Have You Defined Your Teams Sales Tactics?

I was reminded today how common it is that restaurant companies have yet to really define their sales tactics in detail. They hire a few salespeople, provide a little guidance and training, usually peer to peer and then hope they are successful.

When they are not, they look to find someone else that is “better”. 

  • So, how is your sales team doing? 
  • Do they know what they should be doing? 
  • Do you have it written down? 
  • How do you break your tactics down?
  • Do you measure and talk about it one to one, as a group? 
  • How do you evaluate and make changes?

I am sure you have had similar debates but I believe sales is as much a science as it is an art.  The art is important but without the science all the art goes to waste.  Here is a little of my science when it comes to defining sales tactics.

Tactic Categories

First, I break up my tactics based on three category types:

  1. New Customers
  2. Active Customers
  3. Lapsed and Lost Customers

I am sure every business is different but in several of the ones I have been directly involved in sales broke down accordingly;

  1. New – 10%-12%
  2. Active 75-80%
  3. Lapsed/Lost 10%. 

So out of any week or month, my sales would come from customers based on this make up.  As you can see the Active Customer group has a big influence on your sales, more than the other two combined.  Newer businesses may see a higher percentage of New Customers since the business is growing rapidly and the Active list is relatively small. 

Look at your sales and define the percentage that you receive from each group and then you can work out a group of tactics that can be applied.

Every business has a slightly different customer base but overall, we are focused on two very distinct groups, B2B and B2C.  In the realm of activities for a sales team, the B2B is what I have the most

influence on since we know where to reach them, at their office.  B2C is a bit tricky and this becomes more of an exercise best coordinated with your marketing team.

Define Your Tactics

You oversee the team so it’s your job to create the plan and this plan should include the tactic name, it’s definition, the frequency, what tools are needed, how much of this do you want done within that timeframe, and finally what is expected from me by doing this tactic?  Here is a sample from my team’s tactics list.

It’s common that this can be the biggest part of your tactics list, just be careful that it doesn’t dominate your teams time.

Getting back to our Active Customers, which makes up the biggest group of your sales, you need to create 3-5 tactics that your team does regularly.  You are trying to accomplish three things; nurture your good customers, grow your less frequent customers, and get referrals so you can better penetrate specific companies.  My favorite is aptly named “Active Visit” and is simply a visit to your client, no appointment, to drop off a gift.  What is the goal, meet your client and say thank you, that is all. 

Amazingly, and part of human nature, they will want to pay you back for the gift and the result is usually an order in many cases, but the important part is that you have established an in-person relationship, shown gratitude, and did something to differentiate your brand from another.

Finally, Lapsed and Lost Customers are the ones that you want to get back into your order queue and there are two specific things that your team should be doing.  I define Lapsed as no orders after 90 days, lost is obviously a much longer timeframe and can be after 6 months to a year.

  1. Run a list of anyone that has not ordered in over 90 days.  I keep this list to 30-day increments so it’s always moving each time its run.  Now, contact these customers using a specific and tailored template, most include an offer to help incent a return.
  2. Run a list of all your customers that ordered Last Year.  You want to stay ahead, so look 4-5 weeks in advance of LY.  Again, send a specific and tailored template that engages these customers.  In many cased they may have had an event, you want to find out if they are doing it again this year.

That my science, and it really works, especially when you have a salesperson that has the “Art” that connects to the customers.  Finally, it makes measuring results easy, everyone knows what they are expected to do, how much and you have taught them the tactic so they fully understand how to get what is expected.