How to Plan an Initial Sales Strategy That Hits the Ground Running
Starting a business or launching a new product is both exciting and daunting, and many entrepreneurs feel a lack of clarity as to how to first create a sales strategy to hit the ground running with sales. After all, they never have opened it to a market before and seldom have all of the insights to know how it will perform.
The creation of a sales strategy is a critical beginning step before the product ever becomes available. Sit down with your team months ahead of the launch date and work through the strategy. Planning can take longer than expected, especially when outsourcing or hiring help in the form of salespeople or advertising firms. Here are four tips to help you plan your new product’s initial sales plan of attack.
1. Seek mentorship
A good way to get started on brainstorming is to ask advice from others in your industry who have successfully launched a product or business. This may seem like approaching the competition for counseling, but simply make sure their business isn’t in direct competition with yours. Ask to take them to coffee, or simply ask at the end of the call how you can help them. Worst-case scenario? You end up where you were before. Best-case scenario: You get valuable advice and a lifelong business connection.
Tim McHugh of Saddleback Educational shared with Under30CEO that there’s a long game to these initial asks for help, saying, “It allows me to involve these mentors in our future strategy and it can lead to potential partnerships. It’s always great to make a call with one goal in mind and then leave with a new business idea or strategic partner."
2. Invest in a hire for ad copy and strong visuals
In the book Rules of Net, authors Thomas Mandel and Gerard Van der Leun write, “Attention is the hard currency of cyberspace.” Fighting for potential customers’s attention in a goldfish-attention-span world is a feat, made all the more difficult in the absence of strong visuals and robust ad copy.
Hire an experienced photographer or videographer to create product visuals that pop and reel in the viewer when they’re scrolling through their Facebook feeds. And invest in a copywriter who has a background in neurolinguistic programming so that from the very first line of the ad, customers are willing to read further.
3. Create clear, consensus KPIs
It’s also vitally important to have a pulse on how you’re performing when you first go to market, which is highly subjective if KPIs aren't decided on beforehand. Hunter Ballew, founder of BOLDx, shares that he and his team set a range for ideal KPIs before their sales strategy launches. “We set an ideal conversion rate and a 'break-even' conversion rate,'" he tells Entrepreneur. "The idea is that we’ll end up somewhere in the middle, and tracking these KPIs help us adjust our strategy moving forward."
4. Be ready to shift strategies
Few get a sales strategy completely right the first time around, and that’s okay! Just as Ballew noted his strategy includes adjusting if the conversion rate is not quite ideal, you too should be ready to make changes if the initial pushes aren’t resulting favorably.
Larry Kim wrote for Wordstream that the average conversion rate on landing pages across industries is 2.35 percent, with the highest performers seeing an 11.45 percent rate. Of course, your ideal conversion rate is dependent on a number of factors, particularly profit margins, so shifting strategies will be up to your team. Strategy shifts can range from a bump in ad spend to a total redo of the ad messaging.
Whatever your initial sales push looks like, an enhanced strategy can get you back on track or propel you further. Lean on these four pieces of advice as you share your product with the world.