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12 Sales and Marketing Strategy Examples from Real Companies

No matter how big or small, every business needs a sales and marketing strategy. Depending on how much experience you have in either field, that task can sound daunting. 

There’s no need to worry! You do not have to reinvent the wheel. The beauty of being in business is that you walk on a road paved by giants. Sure, you’ll want to toss in a little spice of your own. Perhaps someday, you’ll be a pioneer in your strategy. But for now, we need to take a look at some real examples.

Sales strategy examples

  • Value-based Selling
  • Power-Based Principle
  • SPIN Selling
  • Solution Selling
  • Challenger Selling

A sales strategy is a series of actions, decisions, and corresponding goals that inform you how your sales department depicts your business and its services/products to new customers. A sales strategy is the guiding light for salesmen and saleswomen to follow, providing clear objectives for the sales process, competitive analysis, and product/service positioning.

For the most part, all sales strategies involve management creating a plan for processes, practices, and goals. 

Sales strategies are not universal. Sure, you can follow some examples, but as I mentioned just above, you will have to implement your own twist in order for it to make sense and work for your customers. For that reason, a proper sales strategy relies almost completely on your target audience.

Now that we’re all on the same page about what a sales strategy is, it’s time to talk about some examples. These examples are merely here to inspire you for your own strategy. Although these strategies are proven successful for the companies I’ll mention, you will need to adapt them to your brand to have similar results.

Value-based selling – UPS

One of the more popular sales strategies recently is value-based selling. This is the process of positioning what you’re offering and the received value of your products or services. This is the opposite of selling based on the product or service alone. Focus on the benefit, not the product.

UPS does this very well. As one of the biggest shipping and logistics companies globally, they have a lot of competition constantly nipping at their heels. However, they tend to gallop ahead of the competition by providing an extra layer of value to their services and products.

UPS has built a global infrastructure for shipping, offering deals and value to businesses that other shipping companies simply can’t. They offer a wide range of shipping options for businesses, broadening their value by producing extra value for their customers. They don’t just sell shipping deals. They sell convenience, variety, simplicity, flexibility, and peace of mind.

Power-Based Principle – Apple

In the power-based principle selling strategy, the salesperson assumes the role of the expert in the industry. Instead of talking to customer service, development, or engineers to figure out a solution and sell something, the salesperson assesses the situation, provides all the necessary knowledge needed, and follows up with a solution.

Apple is the perfect example of this. If you’ve never been to an Apple store, then this is something that you may not be very familiar with. When you step foot in an Apple store, you’ll be greeted by what they call “Apple Geniuses”. These are people that know the product inside and out. They know every little detail, update, and product that Apple has to offer, and they have the power to sell it to you instantly.

These Apple Geniuses are also able to troubleshoot software issues and hardware failures. This is all to make the sales process as smooth as possible when visiting Apple. You deal with one person and one person only because they have all the power in the sale.

SPIN selling – everyone

SPIN selling is a strategy that utilizes a set of four basic questions in order to move closer to a sale. In his book titled “SPIN Selling,” Neil Rackham summarizes sales as simply learning to ask the right questions. He then goes on to highlight the four types of questions that you need to ask:

S – Situational

Asking situational questions gives you data that you can’t gather through research. These are questions that are unique to the lead/prospect. 

P – Problem

Asking about the problem they’re having gives you insight into their needs. It points out priority number one for them.

I – Implication

Implicational questions let you know the urgency of the situation. How soon do they need a fix?

N – Need/Payoff

Asking about what they need outside of your company gives you a general understanding of their interest independently. This provides for a solid transition to talk about features and pricing.

The idea is that each one of these questions, if asked correctly, will tell you everything you need to know about the lead, whether they qualify or not. 

No specific company is mentioned here as an example because most fortune 1000 companies use this strategy in some way or another. Because this strategy is not limited to four-set questions, it can be adapted very heavily. 

Solution Selling – Sleepnumber

Solution selling involves a process where the seller focuses on pain points and offers a solution based on the customer’s unique needs. This may sound like a generic sales strategy that every company adopts, but it has different levels to it.

Most companies have a pricing page where they focus on features. For something like a SaaS, this makes sense. Generally speaking, the features point users towards a solution.

But for physical products, it can be a little more tricky, especially if you offer a wide range of products. That being said, Sleepnumber, the mattress company, implements solution selling pretty flawlessly by asking users to take a quiz.

