Sales Strategies
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This section was co-written by Mr Jason Vaughan-Phillips

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In a nutshell, no matter how great a product or service may be, unless your potential market is aware of that product or service, it will be a waste of time.

From developing a marketing strategy the business becomes aware of which types of product or services the consumers want. The aim of the sales strategy would be promote the business. Unfortunately this has not always been the case.

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The sales department of most organizations have generally been seen as the external link between the business and the customer. Over the years the focus of the sales department has shifted from:

  • Production Orientated 1920-1930's - The sales force only sold what was produced, limited product range.
  • Sales Orientated 1940-1970's - The sales force concentrated on merely getting a annual growth in sales, very little appreciation of maintaining profit margins was used. The methods were crude you sold what you could and gave as bigger a discount as possible.
  • Marketing Orientated 1980's - Sales at last drop the annual growth vision, as consumers become more aware of products, the focus is not on volume of sales but on linking sales with marketing to ensure organizations are making products people actually want.
  • Customer Orientated 1990's Onwards - Sales focus on developing an organizations ideal product, one which is ideally suited to meeting consumer demands and which both generates growth an stability for the business, yet is achievable with business resources.

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The first point about sales, is that you need to get your sales team to become fully focused to achieve growth for your business. Some simple pointers on sales team motivation are:

  1. Get the recruitment process right, does your sales strategy merely require achieving year on year growth or does your business want stability? - The result could be that your business is only recruiting a sales team based on promoting a product, yet lacking in technical ability.
  2. You could resolve potential deficiencies of a sales team by ensuring a thorough training process is implemented.
  3. Sales targets, set monitors to view the performance of your sales teams, some simple ways could be (a) Improved Customer Service - Ask you customer about your sales team (b) Customer Retention - Look at your order book how many of your current customers were buying products from you last year? (c) New Sales Orders - Have your sales increased? if so how many new accounts have you had in that period?
  4. Motivation - Ensure your sales team are positively motivated to ensure they remain dedicated to the task in hand.

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As stated earlier, the role of sales is to promote the business. 

The Advertising Message

Advertising Media Objectives

Internal Media

External Forces

Develop a Media Plan

The advertising message that should be used will concentrate on displaying the competitive advantage of your products/services against those of your competitors, whilst importantly pointing out the uses and benefits of your products/services.  In order to communicate effectively the advertising message should be a combination of words, symbols, and/or illustrations.

Advertising media objectives, the aim of advertising will be to increase sales and promoting the business name. The introduction of the campaign will demand hard hitting high impact language and symbols. Choosing the right platform upon where to advertise is crucial. The choice of media will have a bearing on the message, for example newspapers and magazines ill require more thought provoking descriptive text, as opposed to television which is purely visual. 

Internal media promotion occurs when the means of promotion is made by the business itself. Internal media types include: (a) VIDEO: Specialist video's are gaining momentum as an effective method of company promotion. The cost of this type of media has significantly fallen over recent years and can be useful for a variety of factors. Video's can show the company operations, highlighting the services offered, company efficiency and resources available, and importantly can be viewed by the potential customer at their leisure. The novelty value of having videos, can often ensure that the videos are viewed. Although this type of promotion can be external, the video could be classed as internal if it is played in the business main entrance; (b) MAIL-SHOT: Mail-shot's can be prepared on a regular basis incorporating company and service developments. The cost's of this promotion are minimal and a mail-shot can provide a valuable source of customer and potential customer feedback. Costs may be offset by selling advertising space on the mail-shot; (c) E-MAIL: Use the internet as a cheaper than mail-shot method ask your customers about their e-mail details and if they would like to receive promotions via the internet; (d) SPONSORSHIP: Sponsorship is a form of long term advertising. Sponsorship can be a relatively inexpensive form of promotion and if the correct type is used, it can provide much free publicity. The business could consider both sporting and non-sporting sponsorship, so long as it is associated with enhancing the company image; (d) COMPETITIONS: Promotional activities can be backed up, by using competitions aimed at both customers and non-customers. This could take a variety of different avenues such as mail-shots and e-mails, the aim would be to evoke customer awareness and interest in the business. Creative ideas dreamed up the workforce, customers or local community could be used to develop the business. 

External forces, are essentially external to business methods, examples of these include: (a) NEWSPAPERS: Depending on the type of business, locality/region where based, the printed paper can prove quite useful. The target audience will undoubtedly affect the particular newspapers used, for example in the UK the Daily Mirror, Daily Star, Sun newspapers would be considered as working class against the Times, Telegraph and Guardian newspapers which would be considered middle class. Other categories of newspapers include local evening and morning newspapers as well as the local free press publications. The advantage of using newspapers is that you can target a specific socio-economic group to increase sales from. However the disadvantages include the relative short life of newspapers, and the high costs; (b) MAGAZINES: These can be categorized into consumer, business and specialist. The desired audience will have a great effect actual type used. Costs will depend upon size, circulation, audience, discounts and colour. Magazines can offer good reproduction, long life, prestige and geographic selectivity. Costs can often be high, depending on circulation, and lead times are sometimes long; (c) OUTDOOR: This includes posters and displays. They can be utilised in areas of the desired target market. Costs will depend upon the time, land rental, location and production costs. This type of promotion is low cost, can be placed near point of sale, works 24 hours a day and can provide high information levels; (d) EXHIBITIONS: Trade and consumer shows can be used to promote products; (e) LOCAL TELEVISION & RADIO: Using local television stations although expensive will provide a short sharp sales thrust, but in order for them to be a success the advertisements will have be very memorable thereby increased advertising agency cost!, local radio stations can be a very effective and cheap form of sales promotion; (f) THE NET: The internet has developed into a very rapid form of advertising promotion as the net is viewed by a global audience on a 24 hour basis, there are lots of web-sites that will sell advertising space and develop web based advertising campaigns for your business, it's relatively cheap and cane be highly effective if done correctly, beware!.

Once the basic sales strategy is in place, the message has been developed, the channels to promote the message have been set up, investigated and used, the next element is to develop a media plan. This should be done on a monthly basis and be subject to different trends to account for external influences. The media plan will set forth the exact media to be used and the duration and expenditure allocated. The plan will also allow the company to prepare in advance for future months. 

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With sales, the old adage 'being able to walk before you run' has to be applied. The costs of launching and having a sales promotion will vary and any measures that are taken should be cost effective. 

The results of any sales campaign will take time and should be analyzed to ensure the chosen promotion is giving your business a good return on its investment.

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(c)  Est 08/00 - Last Updated 28/05//2001