The Best Sales Tactics for Your Small Business

Sales are like quality employees; there’s never enough of them. Take a look at these seven sales tactics you can implement to boost your small business sales performance.

Updated April 13, 2020

There are no magic formulas or secret sales tips for boosting your sales metrics and performance. Sales are dependent on a myriad of factors lining up in your favor, and many of them are out of the numbers on your sales dashboard. The best you can do is do your best putting in the work.

The work is all you have. It’s your brand, your product, your approach, your sales team, sales process, tone, voice, messaging, sales analytics, etc. Take the time to optimize your work, and your sales will follow.

Businessman pushing a boulder.

There’s virtue in doing the work, and success requires pushing the boulder. Source: Wonderslist

The work varies from business to business, but we’ve identified seven sales tactics that apply to all businesses as well as outside and inside sales teams. These tactics empower your business and sales team to make the most of every interaction with prospects and leads, as well as throughout the customer life cycle.

These tactics will fill your sales pipeline with quality leads and turn those leads into valuable customers.

Here are our picks for the top sales tactics for your small business

  • Be authentic in communications
  • Understand pain points and business needs
  • Persistently personalize outreach
  • Build a consistent lead management process
  • Nurture non-stop
  • Measure everything
  • Employ empathy throughout

What to consider when choosing a sales tactic

Before we dive into the tactics, it’s important that you spend the time reflecting and analyzing your status quo. Figure out what your business is, who it caters to, what’s working for you and what isn’t.

An illustration of different business icons.

Successful businesses keep an eye on performance and constantly look for optimizations. Source: Dr. Mani

Identify the pain points, the leaks, and general inefficiencies from the top-down and the bottom up. There are fundamental components to your business that no sales tactic can substitute for.

Here are a few business components to consider and solve for to ensure you get the most out of your new sales tactics.

1. What is success for you?

Success may simply be building a business that provides a comfortable living for you and your family. Success may be building a business and eventually selling to a VC or other investor. Or success can require more specific and aggressive goals like becoming the leading or only business like yours in the region.

What’s critical to understand here is that you need a definition for success to best build and manage your business. You’re sure to face decisions that don’t have an easy answer. In these cases, you can consistently make decisions that positively impact the pursuit of your definition of success.

2. What’s the roadmap for your business over the next few years?

Once you’ve defined what success looks like, you can build the path your business needs to take to reach it. Your roadmap is a goal or group of goals set against a specified time period.

Milestones like paying off business loans, making your 100th sale, launching an advertising strategy are all great steps to list on your roadmap.

Map of words that imply the road to success.

There are infinite roads your business can travel down, which makes it critical you define success and stick to a path that leads there. Source: Fortune Builders

Similar to defining success, building a roadmap and setting goals empowers you to keep your business on the right course as you inevitably face difficult decisions.

A detailed roadmap is also critical when seeking additional capital, partnering with other businesses, and simply when discussing your business with potential clients. All these parties want to ensure you’re managing your business for the long run.

3. Who is your customer and why would they buy from you?

Too many businesses just throw products against the wall and count whatever sticks as sales. We’re still in the midst of a digital revolution and consumer data gold rush. There’s never been a better time nor has it ever been easier to hone in on who your most valuable customers are or could be.

Successful businesses are using this data to build a journey map that perpetually considers their customers as they build their product portfolio, identify sales channels, and build customer acquisition strategies.

Even high-risk businesses declaring “build it and they will come” can and should know exactly who the “they” is, how many of them there are, and what their projected value is per visit, sale, etc.

At the end of the day, customers are what move your business down your roadmap toward eventual success. Keep them top of mind.

The top 7 sales tactics your small business should try

After you’ve adequately addressed the above considerations, it’s time to get selling. Here are seven sales tactics for your business to boost sales. These aren’t flash-in-the-pan tactics to help you hit quarterly numbers. These are foundational tactics that should be permanently baked into your sales process to provide lasting benefits.

1. Be authentic in communications

Each communication with your prospects, leads, and customers builds on your relationship with this audience. Consistency is critical for relationship management, key to prospecting, maintaining, and strengthening bonds between your business and consumers. And authenticity is a sure way to ensure consistency.

Your sales, marketing, and advertising messaging should all be rooted in your business’ brand values, voice, tone, etc. This is a top-down tactic as well as bottom-up: bottom-up in terms of daily execution and top-down in terms of leadership defining what the business’ identity is.