By answering these questions, they can direct you towards which solution they think is best for your unique pain points. This, of course, is an automated example, but it can be adapted to manual sales calls and emails. Focus on what they need and their pain points, then sell them a solution.

Challenger Selling – Cyber security

The challenger sales strategy is potentially one of the most popular sales models right now, but it’s not for everyone. Challenger selling may or may not be relevant depending on the sales rep, the situation, and the customer.

Challenger selling involves taking full control over the sale (as the sales rep) and aiming to teach the customer something new about their company. In turn, this forces the experience to be tailor-made to the situation.

Because of this, you can understand why it’s hard to nail down a specific name as an example. Instead, let’s imagine a situation based on an industry: Cybersecurity.

Remember, the goal of the challenger sales strategy is to take control of the situation by informing the customer. In cybersecurity, users may not know exactly what they need, but they know they need something. Big businesses worldwide implement some sort of security network to protect their data, but they may not understand how dire the situation can be.

Cybersecurity salespeople swoop in and inform the customer of the potential dangers and what they need to stay protected. Instead of asking, they’re telling. 

This can come off as a bit rude on paper, but in B2B, this is precisely what many business owners are looking for. They won’t care so much about the emotion of the sale. They want results.

Marketing strategy examples

  • Alternating user experience
  • Retargetting users
  • Employing user-generated content
  • Implementing loyalty rewards programs
  • Niche marketing
  • Value proposition marketing
  • Marketing as a brand, not a product

A marketing strategy is a process that marketers use to guide their various campaigns, projects, and marketing models. Much like in sales, a marketing strategy aims to structure marketing efforts, aligning the team with common goals, objectives, and processes to market to the right audience.

Think of a marketing strategy as guidelines. Marketers will reference these guidelines anytime they start a new project or create a new plan for gathering marketing qualified leads. For example, a marketing plan might be to bring awareness to a new product. A marketing strategy is what outlines the process for that plan.

At its core, marketing is nothing but promoting your brand, product, or service. It shows what you have to offer to the market in a creative way, one that stands out.

Sounds simple enough, but with the competition heating up constantly, companies are forced to step out of the box and develop new and innovative ways to get their name out there. Content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and many other examples were born from a need.

Depending on your company, what you’re selling, and your audience, you can utilize any number of strategies to really break into the market. It’s a matter of understanding what works and what doesn’t work and adapting to new and changing data. So for that reason, here’s a list of real companies that utilize certain marketing strategies.

Constantly alternating user experience – Spotify

Being the largest music streaming platform in the world, Spotify has to change up its marketing game constantly. They do this by marketing their differences, alternating the user experience nearly every time someone logs on to the app.

Implementing advanced algorithms and AI, Spotify tracks users’ preferences, genres, and music styles to make daily, weekly, and even yearly playlists. This, among many other things, makes Spotify unique. They play this to their benefit by making ads promoting their constantly alternating user experience. 

Retargeting campaigns – 1 800 Contacts 

Retargeting campaigns are one of the most effective lead nurturing strategies there is. So successful that it’s highly regarded as a marketing strategy that you simply cannot afford to miss out on.

The premise behind retargeting campaigns is relatively simple. Find already converted customers or leads familiar with the brand and target them again with new ads. An excellent example of this is how 1 800 Contacts does it. 

Using remarketing, 1 800 Contacts entices users after they’ve already left the website. With this ad, you can see that by simply coming back to them (in this case, the user hasn’t even converted yet), they get an additional 12% off their first order. 12% might seem minuscule compared to the prices of contacts nowadays, but it just might be the icing on the cake for indecisive shoppers.

User-generated content – Airbnb

We mentioned content marketing just above, but what about user-generated content? User-generated content is one of the most effective and powerful marketing strategies that any brand can utilize, but only if it fits the narrative.

For example, a company like CISCO might have a hard time creating user-generated content. On the other hand, a company like Airbnb has everything they need to implement this strategy. In fact, they already do!

Airbnb magazine is a publication that highlights user experiences all over the world. Think of it like a travel magazine used for marketing. Being a household name nowadays, people will see these exotic locations and experiences and instantly want to go. Ideally, they will look for an Airbnb on their journey.

The best part about this is that users submit their stories to the magazine. They’re already written! Once set up correctly, user-generated content is a powerful tool that doesn’t require much effort.

Loyalty rewards program – Starbucks

Everyone likes to be rewarded. It’s something that’s encoded in our DNA that we all love to receive free stuff, even if it means we have to purchase something beforehand.

