In a complex sale, a good tactical plan is only as good as the strategy that led up to it. The difference between strategy and tactics in sales is important—tactics refers to the techniques you use when you’re actually face to face with a prospect or customer in a meeting. It includes the things you learned in “Selling 101” including questioning skills, understanding buying influences, presentation skills and so on.
The strategy for a sales meeting includes a series of less recognized processes that you use to position yourself with the customer before the sales call even begins. Strategy is a prerequisite to tactical success. You can only succeed in sales today if you know what you’re doing and why and you’ve created a methodology or process to support your efforts.
One of my favorite books on this subject was Strategic Selling by Miller & Heiman. It was first published in 1985, and was the foundation for the training I received selling for a Fortune 100 company. The book was updated and published again in 2005 by the title The New Strategic Selling. If you can’t answer the question, “why are you successful?” then you may want to consider investing the time and energy to understand and document your strategy for sales success.