The number of companies created between June 2020 and June 2021 increased by 30.2% according to INSEE. That strong increase in competition should encourage both old and new businesses to put all the chances on their side, by defining their commercial strategies as well as possible .
A commercial strategy corresponds to all the means and techniques for:
- Better meet customer needs (adapt supply to demand)
- stay competitive
Understand your niche before defining your business strategy
Understanding your niche requires market research.
Do a market study
This involves analyzing your market, demand, supply and the environment in which you operate.
The characteristics of your market
In particular, you will need to identify your future customers and users, but also your competitors .
Once your market has been defined, it will be necessary to carry out more in-depth studies:
- How is it changing (change in the number of customers and products/services sold, etc.)?
- How are your potential customers and users behaving?
Reduce your niche by segmenting your leads (who will you prioritize?).
This involves making a more in-depth study of your competitors (their prices, their advantages, etc.).
You must analyze the environment in which you operate. To do this, perform a PESTEL analysis , which we will develop below.
Ask the right questions
Let’s recap the questions you need to ask yourself to fully understand your niche:
- What is the scope of the market and its segmentation into several niches?
- Who are the actors (users, customers and competitors)?
- What are the advantages of competitors and what could be yours (what sets you apart)?
- What are the market risks?
A market is constantly changing : it can decrease or increase. A SWOT analysis (discussed below) is required.
Pay particular attention to your niche :
- What are the characteristics of your target (age, sex, geographical location, financial means, etc.)?
- What are the needs of your potential customers? (be precise !)
- What drives them to buy?
- What stops them from buying?
- What are their objections when making a purchase?
Summarize your market with SWOT and PESTEL analyzes
These two tools will help you complete your market research and summarize it.
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. As its name suggests, it involves analyzing the strengths (eg having a patent) and weaknesses (eg poor store location), as well as opportunities (eg new market) and risks. This is the case of a new product that would replace what you offer (like smartphones have replaced cameras).
If a company cannot act on the external factors (opportunities and risks), it can correct its weaknesses and highlight its strengths .
Here is an example of a SWOT analysis of an organic vegetable producer wanting to supply restaurants around his home:
Certified organic vegetable producer
Takeover of a family business already quite well known in the region
Lack of manpower (team to be reinforced)
Nearby tourist town to expand its targets (presence of several restaurants)
Creation of a website to make sales in short circuit
Restaurants closing due to lockdown
The PESTEL analysis consists of studying the environment of your company:
- Politics (political stability, fiscal policy applied, etc.)
- Economic (unemployment rate, average income, etc.)
- Social (culture, values and norms, level of education, etc.)
- Technological (upcoming developments and their frequencies, etc.)
- Ecological (environmental protection measures, etc.)
- Legal (legislation in force governing the activity of your company, its possible evolutions, etc.)
Let’s take our example of an organic vegetable producer and take a look at its PESTEL analysis:
Government and local actors favorable to organic farming
Organic sector sensitive to economic crises
Gastronomy inseparable from French cultural identity
Rise in demand for online orders delivered to homes
No risk, subject under control
Common agricultural policy and European law relating to agriculture
Define your persona
Defining your persona allows you to personalize the customer experience and better tailor your business strategy to the market .
What is a persona?
A persona (or buyer persona / typical customer profile) is a representation of the profile of your target group. This is a fictional character, but one that you create from real information.
Find information about your buyer persona
You can find information about your persona with 3 accessible techniques:
- Solicit your customers and prospects
- Research on the internet
- Use data from your CRM or other tools
You can also order a more in-depth study, for example from a marketing study agency.
Ask your teams
Some of your colleagues (or yourself) are in direct contact with your customers and already have valuable information concerning them. It is mainly about your sales representatives and the customer support team .
browse the internet
Go online to find out what your persona is looking for the most. For this, you can simply use the Google search bar .
Type your keywords in the search bar (the product you are selling, for example a wireless alarm) and Google will make suggestions that correspond to the most frequent searches of Internet users.
At the bottom of the results page, you will also find related searches :
You can also consult the “other questions asked” to fully understand the different research intentions of your target.
You can also go to Facebook groups. Continuing our example, find groups that talk about alarms and security (yes, that exists). Posts and comments will, for example, inform you about common consumer issues in your market.
You can do the same on blogs and FAQs (for example from your competitors).
Once the information about your persona has been collected, do not hesitate to give it a name and a face. This will help your team to memorize more easily (especially if you have several personas to define) and to make it more real .
Discuss with customers and prospects
This is about getting feedback from customers and users to improve your product or service .
An automated email campaign is a simple technique for getting feedback of your customers and prospects. First ask them to give you a rating from 1 to 10 in one click. It only takes them a few seconds, when you already get valuable indicators with a simple and clear NPS .
After clicking on a note, the customer or prospect lands on a landing page where you ask for more detailed feedback. You can even offer a phone call to the most motivated customers (especially in B2B).
Flatten your business strategy
It’s time to get into the details of your business strategy.
Set SMART goals
To motivate yourself , you need to set goals .. You can then use the SMART method .
It is about setting goals so that:
- Measurable (quantifiable)
- Temporarily set
The terms associated with the acronym may vary. For example, S can stand for Simple (the objective should be easily understandable) .
Here’s an example of a “good” SMART goal : “Each sales rep should contact one qualified prospect per day next week (February 7-11)”.