Once defined, this identity should be at the core of all outreach and mandated in your contact management software.

2. Understand pain points and business needs

You can build a better understanding of customer needs and boost sales by thinking of your products as a solution to customer pain points. This won’t be the case for all businesses, but it’s a critical mindset for business-to-business (B2B) businesses as well as businesses selling more complex consumer products.

The mindset here is that while you’re technically selling a product, your customers are buying a solution to an existing problem. If you’re selling project management software, your customers are buying efficiency. If you’re selling commercial sanitization services, your customers are buying cleanliness and peace of mind.

Operating with this mindset empowers you to connect emotionally and practically with leads and increase sales.

3. Persistently personalize outreach

While you can metaphorically understand your ideal customers, you should also be working to actively identify and track your prospects and leads. You can do this using cookies, pixels, or javascript embedded into your site, such as Google Analytics.

Uncovering your customers this way empowers you to send highly personalized communications and offers to these individuals.

This automated personalization has become table stakes for marketing and advertising at leading enterprises. And the increasing availability and affordability of these personalization capabilities makes it a great time for businesses like yours to implement as well.

Examples of automated personalization capabilities include:

  • Targeting prospects and leads with highly relevant display ads
  • Optimizing offers based on individual lead behavior
  • Maximizing messaging impact by sending outreach at optimal times

4. Build a consistent lead management process

Your lead qualification and management process is the roadway for prospects to become leads and leads to become customers and customers to become advocates and repeat customers. Successful lead management defines responsibilities for account management and processes between inbound marketing and sales teams.

This ensures no leads fall through the cracks and also tracks outreach so that leads aren’t being over-communicated to.

An illustration of the sales conversion funnel.

Building a process to manage leads and move them through your funnel. Source: Lead Squared

Inbound marketing software and CRM systems are crucial tools for marketers to optimize their lead management duties. Client management software is critical for the sales side of the lead management process.

There’s different client organization software, just ensure it integrates with your inbound marketing software or CRM for easy transitioning.

5. Nurture non-stop

Closely tied to lead management is your lead nurture strategy. Nurturing, or lead scoring, refers to systemically messaging leads based on their behaviors, nurturing their inclination to make a purchase or continue to do business with you.

Nurture tactics keep your business and/or product(s) top of mind for leads and current customers.

Lead nurture software may be included with or at least tie in with your existing CRM platform. It quantifies lead behaviors into a score and then automates messaging to leads based on their score.

6. Measure everything

The modern business equivalent of knowing where you’ve been to get where you want to go is measurement and analytics. Successful businesses of all types are implementing software to measure nearly every component of their business.

Here are a few ways this is beneficial:

  • Consistent measurements allow you to identify baseline performance so that you can measure the effectiveness of tactics designed to boost that performance. Without such measurements, how would you know which tactics move the needle?
  • Applying measurement capabilities to customer analytics provides tons of insight into which segments and personas are most valuable, allowing you to focus marketing spend on these high-value targets.
  • Successful forecasting is critical for businesses to appropriately project and prepare for the days, weeks, months, and years ahead. This forecasting relies on accurate past measurements to help influence future predictions and needs.

7. Employ empathy throughout

Empathy should be at the bedrock of your business outreach and customer experience. This requires that your brand spends the time to listen, understand, and compile thoughtful responses to customer objections, current events, and product commentary.

Empathy is best implemented both from the top down through how executives treat employees and customers as well as from the bottom up with how employees treat each other, share feedback with managers, and interact with customers.

To instill empathy, you must work to be present and attentive in your interactions. Close your laptop, keep your phone tucked away, and even go as far as not taking notes. These tactics will force you to listen and hopefully see things from another perspective.

Implementing foundational tactics to maximize long-term sales

The tactics outlined in this article aren’t your typical “increase sales by 10X in one month with this simple trick” type of tactics. There are thousands of those out there and most of them have their own selling hidden just underneath the surface.

The seven tactics you just read provide lasting impact for your business as well as yourself as a professional. The best way to bring about the change you want to see and the most effective way to implement new operations in your business is to champion them yourself.

The Motley Fool has a Disclosure Policy. The Author and/or The Motley Fool may have an interest in companies mentioned.