What Is Strategic Sales? Key Skills in Sales Leadership

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A sales manager discusses results with team members.


To keep up with rapid change in the competitive landscape, a company needs the knowledge, ambition, and insight of a strong sales leader with strategic sales skills. Sales leaders assume a range of responsibilities including overseeing individuals and teams, managing performance, and developing sales plans.

Students and professionals who are looking to advance their careers and step into sales leadership roles can benefit from choosing higher education to build relevant strategic sales skills. Programs such as Online Graduate Business Certificates and an Online Master of Science in Management can help aspiring sales leaders prepare for leadership and management careers.

What Is Strategic Sales?

Strategic sales consists of the detailed program a company creates to target potential customers and effectively sell a product or service. Strategic sales is an important aspect of business, as sales trends continuously change. To reach their intended customers, companies must stay up to date with even the most quickly moving trends.

New technology and tools, including big data and its analysis, enhance the ability of sales teams to track and respond to trends. By gathering and analyzing data about customers and sales, sales managers can understand patterns and make strategic decisions about how best to meet company goals. To reach those goals, sales managers not only make decisions regarding strategic sales, but also motivate individuals and teams to put those strategies into action.

Key Skills in Sales Leadership

Sales leaders benefit their businesses by using a strategic sales approach to generate revenue. To succeed, sales leaders must develop the following core competencies:

Understanding predictive analytics — As big data in business becomes more important, sales teams can gather data about customers and sales. Managers use data and analytics tools to set targets for teams and individuals. After analyzing sales data, sales leaders can use what they learn to predict which sales strategies will be effective.
Evaluating past sales strategies — Sales leaders who develop new sales strategies can evaluate past approaches to learn what has and hasn’t been effective in targeting customers.
Identifying competition — Sales leaders must understand the value of their product or service as compared to existing and potential competition. Sales managers can study how other companies target consumers and develop their own strategic sales plans to win business from rivals.
Knowing the needs of customers — Sales leaders should be aware of customer needs to know how to provide the best product or service. By knowing customers and building relationships with them, sales managers can create more effective sales plans.
Building a sales team and coaching individuals — Sales leaders have the opportunity to hire team members they believe would be a good fit for their company. They can set goals for the team and implement performance management plans. Sales managers can coach individual team members and encourage them with constructive feedback. Throughout the process, from strategizing sales plans to overseeing team members, sales leaders should effectively communicate with all stakeholders.

Strategic Sales in Action

Different businesses will implement different plans for strategic sales, but all sales leaders can benefit from developing strategic sales skills. By pursuing advanced education, students and professionals can develop a deeper theoretical understanding of strategic sales as well as skills for the practical application of its methods.

Ohio University offers several Online Graduate Business Certificates in leadership and management, including the Strategic Sales and Sales Leadership Certificate. This program offers the following courses:

Building and Developing Customer Relationships — This course focuses on helping students develop better interpersonal communication as well as negotiation skills. Students learn a variety of ways to create effective relationships with customers.
Sales Analytics — This course teaches students to use data sets and software to inform sales leadership. Students gain familiarity with sales forecasting and opportunity management, various customer-centric metrics, and sales resource allocation.
Sales Leadership — This course illustrates the core principles of effective regional and international sales management. Students also learn about the relationship between sales and marketing, how to develop a sales strategy, and how to set a sales objective.

Ohio University’s Online Master of Science in Management program enables students to develop an understanding of management in the modern workforce. The curriculum focuses on developing strong managers who can lead teams effectively. Promoting innovation and business intelligence, the program also equips students for roles involving performance management, operations management, and entrepreneurship.

Prepare for a Career in Strategic Sales

As the business world continues to evolve, the need for effective sales leaders continues to increase. Students who are looking to further develop their leadership and management skills would do well to explore Ohio University’s Online Graduate Business Certificates and Online Master of Science in Management. Learn more about how these programs can equip students to build their careers in strategic sales.


Recommended Reading

Ohio University College of Business Virtual Open House

What Is a Graduate Certificate and How Can It Benefit My Professional Development?

What Does an MBA Curriculum Look Like?



Entrepreneur, “5 Factors That Contribute to the Success of Your Business”

Forbes, “4 Sales Trends That You Need To Know About In 2019”

Harvard Business Review, “Why New Sales Managers Need More Training”

Marketingmo, Sales Management Strategy

Ohio University, Strategic Sales & Sales Leadership Certificate

Sales Drive, “20 Sales Management Strategies to Lead Your Sales Team to Success”