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Why You Need a Sales SWOT Analysis [+ Tips on Writing One]

By Letícia Fonseca, Jul 21, 2022

sales swot analysis

Want to improve efficiency and raise your sales numbers?

Of course you do!

A sales SWOT analysis can help. In brief, this type of analysis looks at internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats. 

I’ll go into more depth about what a SWOT analysis is, exactly, in a moment. But the key here is that a SWOT analysis provides a holistic view of a business. Or, as I’ll discuss in this article, a sales organization.

With a sales SWOT analysis in hand, you’ll have all the information you need to improve your department’s performance. So, let’s talk SWOT for sales, including how you can visualize your analysis with ease. 

 

Click to jump ahead: 

What is a sales SWOT analysis and why is it important?

A SWOT analysis is a strategic method for assessing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats your team faces. You can conduct a SWOT analysis for a company as a whole, or get more granular and look at a specific team, like sales. 

Of course, we’ll be talking about the latter. For a more in-depth explanation of SWOT analyses in general, check out this video:

But why is a SWOT analysis important you ask?

For starters, this type of analysis can help you develop a plan to improve your internal sales processes. It can also help you figure out how your sales team stacks up against the competition and what you can do to boost your numbers.

Here’s an example of a simple SWOT analysis for context: 

sales swot analysis
 

Just so you know, some of our templates are free to use and some require a small monthly fee. Sign up is always free, as is access to Venngage’s online drag-and-drop editor.

Perhaps most importantly, a strategic sales analysis directs your attention to what matters — i.e. where your team may be lacking and where improvements will have the greatest impact. 

SWOT analyses are also about risk assessment. As part of a SWOT, you’ll need to objectively assess external threats. This step is crucial for getting in front of any potential problems. 

In other words, a sales SWOT analysis can help you get ahead of the competition. 

Here’s another example of a simple SWOT analysis assessing the competition: 

sales swot analysis
 

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In addition to sales, these types of analyses are extremely useful in industries where things change quickly and you need to stay on top of situations. For instance, a SWOT analysis in healthcare would’ve helped organizations during the pandemic stay on top of these destabilizing events.

How to conduct a sales SWOT analysis

Now for the good stuff. Conducting a SWOT analysis is a blessedly straightforward process. Just remember to approach your analysis with as objective a mind set as possible. 

Here are four simple steps to follow: 

1. Evaluate your internal strengths and weaknesses 

Which processes run like clockwork? Which ones get jammed up on the regular? What does Jane excel at? What is John’s Achilles heel? 

This part of your analysis should focus on your sales organization’s internal strengths and weaknesses. That is, areas you have control over. Typically, this includes looking at processes as well as team dynamics and individual performance. 

You’ll want to evaluate the special skills team members bring to the table and where they may be lacking. Keep in mind their performance in these areas:

  • Sales skills
  • Product knowledge
  • Market knowledge
  • Customer relationships
  • Team collaboration 

2. Identify external opportunities

Opportunities include any elements in your business’s environment that could be used to improve your position. In relation to your team, you may identify opportunities for additional sales training, new tools to streamline processes or sources of information on your target market and their buying preferences. 

When assessing opportunities, brainstorm everything that could improve sales performance. You should also be aware of market opportunities as a whole. Some factors to consider might include:

  • Expanding into new markets
  • Identifying market trends 
  • Increasing market share

If you’re considering the market and competitive landscape, this SWOT analysis template could do the trick: 

sales swot analysis
 

3. Identify external threats 

Threats refers to anything in your business’s environment that may hurt your ability to compete in the market. This could include new competitors entering the market, economic instability or tighter regulations. By identifying threats to your business, you’ll be able to adapt proactively. 

To recap, threats usually fall into three buckets: 

  • Competition 
  • Economic conditions
  • Changing customer needs or preferences

4. Develop a plan to capitalize on strengths and opportunities, and overcome weaknesses and threats 

Now that you know where you excel and where you fall short, it’s time to create an action plan. 

Think about how you can emphasize your strengths. In terms of your team, that may mean reorganizing members depending on their aptitudes. When it comes to processes, you may want to replicate successful ones. 

Conversely, think about how you can rectify your weaknesses. If a process is broken, put a plan in place to fix it. If your team members lack specific skills, set them up with a course or training session. 

Do the same with opportunities and threats. Think about which opportunities will have the most impact and which threats are the most pressing. Have your priorities straight? Great. Start at the top of the list and work your way down. 

Bear in mind, conducting a sales SWOT analysis is a continuous process. As a business evolves, so too will opportunities and threats. And as you take action on strengths and weaknesses, new ones will crop up. 

The moral of the story: a SWOT analysis is not a one and done deal. You’ll want to update your analysis periodically to stay ahead of the game. 

Here’s an example of a SWOT analysis for ecommerce that you could easily edit for your sales organization: 

sales swot analysis
 

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Different ways to create a SWOT analysis for sales teams

By now, you’ve seen how many factors you can consider in a sales SWOT analysis. You can also take a more granular approach and look at one specific aspect of your sales organization. 

For example, you could: 

Analyze your team’s strengths and weaknesses

Are you taking advantage of your team members’ unique strengths? Do you need to move intellectual assets to another team? Or, could you do a better job of encouraging skill development and growth? 

This type of report focuses on “people” opportunities. After all, people are the backbone of any operation. Yet often, we don’t take enough time to reflect on how to help our people excel. 

Here’s a SWOT analysis template you could edit to analyze the sales performance of your team: 

sales swot analysis
 

Look at the competitive landscape

What are your competitors up to? If you’re working on a competitor analysis report, filling out a SWOT template can be a helpful first step. With this type of analysis, you’ll consider your strengths and weaknesses in relation to your competitors. 

