Sales Strategies vs. Sales Tactics | What’s the difference?

Sales leaders, stop using "sales tactics" and "sales strategies" interchangeably. There's a significant distinction between the two.

So then, sales tactics and sales strategies, what’s the difference? Sales strategies are the long-term plans, decisions, and goals that inform how you sell to your potential customers and meet targets. In contrast, sales tactics are your intentional actions to get prospective customers to commit to the sale. 

In this article, I distinguish the difference between sales strategy vs. sales tactics and the significance of both in your sales organization. 

sales hiring and sales team

What is a sales strategy?

A sales strategy is a set of objectives, goals, and decisions that inform how your sales team positions the organization, product, or service to close new and potential customers. It guides sales reps to follow a clear objective, sales process, product placement, marketing plans, sales pitches, selling tactics, and competitive analysis. 

Sales strategies are long-term plans set by the VP of Sales or the Chief Revenue Officer that require research, planning, and ongoing evaluation to test success.

Frame your sales strategy around the question: why would this person buy? The answer to that question should be your sales strategy. The better, more in tune, or correct your solution, the more precise your sales strategy.

Therefore, sales strategies are big picture and less about individual sales. 

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We evaluate your compensation structure, prospects, tech stack, sales playbooks, sales strategy, sales process, sales tools, hiring and onboarding to ignite revenue growth and performance.

Your strategy considers what compels potential buyers to move forward. People always have a “gut feeling” to justify a purchase. Typically, it’s emotionally charged. Your strategy isolates that “gut feeling,” and sales teams derive the best sales tactics from moving them toward the sale.
However, it’s also more intentional than that. Salespeople must set up the situation or the scenario to illicit that “gut feeling.” And that’s your strategy.

What is a Sales Objective?

A sales strategy is a set of objectives, goals, and decisions that inform how your sales team positions the organization, product, or service to close new and potential customers. It guides sales reps to follow a clear objective, sales process, product placement, marketing plans, sales pitches, selling tactics, and competitive analysis. 

sales team and sales leader

The Importance of Sales Strategies

On the other hand, sales strategies are long-term, strategic plans to reach your objectives and increase revenue and overall market share. Sales strategies are about developing relationships: with new and existing clients. A sales plan enacts a lasting impact on companies’ focus and business conduct. Sales strategies take a big-picture view of the business and the company’s revenue and sales goals. 

Sales strategies intertwine with marketing strategies and tactics for finding interested prospects and keeping existing customers happy and loyal. Strategies include developing a new product or service, expanding into new markets, or improving customer service. 

The correct sales strategy will achieve your objective and increase revenue and market share in the long run.

What are Sales Tactics?

Sales tactics are the specific actions salespeople take to implement your chosen strategy and make prospects purchase and existing customers repurchase. This results in the sales team meeting objectives and sales targets. 

Tactics are derivative of your strategy. Once your strategy is solid, you need to make this person feel that moving forward with your solution will somehow answer all their problems. 

This feeling could be fear or hope. They are the specific actions that position the salesperson to get the potential customer to make intentional decisions toward moving forward with the deal. Those are tactics.

To utilize the right tactics, ask yourself this:

  • What do I need to do to make them feel that way? 
  • What do I need to say? 
  • What do I need to show? 
  • What do I need the prospects to do? 

Your tactics are customer-centric and establish trust. They address pain points and provide solutions that illicit emotions and success. Product knowledge will not turn prospects into other customers. 

Sales Accelerator

We evaluate your compensation structure, prospects, tech stack, sales playbooks, strategy, process, tools, hiring, and onboarding to ignite revenue growth and performance.

Tactics are derivative of your strategy. Once your strategy is solid, you need to make this person feel that moving forward with your solution will somehow answer all their problems. 

This feeling could be fear or hope. They are the specific actions that position the salesperson to get the potential customer to make intentional decisions toward moving forward with the deal. Those are tactics.

To utilize the right tactics, ask yourself this:

  • What do I need to do to make them feel that way? 
  • What do I need to say? 
  • What do I need to show? 
  • What do I need the prospects to do? 

Your tactics are customer-centric and establish trust. They address pain points and provide solutions that illicit emotions and success. Product knowledge will not turn prospects into other customers. 

The Importance of Sales Tactics

Sales tactics intentionally push your individual customer towards making the sale, increasing more deals. Typically, sales tactics close a deal already in progress; remember, you must set up the situation or the scenario to illicit that “gut feeling.” 

Most companies have an arsenal of sales tactics ready to use at the first indication of a sale. Your salespeople may know every trick in the book, but most customers expect those. You need to have defined and customer-focused sales tactics to close that deal. 

These tactics secure qualified leads. Sales tactics psychology includes asking questions that shed light on solutions for pain points and problems, offering a discount or free shipping, sending follow-ups after sales calls, product demos, or other high-pressure sales tactics. A sales tactic may be specific to the industry, company, or sales team. However, it is largely informed by your sales plan and strategy. 

With a clear strategy, most sales tactics are useful. The better, more in tune, and correct your sales strategy, the more likely you are to choose the correct tactics. You know which tactics will likely work and which will fail. Sales leaders need to make better tactical choices and stick with them. Other businesses’ anecdotes of success shouldn’t sway you or tempt you away from your strategy. 

When you make decisions without a solid sales strategy, you run blind. The odds of getting where you want to go and reaching your sales goals and objective are low. You will not win.

The difference between strategy and tactics is relatively esoteric and superficial. Strategies are subjective and need to be more concrete. Typically, tactics are concrete. Salespeople engage in concrete actions to compel your prospect to take the move you want: buy the product or service. 

sales leader speak with prospect and sales team

Do you have a winning sales strategy?

Do you know why your buyers buy? Do you need to improve your high-pressure sales tactics? Is your sales enablement dead in the water? 

The main difference between sales strategy and tactics is coming up with a sales plan, figuring out why this person would buy, and then planning the action your sales team must do without committing that person to buy. 

You can’t afford to leave anything up to chance. We help close more deals faster and at a higher rate. Rose Garden uses a combination of assessments to identify sales team members’ strengths and motivators in our Team Assessment, or our Sales Accelerator Assessment provides an in-hand diagnostic, data points, and sales experience roadmap for quick results.

New businesses must stay up-to-date and ahead of the competition in today’s ever-evolving sales landscape. We provide Founders and CEOs with hands-on coaching to create systems & strategies to scale their sales team and achieve success. You can’t afford to leave anything up to chance.

Get started with a Team Assessment, or dive in with our Sales Accelerator.

Ali Mirza

About the author:

Ali Mirza is the Founder & CEO of Rose Garden, a national sales consulting organization, and featured in Forbes, Inc, Business Insider, The Huffington Post, Business Rockstars, and The Wall Street Journal.

Ali is a highly sought-after public speaker presenting at multiple national conferences on innovative ways to accomplish transformational growth on your sales team.

Rose Garden provides unparalleled support and guidance to growth-minded founders via sales strategy differentiation, world-class sales culture creation, and exclusive playbooks, processes, and scripts to position them for limitless growth.

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