HOW TO RUN A SUCCESSFUL SALES STRATEGY WORKSHOP
The key benefit of having a unified sales strategy is that everyone in the business is in a position to understand the roadmap for success.
A sales strategy provides the roadmap that the sales team use to communicate its unique selling proposition for the business and its products and it sets out the best 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 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.
Why develop a sales strategy? 5 reasons to consider.
- Provide clarity for your sales team
For the negative scenarios mentioned above and most sales people are wired with the need for a plan of action aimed at achieving a long-term objective. Without this clarity, sales people can actually feel unsafe leading to high turnover and sales KPI’s being missed.
- You will identify risks
With a finely tunes sales strategy you and your team will have discussed and analysed the risks facing the strategic direction. Having identified the risks, then something can be done about them, like employing defensive tactics or even turning defence into attack. Team members will feel imbued with confidence as a result.
- Provide awareness on where the business performance currently sits
In order to know what you wish to achieve you have to create a thorough understanding as to where your business sites right now. A starting point in effect. You will analyse your sales performance and break it down by region, customer, sales representative, product, sales cycles, promotional spend to generate a baseline of strengths to build off and weaknesses to mitigate.
- Activate the whole business around the customer
Do you need another reason? The customer is not only the sales team’s responsibility and yet that is how they feel at times. And this can overburden sales teams emotionally. So why not spread the love for customers across the business, getting finance, production, logistics, IT, marketing and any other function to a) understand the customers’ needs and b) contribute to the sales strategy from their own unique perspective.
- Formulate unified policies and approach around sales practices
Spending time to agree on the way you do what you do on a day to day basis is a key benefit of a sales strategy. Imagine the power having everyone sign up to unified practices covering:
• Prospecting processes
• Outbound and inbound calling messaging
• Pitching & proposal formats
• Conducting a sales presentation and or demonstration
• Sales enablement process and techniques
• Account management
Why is a workshop a great starting point for your sales strategy?
Creating a collaborative culture is a modern requirement of all businesses that want to succeed. Change moves too quickly to operate in silos. We are truly better together! So, a workshop therefore, is a great starting point for the development of your sales strategy. We would recommend that the workshop facilitator follows the following framework.
Inspire: To begin the workshop, attendees need to be engaged. They won’t arrive in this state. It’s your role as a facilitator to inspire them. Resist the temptation to jump straight into group exercises. Take time to contextualise the purpose of the workshop by making it personal for their working lives.
Inform: In life clarity is key, so take the time to clearly explain what the agenda is and what everyone’s role will be. So often facilitators jump straight into group exercises that are extremely worthy, however without detailed explanation and checking in for comprehension, groups and individuals can struggle along and fail to deliver their best thinking as a result.
Experience: If you as the facilitator have done a great job across the first two steps above, the experience of the group and individual workshop exercises should drive great thinking and creative outputs. More than this the experience should drive connection within the group and the business.
Reflect: The best way for workshop members to retain what has been learned and experienced, is to reflect and visualise what can be implemented back in their functional roles. Make it personal for them by getting them to create lists of ‘take-aways’ and action items for a successful sales strategy workshop.
As per the model above, a workshop is a great place to bring business functions together to inspire decision makers to engage in your growth ambitions, to inform them and provide an interactive experience that will allow meaningful reflection at the end of the workshop. It’s a learning by doing approach and avoids an ineffective top down telling approach.
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 planning tips for your next sales strategy workshop
- Be prepared with back up plans for everything! Especially coffee!!
- Be all over housekeeping requirements as small items can easily get in the way of success.
- Recognise that everyone is not equal, so allocate roles to avoid confusion.
- Be creative. Be energetic. Have fun! And your workshop will be memorable.
- Be a facilitator, not a lecturer. Let them participate within a strategic framework.
- Push critical thinking, not just blue sky thinking.
- Did I say have fun? Make sure you plan for fun.
- Employ a scribe for the workshop to avoid greatness slipping through the cracks.
- Avoid group think. Introverted participants often are extremely insightful.
- Use your scribe to enable a coach’s summary of the workshop. And follow up with each attendee soon afterwards with a summary and action items.
Collaborating on sales strategy unlocks business growth
Collaboration is good for business growth. There’s a lot of research to support this statement, and a sales strategy workshop can play an important role in unlocking business growth in the short and long term.
In many businesses, sales can be viewed as the ‘front line’. This military metaphor is not always helpful and demeans the role of sales people as purely responsive fighters, pushing sales onto customers. And yet, the tactical role of sales teams is hugely valuable for the business as a whole – delivering revenue and responding to competitive threat.
This knowledge and insight should be to be harnessed as part of the long-term needs of the sales strategy. Sales is a strategic function of the business and as we explored earlier, a workshop is a great place to start for a more considered approach to sales.
Planning and running a successful sales strategy workshop is hard work so why not start with a free sales strategy consultation. Enquire about a FREE 30 minute sales strategy consultation today.