I’d like to say that business owners and managers have a good handle on this, but they don’t. In fact, I’m not sure they even devote much time to even thinking about it. But they should!
Why – because such strategies effects not just their sales, but what is left after everything else is taken out. It affects their profits. And that is what we are all in business for, profits – to give us the lifestyle, freedom and comfort we desire.
So I turned to Sue Barrett of Sales Essentials for some clarification you might find useful. Sue is a 'selling better' strategist and advisor, sales philosopher and speaker, sales trainer and coach, writer and activist. She is chief executive of forward-thinking sales advisory Barrett and online sales education and resource platform www.salesessentials.com.
This week we thought we would touch on the differences between business, sales, and marketing strategies.
This is because there’s usually confusion between sales and marketing strategies. To avoid confusion, it’s always good to look at definitions.
Michael Porter defines strategy as the set of choices that define a company’s distinctive approach to competing, and the competitive advantages on which it will be based.
There are two different levels:
Beneath business strategy, sits, traditionally at least, marketing strategy.
Marketing strategy is how a marketing team organises its efforts. It defines target markets, general value proposition, positioning strategy, offering mix, collaterals and how to reach clients so they know about the company and the offering. Marketing speaks to groups, and works with averages.
There is also digital marketing strategy which can sit within the general marketing strategy, or next to it, aligning to sales and social selling efforts. Digital marketing can be the bridge between marketing and sales strategies.
However, this is not enough for a sales operations to function at an optimal level. To achieve this, next to marketing strategy, and overlapping and working collaboratively, needs to sit sales strategy.
Often confused with marketing strategy, a company’s sales strategy is the mechanism by which it determines its unique value proposition and how this makes the company’s offer relevant to each particular customer. It also includes how it will deliver that proposition to attractive sales segments where the business has some form of competitive advantage.
These sales strategies are then deployed by the sales force in both business-to-business (B2B) and complex business-to-consumer (B2C) situations.
Sales strategy is how the company organises sales efforts to go to market, who it’s going to sell to and how to create real value within the given market place with your customers.
Sales is about one-to-one where the business becomes real for the client. Sales develops relationships and looks after individuals.
Sales deals with the ambiguities and analyses the behaviour of the prospects and customers with whom they deal with on an individual basis.
Sales strategy is what happens when the rubber hits the road. This type of planning is strategy and execution in one. A good sales strategy minimises execution risks and sets up a path to follow to achieve the planned results.
The goal of business strategy is profitable growth. Whatever ends up being the chosen road to get there, one thing is for sure: the business needs to sell.
There is no business without selling. A sales strategy is what business do to sell well and achieve business goals. As strategy expert and Harvard Business School academic Frank Cespedes puts it: “you can’t do strategy without input from sales”.
Here’s something else to ponder: in terms of business, we’ve all been brought up in the philosophy of competition. However, what if you could create uncontested grounds where you wouldn’t have to compete, at least for the foreseeable future?
There are a number of valuable takeaways here. These are the takeaways for me – What did you get?
When clients approach me for coaching, so often they are not getting the clients they need, the right clients, or the sales they need at the margins they need. Eight times out of ten this comes down to not knowing what is working, and how to develop compelling offers for their customers.
For more than 30 years I’ve been helping small business owners use the right tactics to plug the profit leaks in their business and restoring their cash flows by assisting them understand how to use the 80-20 rule to determine their most profitable customers, and to determine the offer to bring them on board.
If you would like to discuss with me how you might do that, book a Strategy Consult here. There is no cost.
© Copyright 2018 Adam Gordon, The Profits Leak Detective Except for all those bits by Sue Barrett.
Some profit losses are pretty obvious - so you fix them.
BUT, what if you don't know profits are leaking, cash out the door?
Possible leaks could be anywhere.
Are there some clues or symptoms that are tell-tales?