Do you know what a sales plan is and how to carry it out?
As a company, you want to promote your products and enhance your customer base, but also increase your business volume and improve your business development. Therefore, you must have a well-defined sales plan.
Keep reading and learn the importance of having a plan that allows you to meet your business goals.
Let’s start with the basics…
What is a sales plan?
The sales plan is a way to organize your strategy over time. Concretely bring together the actions you have planned for a specific period of time, as well as the means you want to apply to reach the deadlines you have set for yourself.
Therefore, your sales plan must include an analysis of your business situation, the threats that may arise and, why not, market opportunities.
What is a sales plan for?
The commercial preparation of the sales plan is really the key to commercial performance in any business where there is human interaction. Therefore, you should never downplay the importance of this strategic step and you should take time to do it.
It is simply the best investment you can make to develop your long-term sales.
The goal of preparing for a sale is to ask the question “How to do it?” to achieve (or exceed) business objectives.
This allows you to be as efficient as possible and have maximum business impact when the time comes, by leaving nothing to chance.
Each of the sales stages must be meticulously prepared with a true sales plan, this becomes your roadmap.
How to make a sales plan?
Remember that your plan can help you take a more strategic overall approach to growing your business. It doesn’t have to be a 50-page report. For a small business, the sales plan should be simple and concise, you can even rely on a sales control board to have a better visualization of what you want to achieve.
Here are four key steps to creating an effective sales plan for a small business:
1. Set your goals
Start by deciding what goals you want to achieve. These can be revenue and margin targets or more general growth targets. Do you want to enter a new market? Expand your team? Launching a new product or service?
Write everything that comes to mind. At this stage, think big, without censoring yourself. When you’re done, share your goals with your team members and ask them for feedback or suggestions on how to complete them if necessary. In the end, everyone must accept the goals they have set.
It is essential to involve your team in preparing the plan. The more employees feel that you are listening to them, the more willing they will be to help you implement them later.
2. Clarify your goals
Once the general objectives for the year have been set, we must move on to the details. If you want to enter a new market, for example, be clear about where you want to focus.
Do some research to make sure your goals are realistic. Test your assumptions. Is there a demand for your product or service? Who will be your competitors? This step gives you another opportunity to involve your team members by asking them to do research to find all the information you need.
3. Assign resources
Once the objectives and goals have been set, you must determine in your sales plan what can be achieved within the possibilities. Do you have enough full- and part-time staff to implement your plan? Will any members of your team be on vacation or maternity leave? Will you be able to rely on help from non-sales or marketing staff? How much money will you have to invest to achieve each of your objectives?
Take stock of your tools and systems. Will you need to invest in CRM or do you already have what you need? What marketing resources do you have to support your sales team?
4. Define your key performance indicators
The only way to know if your sales plan is working is to measure its results using key performance indicators.
For example, you can monitor various sales KPIs and control revenue by seller and by region, or the percentage of leads that complete all stages from qualification to closing the sale.
If this is your first sales plan, keep it simple: choose a maximum of three to five sales indicators and constantly track them throughout the year.
Communication is a key element in measuring progress. Throughout the period of your first sales plan, it is advisable to hold regular meetings with your team to find out what is going well and what difficulties arise. Encourage open discussions to make sure the facts are correct.
Planning is often an activity that is added to other regular tasks. To avoid becoming too overwhelmed, spread the planning process over the course of a week and focus on one section of the sales plan at a time.
Try a small change, see what works for you after a month or two, and then expand and change a few things as they work for you.