Strategy vs tactics in a sales business

Written by Kyra Kirrane

If successful business is a game of chess, you surely want to win, right? But what moves will you make to bring the victory home?

A successful sales business must be aligned at all levels, from the top of the pops to the shop floor. Strategy and tactics in a sales business help us to attract customers and blow our sales KPI out of the water, month after month. Let’s break down the difference between strategy vs tactics and look at how each can be applied to a sales environment.

Defining a Sales Strategy

A sales strategy is a high-level plan for marketing your products and services. Your strategy answers your customers’ questions, such as “what for?” What is your product or service for? What niche does it occupy? Why is it important to your customer?

A strategic plan, therefore, is a general idea of how you’ll reach your goal. Strategy usually looks at the long-term goal and is reviewed regularly to adapt to a changing environment.

Strategy in a sales business describes how your product or service is different from that of your competitors. Is your offering more affordable, or higher quality, or locally made? These are some popular strategies to market business offerings.

Defining Sales Tactics

On the other hand, tactics are the measurable actions put in place to achieve the strategy. Tactics actually advertise, promote, and sell your offering.

A tactical plan details the specific steps you’ll take to reach your sales target. Draw your tactical plan from your overall strategy. For example, if your strategy involves occupying an online niche, your tactical plan will include specific online activities that attract followers, increase post shares, and increase sales.

Your tactics will depend on the kind of business you run and who your customers are. Are you handing out flyers in a busy mall, or targeting social media users? Are you offering a limited-time discount during a holiday period? Perhaps you’re offering a discount to those who sign up to your email marketing. What about a giveaway?

How to Measure Strategy vs Tactics

A sales KPI measures your progress towards your strategy. It is the ideal state you want to achieve on a regular basis. A sales target takes your sales KPI and breaks it down into smaller goals with specific time frames.

Your sales KPI might be to increase sales by 40% in the next two years. Your sales KPI is broken down into a series of targets, i.e. how many sales are required in specific time frames to achieve that goal.

Work backwards: 40% increase in two years, is 20% increase per year. That’s 10% per 6 months, or 5% per 3 months, and so on. Work out a specific number of products, services, or overall value that must be achieved per month, week, or day, per employee.

It’s Not Strategy vs Tactics, It’s Strategy and Tactics

You can’t run a successful sales business with just one or the other.

You can’t take measured steps every day, without a destination. Conversely, you’ll never reach your ideal destination if you don’t know how to walk.

Once you’ve defined a clear long-term goal, you can break it down into smaller, more frequently measured goals that drive your daily business practices.