Your Strategic Sales Growth Plan
Three steps that providers can take to implement a winning sales strategy.
As we approach the end of the year, how have you done on your sales strategy? Did you achieve your individual and company goals? Did you have a plan? Did you stick with it? A lot of questions, but all very valid.
In a study conducted by Forbes in 2014 the magazine posed the question, “Why do most company’s strategic plans fail?” The study noted that, “Most … plans fail. Depending on which study you follow, the statistics range from a dismal 3 percent of companies whose executives say they are successful at executing their strategies, to at best, about one out of every three organizations … integrates its plans into its daily operations with high effectiveness.”
Why are we so weak on strategic plan execution? Do we treat our strategic planning like the gym membership that we all get at the beginning of each year to lose weight and get in better shape, only to quit by February?
The best time to begin a strategic planning process is between September and Mid-November, so if you are reading this article, there is still time. We have a great opportunity as it pertains to a strategic sales plan for our business.
Our industry is transforming the power of data and technology into sales strategy and execution.
The triad for a sales strategic plan and execution is made up of market data, sales process, and customer relationship management (CRM). Now, this is relatively new to our industry but has gained momentum over the past few years as more providers put an increased emphasis on sales and sales productivity with their sales team.
By including sales data into the strategic planning and execution process, providers can dynamically change the approach to the marketplace. However, market data without a sales process and CRM will only lead us to quitting our gym membership in February, if you catch my drift.
To effectively implement and execute a strategic sales growth plan we must adopt market data, complemented by a sales process and positively reinforced and held together with a CRM.
For decades many of the vertical markets within the medical sales arena have had data that we otherwise thought was unavailable. The pharmaceutical industry has used prescription data which generated reports that would show the pharmacy that fulfilled the prescription by zip code. Market data also provided the name of the writing physician or clinician.
With this market data in hand we can leverage two specific deliverables that sales data can provide:
- Dynamic Conversation. Data opens dialogue beyond features and benefits
- Competition Sales Strategy. Data will show us where the referral source is sending business
The pharmaceutical representatives have had dynamic conversations beyond features and benefits for decades with the referral community. Now we can join this conversation with data that shows where the referral source is sending business and the competitors they may be using.
With this data, we can take our competitive SWOT analysis to a different dimension. We can use our competitive SWOT and develop a competitive sales strategy and now customize our dialogue with the competitions weaknesses and our opportunities to take the account.
The Sales Process will use the market data and engage and equip the sales team with a strategy of execution.
The market data will help our sales team focus on key accounts — the As, Bs and Cs — and drop the D accounts that have been drawing our time and talent away from the accounts that can contribute to our treasure of referrals.
The level of focus that we can adopt in the sales process will transform your business. With this focus, we can actually say we have a strategic plan that has been developed around data that provides insight into the referral sources referring patterns.
This will change who we call on, when we call on them, and even what we will talk about during sales call. This will also assist us in growing existing referral sources from their current ranking to their true potential.
The sales process must include call points, talking points, a tactical review of the competition and scripting that will influence the referral community to move from the competition to our services.
CRM is the final piece to this strategic sales strategy. But because it is last does not imply that it is the least important, it is not.
CRM systems have been a tool that is truly underutilized by most providers, and possibly because it is poorly defined. For years CRM has been viewed as an accountability tool, and that is true but there is much more to this growth component.
CRM is a growth acceleration tool that improves market visibility and share. CRM can help the sales professional and that of their leadership to manage the referral pipeline.
A providers’ assists the sales professional and helps a provider business document and catalog the interactions with the referral community. As each call or interaction is completed the sales professional can document the talking objectives of the call and if they were met. Also, the CRM will afford us the opportunity to document follow up information and what future exchanges should be about. Using this information to accurately review the messaging over time, paralleled with the actual number of referrals can assist the sales professional in identifying if the messaging is working. When used as a review tool, CRM helps the sale professional adopt new messaging to potentially increase referrals.
As both referrals from existing key accounts increase and new accounts are added the CRM will help us monitor our market penetration. The sales professional can utilize the CRM to also monitor the volume of touches they are making to their key accounts and prospects. This tool will help achieve balance in the call cycle and in territory management.
Using market data, developing a sales process, and incorporating a CRM does not have to wait until next year. There is still time to implement these tools in 2018. The impact will accelerate your growth into Q1 of next year and beyond. No provider plans to fail, but many do fail to plan. Take the time and get started on your strategic sales growth plan today.
This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of HME Business.
Ty Bello is the president and founder of Team@Work LLC, which provides sales coaching, training and professional education to the HME industry. Bello is a Registered Corporate Coach with the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches.