Sales & Distribution Strategy

Policies, practices and processes to ensure customers buy products

/ Revenue Growth / Sales & Distribution Strategy

The sales strategy defines how an offer is better than competitors and guides the sales team

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What is a Sales Strategy?

Marketing a product or a service to the target consumers takes more than just selling. Distinctly positioning the product to reach more clients is essential, which is called Sales Strategy.

The strategy involves the planning and execution of policies, practices, and processes to ensure that customers will buy the product. Its ultimate purpose is to generate revenues for the company. Every company’s sales strategy involves the target market, profile of customers, go-to-market positioning, sales methodology, and distribution channels.

Keys to Developing a Sales Strategy

A company’s sales strategy is meant to position and to sell a product or service to potential and qualified buyers. It should define how a product is better than its competitors and guide the sales team at the same time. An effective sales strategy should contain the following information:

1. Specific and measurable organizational goals
2. Detailed customer profile and product offering that can answer to the customers’ problems
3. Plan on how to increase product awareness and generate market demand
4. Sales activities, presentation, and challenges
5. Procedure on tracking the performance of sales individuals and sales team
6. Sales process timeline

Sales Strategy Examples

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to sales strategy. A company’s strategy must have some flexibility, depending on the company’s objectives, needs, and environment. The following are some sales strategies which have been proven to be effective:

  • Position a product based on how it can solve the customers’ problems. Showcase what is in it for the customers before going right into the price, package, and promotional offers.
  • Target a small market niche. It will help a company focus and specialize in a particular product that can answer consumer needs.
  • Be flexible and adapt to changes when new demands from customers come up. As problem-solvers, the company’s sales team must open the door of possibilities for customers to gain their trust.
  • Give undivided attention to customers and listen to what they have to say. The customers are the most important people who make the companies run and live. Thus, customers must get the most special treatment they can have to ensure that they will remain loyal to a brand.
  • Use storytelling to communicate with prospective buyers. It is easier for people to retain information through entertaining communication, rather than hard facts alone.

Sales Strategies for Scaling

Sales strategies are developed not only for new products to sell. Plans are also needed to sustain and increase sales and retain customers, including:

  • Understand the target customer and know what attracts them to the product. It will help a company determine the ways on how to reach them consistently.
  • Have a defined and useful customer profile which shall guide companies to identify prospective customers easily.
  • Serve as the customers’ adviser and consultant at the same time. It is a strategy wherein the sales force understands the customers’ problems and knows how to solve them. Information about a product can be found from company websites. But the sales team must be able to engage the customers beyond figures and data about a product.

Sales Strategies for Conversion

Companies aim not only to retain their existing customers but to get new ones. So how do sales strategies influence customers of competitors to convert in buying their products instead?

Sales processes, sales plays and the management of sales pipelines detail the strategies and tactics used for conversion. Effective sales coaching can also make individual and sales teams sell better.

However, here are some of the general approaches business may undertake to get new customers:

  • Know and be aware when a prospective client is “interested” in the product.
  • Keep the “interest” of prospective customers by engaging them through tailored marketing that nurtures prospects.
  • Explore different sales growth strategies until the appropriate one is found. Videos, emails, demos, free offers, personal meetings, and appointments can be used by a company to reach new markets.
  • Monitor the prospective customers and observe how they behave as consumers.

What is Distribution Strategy?

To get a broader range of market segments, companies need to expand. However, only the best brands can maintain and gain new clientele. But how does one determine which brands are the best? This is where product distribution comes in. It is not enough that companies sell their products and services directly to customers.

Companies need to reach more customers. To be able to do this, they need distribution channels and distributors. Thus, businesses need distribution strategies to ensure that they have the right package, the appropriate mode of transportation, and delivery. These factors are vital in determining the fastest and most efficient distributors to influence and attract broader markets.

Every business must get the right amount of market exposure to a product. To be able to do this, one must have the right distributor. Distributors must be able to collaborate both with the company and their customers. They should be working on behalf of the company as a mediator for customers.

Below are the different people who help companies in implementing the distribution strategies.

Distribution Strategies

A distributor performs the same functions as those of the wholesalers, plus a bit more. They are more than just mediators between companies and customers. Aside from storage and delivery concerns, distributors are expected to help companies, manufacturers, and producers sell the products to consumers aggressively. They also need to analyze the market to ensure that they take advantage of new market opportunities.

Distributors must be aware of the market trend to take advantage of opportunities when peak seasons for certain products come. They usually develop strong ties with particular companies or manufacturers. That is their difference with wholesalers who purchase products on a needs basis. Further, distributors can sell to retailers, wholesalers, other sellers, or directly to consumers and other businesses.

Indirect Distribution

In this type of distribution, the product goes through different channels in-between before it finally reaches the end-users and customers.  Manufacturers can sell its products to a distributor before the distributor can sell it to a wholesaler. The wholesaler then sells the product to a retailer, who then makes the product available to consumers.

Direct Distribution

Direct distribution is when a product is directly sent by the company to or passes through fewer channels before reaching the customers. With the availability of online stores, selling on an e-commerce platform is also considered as a direct distribution.

Selective Distribution

Companies distribute their products and services through a limited number of outlets for their customers. Companies use selective distribution to put premium in their products. These products usually bear the tag “Select outlets only.” Some consider this type as the middle ground between intensive and exclusive distributions.

Exclusive Distribution

This distribution type happens when a company gives the market of one region, or one country for that matter, to a single distributor only. A company exclusively deals with a sole distributor and promises to sell its product only to that distributor. At the same time, the distributor also assures the company that it will not sell or carry competing products.

Remember that the goal of every company and manufacturer is to bring the product and services to customers. Sales and distribution strategies can help businesses do this and bring in sales and revenues to their companies. There is no single strategy that can be adopted by all companies. Each company’s strategy will depend on the nature of the products and the targeted market.

Sales Process Design Experts

Matt Oess
Matt OessPartner
Brad Milner
Brad MilnerPartner
Rick Nichols
Rick NicholsManaging Partner, Revenue Growth

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