HOW TO RUN A SUCCESSFUL SALES STRATEGY WORKSHOP
The key benefit of having a unified sales strategy is that everyone in the business is on the same page when it comes to understanding the roadmap for revenue and profit success.
A sales strategy informs the value proposition for the business, its products and sets out the best sales practices to execute the sales plan.
Unfortunately, the sales function can often characterised by its day to day revenue focus, which tends to often result in a short-term, tactical decision-making mindset. Which at its best, results in lumpy performance and at its worst effects market share and customer trust as team members blindly execute.
So, taking some time out for sales staff to reflect and collaborate with the rest of the business functions on the strategic sales issues is critically important. Plus, a chance to contribute strategically is likely to be welcome by the sales team and the wider business colleagues.
5 reasons to develop a sales strategy?
- Provide clarity for your sales team
Provide your sales team a clear roadmap for success. A well-defined sales strategy provides the necessary plan of action to achieve long-term objectives. Without this clarity, salespeople may feel uncertain and unsafe in their roles, leading to high turnover and missed sales KPIs. Empower your team with a strategic vision that inspires confidence and guides their efforts.
- You will identify risks
A finely tuned sales strategy allows you to discuss and analyze the risks associated with your strategic direction. By identifying these risks, you can proactively address them through defensive tactics or even turn them into opportunities for growth. This risk-aware approach instills confidence in your team, enabling them to navigate challenges effectively and seize new possibilities.
- Provide awareness on where the business performance currently sits
To chart a path towards success, you must first understand where your business currently stands. A comprehensive sales strategy involves analyzing your sales performance across various dimensions such as region, customer, sales representative, product, sales cycles, and promotional spend. This evaluation establishes a baseline of strengths and weaknesses, providing insights to build upon and areas to mitigate.
- Activate the whole business around the customer
Recognise that the responsibility for customer satisfaction extends beyond the sales team. By involving other functions like finance, production, logistics, IT, and marketing in the sales strategy, you create a customer-centric culture across the entire business. This approach relieves the emotional burden on sales teams and fosters a collective understanding of customer needs. Each department contributes their unique perspective to the sales strategy, promoting collaboration and alignment.
- Formulate unified policies and approach around sales practices
A sales strategy provides the opportunity to establish unified policies and approaches for day-to-day sales practices. Imagine the power of having everyone in the organisation aligning with unified practices covering prospecting processes, outbound and inbound calling messaging, pitching and proposal formats, sales presentations and demonstrations, sales enablement techniques, and account management. Consistency in these areas enhances efficiency, streamlines operations, and reinforces a cohesive brand image.
By developing a sales strategy, you create a clear path for your sales team, mitigate risks, gain awareness of business performance, activate the entire organization around the customer, and establish unified sales practices. Embrace the power of strategic planning to drive long-term success and maximise the potential of your sales efforts.
Why is a workshop a great starting point for your sales strategy?
In today's fast-paced business landscape, creating a collaborative culture is essential for success. The days of operating in silos are long gone, as change happens rapidly, requiring organisations to embrace a collective approach. We are stronger and more effective when we work together. That's why a workshop serves as an excellent starting point for the development of your sales strategy. To ensure a productive workshop, we recommend that the facilitator follows the following framework:
Inspire - Ignite engagement and enthusiasm: A successful workshop begins with inspiring attendees. People may not arrive in a fully engaged state, so it is the facilitator's role to spark their motivation. Instead of jumping straight into group exercises, take the time to contextualise the purpose of the workshop and make it personally relevant to their working lives. By connecting the workshop to their aspirations and the organisation's goals, you set the stage for active participation and creative thinking.
Inform - Provide clarity and establish roles: To foster a productive workshop environment, it's crucial to clearly explain the agenda and everyone's roles. Often, facilitators rush into exercises without providing detailed explanations or checking for comprehension, leading to confusion and diminished outcomes. Take the time to inform participants about the workshop's structure, objectives, and how their contributions will contribute to the sales strategy. This clarity ensures that everyone is aligned and empowers them to bring their best thinking to the table.
Experience - Encourage collaboration and creativity: With a solid foundation of inspiration and information, the workshop should offer a rich and interactive experience for all participants. Leveraging the collective expertise and diverse perspectives in the room, guide the group through a series of exercises and discussions that drive critical thinking and generate creative outputs. By fostering collaboration and connection, the workshop experience not only produces valuable insights but also strengthens relationships within the group and across the business.
Reflect - Embed learnings and action steps: To ensure that the workshop's impact extends beyond the session, it's essential to create opportunities for reflection and visualisation of implementation. Encourage participants to reflect on what they have learned and experienced during the workshop and guide them in creating lists of key takeaways and actionable items. This personal reflection helps them internalise the insights and empowers them to apply the learnings in their functional roles. Additionally, provide a coach's summary of the workshop to capture the collective outcomes and follow up with each attendee, sharing a comprehensive summary and actionable next steps.
