We all know we are advised to write a Business Plan when we start our businesses. So why should you also have a sales plan?
A sales plan focuses solely on sales – but specifically the strategy for how you are going to reach your sales goals.
What is the benefit of having a sales plan?
You (and any team you may have in place) will waste less time searching for sales but ultimately increase sales for your business!
What should you include in your sales plan?
Here I outline 10 key elements to include in your sales plan…
- Your mission and a bit of background to the business. While you may not currently have any team members, this could change in time (especially if you increase sales) so it is worthwhile having something that lays out what your mission is and where the business has come from.
- Target Market. It’s so important to understand who you really are targeting. Having a scattergun approach hoping you’ll attract the right leads is not going to cut it. It is really important to sit down and work out exactly who it is you are targeting with your services. Work out what their pain is that you can help them with. Think about the positives AND the negatives for this market so you can use this to your advantage. Knowledge is power!
- Outline what tools you will use to measure success. It’s important to have something in place whether this is a neat piece of software or a Google Sheet to keep track of who is in your pipeline/funnel – you can keep track of who is a prospect and who becomes a client. This will help you track your KPI’s (key performance indicators) as well as let you see at a glance who needs what from you (a follow up call/email proposal etc).
- Positioning. Where do you sit in your market? Take a look at who your competitors are not so you can suddenly come down with a bout of Comparisonitis but so you can work out what their strengths and weaknesses are. By knowing this you can position yourself better – you are armed and ready to highlight why you offer great value. Again knowledge is power/fore-warned is fore-armed!
- Marketing Strategy – sales and marketing sit side by side. The marketing helps drive prospects to you for you to convert into sales. So while you should have a separate marketing strategy make sure you refer to that in your sales plan (it can be a link to that document).
- Lead Generation – how are you going to get leads? You need to know where your consumers are coming from. How they found your service and what problem they believe your service is solving. A great way to understand this is to ask your current customers. This will help you understand how you should qualify potential sales and where you should be making that sales outreach.
- Action Plan – what are the exact steps you need to take to achieve your goal. Break it down by quarter (Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, Jul-Sep, Oct-Dec) and then again by each month in that quarter. How many calls you need to make, how many meetings do you need to get in, how many subscribers to your email list if you have a conversion rate of e.g 2% (# of sales x 100 divided by 2). And make sure you keep checking in and reflecting on how this is working for you.
- Sales Goals – have these clearly displayed so they are easy to refer back to. Are your goals based on £ revenue or # of deals? Afterall remember “If you have a goal, write it down. If you do not write it down, you do not have a goal – you have a wish.” Steve Maraboli. Write it in this plan and then write it in big letters/numbers on your whiteboard!
- Outline who does what in the team – if you do grow the business to the point you need to either hire a team or outsource some help, be clear in your plan who is responsible for what part of the sales process. e.g. Do you do all the outbound calls but someone else deals with incoming? You don’t want to get to the end of the year and someone to say to you they didn’t think it was their responsibility.
- Sales Budget – can you assign any budget to helping you achieve your goal? E.g. investing in some CRM software, hiring in a VA to help you with inbound enquiries or how about someone to help you write your sales plan if you find it too overwhelming?
I hope that has given you a good skeleton to start building your sales plan. April and the start of the financial year, is a really good time to get that nailed. But it can be done at any point in the year. Make sure you regularly review step #8 The Action Plan to see if there is anything you need to add or if things are running so smoothly and you are ahead of the game, how you can maximise on that success.
ABOUT MOIRA BARNES
Moira is a long-time friend and founding member of MINT Business Club, who delivers sales training for our members. If you’d like to see more of Moira, sign up to MINT for regular training and content from Moira and other qualified and experienced sector professionals. Moira also offers a 1 hour Sales Breakthrough Call for £99 which can help you get your ideas in order before you sit down to do the hard work. By doing this pre work it means you will have clear objectives and goals you can easily map out on your sales plan.