Strategic Sales Plan

What are the steps in your sales process? Which steps do you feel are your responsibility to complete and which do you feel you can trust your prospects to complete for you? When a sale falls apart, what step(s), that had they been completed, would have prevented the sales attempt from failing?

Even if you don't know how to do a step, recognizing that it does exist isthe first and most difficult step. Figuring out "how to" do it is usually much easier.

So, in this volume, we are going to provide you with a master list of 53 steps organized in 11 phases. Systematically in subsequent newsletters we will discuss each step further.

These steps were "discovered" as a result of doing hundreds of sales autopsies with 120 different client companies across industries over the past 12 years.


PROFILE - Identify and contact

1. Identify target account based on available profiling data.
2. Specify, by decision making role, interest generating benefits.
3. Determine entry level contact.
4. Select, by priority, methods of contact.
5. Set call objectives.
6. Make the contact, set the appointment - telephone opening remarks.
7. Establish trust and rapport - Credibility building.
8. Qualify the prospect in light of this project. GO/NO GO

RESEARCH - Understand the prospect's business

9. Research prospect's critical processes.
10. Research prospect's future business plans.
11. Research prospect's selling environment to determine how you can help competitively advantage them in their market place.
12. Identify our potential and/or actual competitors (including "do nothing").
13. Competitor Analysis USP/DSP F.A.B.s identified per competitor.
14. List criteria that must be set with each decision maker to rule out competition.
15. Identify potential objections - strategies formulated/reviewed to prevent, neutralize or respond as necessary. Identify strategic approach. GO/NO GO
16. Identify additional potential for other products/services.
17. Identify others in the organization who could potentially benefit from what you sell and the types of benefits they might receive, but who may not be able to directly influence the sale.

ORIENTATION - Open the sales interaction and activate the sales strategy

18. List of areas to focus conversation based on Unique and Distinctive Selling Points (USP/DSP). Answer the question, "What makes you different?"
19. List of areas to focus conversation to neutralize potential objections.

SYMPTOMS - Anxiety or concerns about the missing benefits that you can offer - presenting problems

20. List of symptoms identified based on Unique Selling Points and/or DSPs.

PROBLEMS - Root cause problems - missing features that provide the advantages and benefits

21. List of potential problems confirmed based on USP/DSP.

EFFECTS / CONSEQUENCES - What the problems are costing the prospect (financially, subjectively)

22. Customer cost data determined and consequences quantified.

CRITERIA - Expectations you want to build - minimum specifications you want to set

23. Criteria listed and agreed upon based on USP/DSP.

BENEFITS - Identify the top motivating benefits for each of the decision makers?

24. Decision maker's benefits determined.
25. Interviews completed with key decision makers.


26. Advise and get agreement on next steps to advance the sale.
27. Confirm cost benefit data (Effects/Consequences).
28. Outline feedback loops, milestones, measurements and follow up process.
29. Identify key contacts for feedback and on-going support or information contacts.
30. Identify optional target dates for implementation.
31. Determine ideal starting dates to meet target dates.
32. Determine product/service availability (your ability to deliver). GO/NO GO
33. Exchange any additional data, specifications, drawings, etc.
34. Identify and arrange to meet any additional critical interactive players.
35. Identify, advise and prepare Recommenders to champion status.
36. Arrange and schedule "Beta" tests, pilot studies or other pre-purchase approvals required.
37. Identify specific end users or consumers involved in project.
38. Receive feedback from Beta, pilot or other pre-approvals.
39. Resolve any questions or issues that developed from the pre-approval process.
40. Develop product/service delivery phase-in plans.
41. Exchange financial or credit information as necessary.
42. Obtain any internal (your company) approvals as needed.


43. Prepare and submit Criteria Driven Proposal.
44. Conduct a Criteria Driven Presentation.
45. Prospect affirms your ability to meet criteria.
46. Final negotiations concluded.
47. Final approval on project/product/service budget received.
48. Contract/agreement signed, letter of confirmation sent.
49. Customer notifies current or competing supplier (if any).


50. Account Management - implement follow up activities.
51. Obtain repeat business.
52. Obtain testimonials and references.
53. Obtain referrals.

For the most part, there are multiple ways to complete each step. Please feel free to throw in ideas that have worked for you in the past.

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