From the Small Business Administration
Developing a thorough sales strategy is an effective way to help improve your products’ sales. The strategy will focus your efforts on your key customer audiences, existing or potential.
HERE ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN DESIGNING A SALES STRATEGY:
These goals should be specific and measurable. Base them on the nature of your product and try to break them down into manageable parts. For example, “Sell 50 units to end-users in 30 days and sell 100 units to local independent retailers in six months.”
These are your tactics – how you plan to make the sale. For example, you may say you’ll sell direct-to-consumer through a website or via craft shows. Or this part of the plan may include activities like developing a sell sheet to send to independent retail stores.
Your sales plan should also include the accounts you want to sell to. If it’s end-users, plan how you’re going to reach them. For example, through eBay, classified ads or your website.
Put dates to all of the above elements so you can define your steps within a realistic timeline. Don’t forget that your timelines should be fluid. If you’re underachieving, your sales plan can help you figure out why and define the corrective steps you need to take.
Expand to new markets:
Once you have established success in your current market, consider expanding to include other markets. This will open the door to bigger buyers.
Get the correct buyer:
One of your biggest challenges is finding the right buyer within a large organization, so do your homework. If you’re experiencing roadblocks, consider hiring a distributor or manufacturer’s rep who already has established relationships in your industry
Develop a presentation and have professional-looking sell sheets ready. Your product should also have packaging that’s ready to go.
Know your target:
Understand what products they already carry and how yours will fit in. Don’t waste your time pitching to a retailer who’s unlikely to carry your product.
Take advantage of special programs:
Some mass retailers have local purchase programs that give managers authority to try local items while other retailers may have different initiatives, such as minority business programs.
It can take up to a year or more before you see your product on store shelves.
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