By adopting this workshop framework, you can leverage the collective intelligence of your team and set the stage for a successful sales strategy development process. A workshop enables a learning-by-doing approach, promoting active engagement and avoiding ineffective top-down approaches. Collaborating on your sales strategy not only unlocks business growth but also cultivates a culture of teamwork and shared accountability. Start your journey towards a strategic sales approach with a productive and insightful workshop.
What do you need to plan for to have a successful sales strategy workshop?
For some when the word workshop is mentioned there is a collective groan. Workshops can be overused and poorly run, leading to workshop fatigue. We recently wrote a blog on how to run a successful marketing strategy workshop and the 10 useful tips apply equally for the planning of a successful sales strategy workshop.
Ten essential planning tips for your next sales strategy workshop:
Be prepared for the unexpected: Ensure you have contingency plans for any unforeseen circumstances, including backup plans for everything, from technical equipment to refreshments. Don't forget the coffee—it fuels productive discussions and keeps participants engaged.
Attend to housekeeping details: Pay attention to the small but important logistical details that can make or break the workshop's success. Address seating arrangements, room setup, materials, and any other practical considerations to create an environment conducive to collaboration and focus.
Allocate roles and responsibilities: Recognise that everyone brings unique strengths and perspectives to the workshop. Assign clear roles and responsibilities to participants to avoid confusion and ensure efficient teamwork. Designate facilitators, timekeepers, note-takers, and other relevant roles to keep the process smooth.
Foster creativity, energy, and enjoyment: Infuse the workshop with energy, creativity, and a sense of enjoyment. Incorporate interactive exercises, icebreakers, and energisers to keep participants engaged and motivated. When the workshop is enjoyable, it becomes more memorable, leading to increased participation and valuable outcomes.
Embrace facilitation over lecturing: A successful workshop is not a one-way lecture. Instead, create an environment that encourages active participation and collaboration. As a facilitator, guide discussions, ask thought-provoking questions, and provide structure within a strategic framework, allowing participants to contribute their ideas and insights.
Encourage critical thinking: While blue sky thinking and generating ideas are important, also encourage critical thinking. Challenge participants to analyze and evaluate different perspectives, explore potential risks and obstacles, and consider practical implications. Balancing creativity with critical thinking leads to well-rounded and actionable outcomes.
Prioritise fun and engagement: Remember to incorporate elements of fun throughout the workshop. Plan activities that promote enjoyment, collaboration, and bonding among participants. When people feel relaxed and engaged, they are more likely to contribute openly and think creatively.
Utilise a dedicated scribe: Employ a skilled scribe to capture the workshop's discussions, ideas, and key takeaways in real-time. Having a dedicated scribe ensures that no valuable insights or innovative ideas slip through the cracks. It allows participants to remain fully engaged in the workshop while ensuring thorough documentation for future reference.
Avoid groupthink, value introverted perspectives: Encourage a diversity of opinions and ideas by actively avoiding groupthink. Introverted participants often possess unique insights and perspectives that may go unnoticed in a more extroverted environment. Create space for individual reflection and provide opportunities for everyone to contribute their thoughts and suggestions.
Summarise and follow up: Maximise the workshop's impact by summarising the key outcomes and action items. Utilise the scribe's notes to create a concise workshop summary, capturing the collective insights and agreed-upon strategies. Follow up with each attendee promptly, providing them with the summary and actionable next steps, reinforcing the workshop's outcomes and ensuring accountability.
By implementing these planning tips, you can create a dynamic and productive sales strategy workshop that generates innovative ideas, fosters collaboration, and leads to actionable plans for business growth.
Unlocking Business Growth Through Collaborative Sales Strategy
Collaboration is the key to unlocking business growth and driving success. Extensive research supports this notion, and when it comes to sales strategy, a collaborative approach can have a significant impact on both short-term results and long-term sustainability. That's where a sales strategy workshop comes into play, serving as a vital catalyst for growth.
In many organisations, sales is often seen as the "front line" of business operations. However, relying on military metaphors can undermine the true value of sales professionals by reducing them to reactive fighters pushing products onto customers. While sales teams do play a tactical role in generating revenue and addressing competitive challenges, their knowledge and insights can be harnessed for greater long-term strategic impact.
Sales should be recognised as a critical strategic function within the business. As we've explored earlier, a sales strategy workshop is an excellent starting point for taking a more thoughtful and holistic approach to sales. By bringing together diverse perspectives and expertise, the workshop creates an environment where collective knowledge can be leveraged to shape a powerful sales strategy.
We understand that planning and executing a successful sales strategy workshop requires effort and dedication. That's why we offer a complimentary sales strategy consultation to help you get started on the path to growth. Our experienced team is here to guide you through the process, ensuring that your workshop delivers tangible outcomes and sets the stage for continued success.
Don't miss the opportunity to unlock the full potential of your business. Start your journey towards collaborative sales strategy today with a free sales strategy consultation. Together, we can pave the way for sustainable growth and drive your business towards new heights of success.