Starbucks, one of the world’s leading names in coffee, implemented a loyalty program back in 2008, and it has raked in massive success ever since.

The idea is simple. By making purchases, you get points. Those points can be saved up to receive rewards like free drinks, snacks, and Starbucks merchandise. The more you spend, the more points you receive, and the more rewards. 

Niche marketing – Twitch

One could argue that niche marketing is just regular marketing. After all, we all know the importance of identifying your target audience. But what happens if that target is too broad? What happens if you try to market to an audience that is not specific enough? You will be spending tons on ads and other channels and not seeing enough ROI.

Nobody does niche marketing quite like the popular streaming service Twitch. Instead of aiming high and targeting anyone who might be interested in their service, they went explicitly for those who they know will be interested. They wasted zero time or money on broad audiences and instead went for niche-specific ones. 

What makes Twitch unique is that the platform itself is split into niches. You have video games, music, makeup, art, and all sorts of other subgenres that users can tune into and enjoy watching. Using this data, they were able to target those who have an interest in the niche and curate a unique ad experience just for them.

Value proposition marketing – Uber

We mentioned value-based selling above and listed UPS as one of the best examples. That being said, marketing your value proposition is also a really great marketing strategy.

What do people want? Value! How do they find out about the value that you’re selling? Marketing! And nobody does it quite like Uber.

Uber’s value proposition states it is “The smartest way to get around.” 

Without directly mentioning it, Uber markets its value based on the frustration that is traveling nowadays. Think about when you ride in a taxi. You either have to call them or hunt one down. Then you have to give them directions. Then, you typically pay with cash.

Uber takes the unnecessary pain points out of urban travel by including a convenient app with its service. The app allows you to summon a car directly to your location. Then, you use GPS to let the driver know where you’re going. Finally, you pay within the app, cashless and headache-free.

Marketing as a brand, not a product – Red Bull

Red Bull is well known for some obscure marketing strategies. One of the more famous examples is when they first launched in Europe. Instead of spending millions of dollars plastering posters and ads everywhere, they took to the streets of London.

For a time, you would see nothing but Red Bull cans “thrown away” in the recycle bins all around the city. Anytime someone would go to toss in a competing beverage, they would see some Red Bull cans in the mix. This caused people to wonder why so many Red Bulls were being consumed, giving the brand the leverage they needed to blast off in Europe.

It’s marketing strategies like this, and Red Bull’s stance on experiences give them the brand image they have now. They‘re constantly supporting athletes, racing teams, and individuals that dare to take risks, putting their brand up there with those who live life to the fullest. It’s hard to think about any world record broken in a car, airplane, or anything else with an engine that wasn’t sponsored by Red Bull in the last 10-15 years.

Tips for creating effective sales and marketing strategies

We’ve seen some amazing brands do amazing things in the examples above, but not every example will be easy to implement. I would say that none of these examples are easy to implement for any brand without doing the following few things first.

1. Set goals

No strategy, sales or marketing, will be successful if you don’t identify the goals of the strategy beforehand. You have to be specific with these goals and make sure everyone is on the same page. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself neck-deep and over budget without clear direction.

2. Find your target audience

Just in case you didn’t catch it before this paragraph, identifying your target audience in any strategy is not only a good idea; it’s detrimental to the success of your business. You need to know who you are marketing and selling to, their interests, where they are, and what they need.

3. Find your competition 

In addition to identifying your target audience, you also need to identify your competition. In doing so, you can learn more than you might think. You’ll understand what they’re doing well, what they aren’t doing so well, and how their audiences react to their marketing and sales strategies. 

4. Use the right tools for the trade

When it comes to sales and marketing, there’s seemingly an infinite amount of tools that you can use to help make the process smoother and even automate it. For example, Encharge helps you build automation flows so that you can automate the right emails at the right times. Create user profiles and even send out automated emails based on behaviors and actions taken by the prospect, lead, or customer. 

Conclusions and takeaway

Sales and marketing strategies are something that not many businesses will share. After all, if it works well for them, it can work well for the competition. For that reason, it’s hard to say what will work well for you in your unique situation.

No matter what you decide and which strategy you decide to go with from the list above, it will need to be adapted to meet the needs of your target audience. Play around a bit, see how your leads react, and make sure to stay on top of data as it comes in. Don’t be afraid to change things up!

And most importantly, make sure you have the tools that you need. You can book a demo with Encharge today to see how having the right tools makes all the difference.

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