ensure the growth of a business. The strategy consists in designing an offer that will exploit a set of business means in order to get as close as possible to the expectations of the target customers.
Let’s discuss some key points of an effective business strategy.
1. Components of a Business Strategy
It may seem obvious, a clear business strategy for all sales teams is a prerequisite to monitor development and achieve objectives. But are you sure to have taken into account all the components of a business strategy? Will it still be effective, when you must have established your annual strategy?
Does it include all the components of the “go-to-market” of your product or service offering, i.e. a coherent guideline that is in alignment: the objectives, the means, the resources allocated and the operational organization resulting therefrom? Make a note of the key points that ensure you have defined an efficient business strategy and that it gives you every chance to achieve your goals.
2. Outcome objectives and their monitoring indicators
You have set goals for results (and you did well!). This involves following up on and pursuing your goals throughout the year, to make sure you reach them. How? By defining the associated measurement indicators, and therefore the corresponding KPIs to evaluate them: “Output” indicators on the expected results and “Input” indicators on the activities expected to achieve them.
3. The Means
Intimately linked to the segments of customers or prospects targeted, the means devoted to winning and loyalty are also a key element to define precisely: preferred sales channels and revenue streams expected by channel, marketing and communication means deployed, flow of leads expected to reach the level of commercial activity defined with regard to the final objectives.
4. Priority targets, according to potential criteria
The scope of intervention of sales teams is what I use as it is a key input of reflection. The segmentation of customers and prospects is a necessity. Are your customers ranked according to revenue-level or margin-generated criteria? Is there an assessment of their development potential over the year?
5. The level of commercial effort to be made on each of these segments
The allocation of efforts then consists in determining the coverage and commercial pressure on these segments. Thus, the various types of actions to be carried out on the sales process (calls, discovery visits, defense, training…), and the distribution of resources and commercial time per share on the different segments will be adjusted. Not defining it at the level of the strategy means that each salesperson will decide for him/herself the allocation of their efforts according to their own criteria… Do you want to take such a risk?
6. The optimal sales organization
The formalization of the strategy also includes the choices of commercial organization: should we train teams specialized in different segments, or rather rely on different types of employees according to the stages of the sales process?
The customer visit has a cost, and the time spent in pre-sales impacts commercial profitability. This is the reason why some companies can for example entrust the detection and qualification of opportunities to sedentary teams, and the phases of discovery of needs until the contracting phase to a commercial field.
If all the points raised were addressed when you defined your business strategy, you laid a sound foundation and created the right conditions at the start to give yourself the best chance of success. The next step consists in turning this commercial strategy into operational action plans and effectively piloting them to ensure that objectives are achieved.