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Could your sales efforts use a little push in the right direction? If you don’t have one already, a sales plan could be just the thing you need to help you map out your strategy and measure its effectiveness.
Writing and implementing a sales plan is an excellent practice for business success and can be key to identifying exactly what you need to do to achieve your revenue goals. Just like a marketing plan, a sales plan allows you to hone in on your value proposition, your audience’s needs, and the necessary steps you have to take to connect the dots from prospect to customer. And it doesn’t have to be overly complicated in order to be effective.
Creating a sales plan is a small effort that has the potential for a big payoff. Here’s how to put one together.
A sales plan is a strategy-based document specifically dedicated to sales. It follows the traditional structure of a business plan with a much more narrow focus and is designed to outline your sales objectives and how you intend to achieve them.
To be effective, your sales plan needs to cover a few essential categories. Think of each of these categories as a different piece in the larger puzzle of what it will take to hit your sales goals, with each serving an important role in getting you where you need to go.
In most cases, you’ll be pulling this information from various existing strategies instead of coming up with everything from scratch. The idea is to put it all together into one sales plan that you can then use as a jumping-off point for sales efficiency and enablement.
You’ve got the basics, so now it’s time to weave everything together. This will require a bit more work than simply copying-and-pasting each of the above sections into a single document, but putting effort into building a stellar plan will definitely pay off later via sales performance and profits.
Kick-off your sales plan with a quick overview of your company mission, as well as your position in your industry and who your competitors are. You don’t have to get too detailed, but make sure that this section includes a brief look at your company history, particularly the values behind your brand and the intent behind what you’re creating, selling, and offering potential customers.
Every person on your sales team has a crucial role to play. List all of your team members and what their roles are. In addition to giving you insight into what you’re already bringing to the table, this will also help you figure out if there are some gaps you still need to fill. It’s also an essential step to take in determining the most essential avenues for selling your product.
Having a great product or service doesn’t count for much if you’re not targeting the right audience. Get as detailed as you can in describing your target market, and create various buyer personas as needed, so you have a clear picture of who you need to reach. Dive into their industry, pain points, who they report to, what their day-to-day job tasks look like, etc. Knowing the full details around their professional demands and needs will only help you be better at selling to them.
What tools are you providing your sales team with to ensure success? Include everything from training platforms to your CRM tool, as well as anything else that your reps will be using to do their jobs more effectively. List your budget for these tools as well, in case you need to expand.
Listing these out will hold your sales team accountable. It makes it very clear what enablement is available to them so they can be more strategic in their methods and ultimately more successful.
You don’t need to include your whole marketing strategy here, but do cover any promotions you intend to offer and the general scope of what you intend to do to generate more leads and convert them into customers.
Email marketing methods, like drip campaigns and special offers, are things to consider including. This might be a good area to loop in your marketing team so you can consider the various tactics they’ll use and how they align with what the sales team implements.
What are the characteristics of a sales qualified lead for you? Go over the process for qualifying leads and for using inbound and outbound tactics to move them down the funnel. Maybe make a map or a visual representation of what this looks like so the team can understand it as clearly as possible. This visual could also come in handy during the training process for new sales hires.
Set out very clear goals for your team and the quotas you’ll need to hit along the way. Base these goals on past performance and the current state of the market, and make sure that they’re realistic (while still making them ambitious).
The basic act of putting your sales plan together will already put you a step ahead. From there, follow through on the objectives and processes you’ve set out within it — the rest should fall into place from there.
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