What competitive advantages do you have? Where do you fall short? What are your competitors doing that threatens your position? What differentiators could you capitalize on? 

It goes without saying, the answers to these questions can help guide your sales strategy as a whole. 

Consider overall sales performance and processes 

In addition to team performance, you can zoom out a bit and look at the overall success of your sales organization. 

Which processes are smooth like butter? Which ones are more like chunky peanut butter? Where might you be lacking processes altogether? How does your performance stack up against competitors? Are you winning or losing out on competitive deals? 

This type of exercise can be helpful to do in collaboration with your team members. They’ll have insights into what works well, what doesn’t work so well and why you won out over competitors (or didn’t) in certain situations. 

For instance, you could list out positives and negatives about your sales processes in this template: 

sales swot analysis
 

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Action items for sales teams after completing a SWOT analysis

Okay so, you’ve conducted a SWOT analysis, what next? Ideally, you’ll leverage your new found insights in your overall sales plan

Here are some action items to help you make the most of your findings: 

  • Define your objectives.What do you want to get out of your sales SWOT analysis? Is your overall goal to close more deals? Do you want to reposition yourself in the market? Or, are you trying to streamline sales processes? Whatever the case may be, setting clear objectives will help you stay focused on the findings that matter. 
  • Create a timeline. Got your goals in order? The next step is to create a timeline for accomplishing them. Without set timelines, you may find yourself putting things off over and over again. Stay on track by laying out a clear timeline for implementation instead. 
  • Delegate. Unless you really are a one person sales organization, you shouldn’t have to do it all by yourself. Delegate tasks to your team members depending on their strengths (you should be well acquainted with these by now!). 
  • Monitor progress. Depending on the scope of your SWOT analysis, you may want to fill out a weekly or monthly progress report. Keeping track of progress isn’t just a task management thing — seeing how much has been accomplished is good for team morale, too.

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Sales SWOT analysis examples

For more context, here are some simple, fictional examples of how to do a sales SWOT analysis:

  • Company A excels at market research but has trouble closing deals. To emphasize their strength and overcome their weakness, they could concentrate on positioning themselves in the market. They have the knowledge they need to take a strong position, which will help them close more deals in the future. 
  • Company B has a talented sales team but lengthy processes are getting in the way of success. To take advantage of their team’s talent, they may want to promote internally and eliminate extra layers of approval. This will help their team move faster and perform better.
  • Company C has a fantastic new product but better established competitors dominate the market. Their sales team could focus on putting together case studies demonstrating the strength of their product. Or, share their SWOT analysis with marketing and put together a competitive campaign.

These examples are over-simplified, but you get the point! If you can find a way to use a strength to address a weakness, well, that’s the holy grail of SWOT analyses.

More of a visual learner? The following template demonstrates how to do a simple sales SWOT analysis:

sales swot analysis
 

As you can see, this example is product focused. It lists the company’s unique selling propositions (USPs) as well as their shortcomings. An analysis like this is a great jumping off point for a larger action plan. 

Here’s another example of a competition SWOT analysis:

sales swot analysis
 

Again, this example focuses on USPs as well as shortcomings, but you could customize the content for any type of SWOT analysis. Of course, this is just one of many Venngage templates

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How to create a sales SWOT analysis design in Venngage

First time visiting us? Here’s the one-sentence explanation: Venngage is a simple, online design platform you can use to create engaging, easy-to-understand business communications, including (you guessed it!) SWOT analyses. 

Here are are a few simple steps to help you get started: 

  1. Sign up for a free account here. As I mentioned a little earlier on, many of our templates are free to use and share, but others require a small monthly fee. Any template labeled premium or business falls into the paid category. To download your designs in different formats, you’ll also need a membership. 
  2. Click on Templates from Home or your dashboard.
sales swot analysis
  1. Select SWOT Analysis under the Diagrams category on the left menu pane. This will bring up a list of all our SWOT analysis templates.
sales swot analysis
  1. Click Create on the template of your choice to customize your SWOT analysis. 
sales swot analysis
 
  1. Once you’re finished, you can save the file on your device as a PNG, PNG HD or PDF if you’re subscribed to a Premium account, or an Interactive PDF, PowerPoint or as HTML if you have a Business account. 
sales swot analysis

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FAQs about sales SWOT analysis

How do you write a good sales SWOT analysis?

A good sales SWOT analysis is clear and succinct. Start by determining the objective of your analysis before listing Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Use bullet points for each section for scannability. 

To make the most of this exercise, you should update your sales SWOT analysis regularly. After every update, make sure you set precise goals, establish a timeline, delegate tasks and track progress on SWOT action items.

What are the strengths and weaknesses in sales and retail?

Strong communication skills, problem-solving and a customer-oriented mindset are common strengths in sales and retail. Market research abilities, lead generation, sales proposals and customer service may also be strengths. 

Common weaknesses may include difficulty dealing with tough customers, poor time management skills and a lack of product expertise. Sales presentations, upselling and closing deals may also be challenging. 

Of course, there are many more areas your team may excel or fall short in. A SWOT analysis can help you identify these areas and make the most of them, or take steps to improve.

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Improve sales performance with a SWOT analysis 

At the end of the day, a SWOT analysis helps you assess where you stand — whether you’re looking at your sales organization as a whole or you’re honing in on your company’s position in the market. 

And when you know where you stand, it’s much easier to figure out where to step next. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one more time: you can easily create a SWOT analysis in Venngage by editing one of our many 100% modifiable templates. Best of luck to you! 

 
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About Letícia Fonseca

Letícia is a Content Marketing Specialist, and she is responsible for the International strategy at Venngage.

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