A “bad” objective (fuzzy) would be: “Each salesperson must contact more qualified leads”.
Choosing the Right Channels: 4 Strategies for Generating Leads
We have selected for you 4 of the most effective strategies for acquiring leads .
Use content marketing
Content marketing (or content marketing) is used by 93% of web marketers , with considerable advantages for generating leads.
By providing useful content to your target, you gain credibility and visibility. For example, look for issues common to your target and provide answers/solutions through quality content. You can use different types of media like blog articles, videos, ebooks or case studies .
Use social networks
Do not limit yourself to your blog to distribute your content. Also use the social networks . 50% of French VSEs-SMEs are present on Facebook, for example .
For more visibility, you can ask your team and those around you to share your content as much as possible on the different platforms .
If social selling (using social media in the sales process) is new to your reps, train them .
Regularly organize events
Attract even more leads with events. The webinars have advantages:
- More credibility for your expertise
- Interaction/reciprocity with your target
- Obtaining engagement indicators from your prospects
- A reduced cost compared to a physical event
Outreach on Linkedin and by email
Our 3 previous examples mainly concern B2C businesses. Yes your customers are professionals , cold emailing is certainly already widespread, but can be terribly effective.
In addition to emailing, you can do outreach on Linkedin. But rather than wasting hours sending messages and emails, you can automate everything by keeping messages authentic and personalized. For this you needan effective tool .
5 sales techniques
It’s not enough to generate leads, you have to convert them into customers. We have selected 5 sales techniques you can use.
Active listening to the prospect
Active listening is a sales technique consisting of showing empathy to the prospect , that you have listened well and understood their expectations. Rephrase what he has just said and do not hesitate to ask him to provide more details on certain points. Corn avoid closed questions (where the answer is only yes or no).
If we have to give you one piece of advice, keep in mind that a commercial is not a good talker. It is above all a psychologist .
The SPANCO method of selling
SPANCO is a step-by-step sales method :
- S for Suspect: define a target
- P for Prospect: identify prospects with a high probability of conversion and contact them
- A for Analysis: analyze the needs of the prospect
- N for Negotiation: convince the lead to buy the product based on the analyzes of the previous step
- C for Conclusion: closing the sale
- O for Order: follow the order / service to build customer confidence and loyalty
The SONCAS sales technique
SONCAS stands for Security, Pride, Novelty, Comfort, Money and Sympathy. The technique consists of reassure the lead so that he buys , each term having its objective.
It is for example to raise the self-esteem of the prospect for “Pride”. The goal with “Money” is to motivate him to make a wise financial choice with your offer (interesting investment, savings on purchase, etc.).
The CAB method
This method is used to highlight the product or service you are selling. CAB actually means:
- Features : What are you selling?
- Benefits : What sets your product apart from the competition?
- Benefits : what values does your product bring to the prospect?
Features rarely help sell directly. You are more likely to pass for a carpet merchant. feel free to clearly explain the advantages and benefits of your offer .
The SIMAC technique
The SIMAC sales technique is also done in stages (Situation, Idea, Mechanism, Advantages, Conclusion). You identify and analyze the needs of the prospect (Situation) , provide arguments for him to buy your product (Idea, Mechanism and Advantages) , before encouraging him to make a decision (Conclusion) .
Test and start again
You have now drafted your business strategy. You have to go for the test and start again if necessary .
“Done is better than perfect”: try before judging!
“Done is better than perfect” means: “it is better a thing done than perfect”. In other words, even though some details still seem imperfect to you, you must decide to test your commercial strategy .
Trying to perfect all the details will waste you even more time and you will not move forward. On the other hand, if you start you will get results and can always fix errors .
Perfection does not exist. It would be a shame to not seeing the results of all your efforts to build your business strategy.
Measure your business results
You have 2 main indicators or KPI (Key Performance Indicator) to measure the effectiveness of your business strategy : quantitative indicators, qualitative indicators .
Among the quantitative indicators , you can monitor the number of:
- Qualified leads generated
- Ongoing negotiations
- Lost sales
- New contracts
- Retention rate of current customers
Revenue is of course the most important KPI, whatever your business.
For qualitative indicators , you can refer to customer satisfaction, NPS, volume of complaints and refund requests .
You can ask yourself the following questions:
- How many appointments were obtained after how many prospecting calls?
- How many sales were made for how many appointments?
- How many customers have been retained (made repeat purchases) from your customer list?
A /B testing involves randomly displaying two or more variations of the same item from your sales channel. You will then see which bring the most click-through rates, conversions or sales .
You can perform A/B tests on different elements of your sales funnel such as:
- A subscription form to your newsletter
- A landing page
- A marketing email
For example, you keep the same content for an email but you create two different titles (objects). You randomly send both variants to your contacts and you will see which title brought the most click-through (open) rates .
Use a suitable tool to convert and track your customers
Now that you’ve tested and improved your business strategy, you need the right tool to convert and track your customers over the long term .
Twilead is an all-in-one software that meets all your needs. Those CRM (customer relationship management) features allow you to have all your contact information on a single database. You can also segment your contact list to send them personalized emails .
With all its other features (making appointments like Calendly, sending SMS, centralized messaging, creating your website, managing reputation, generating invoices, etc.), Twilead replaces almost all your digital tools.
As you will have understood, Twilead is a valuable asset for your business strategy , from lead generation to customer loyalty.