Excellence in business requires you to have a perfect sales plan which you follow to execute your sales activities. Planning involves sitting around then come up with something visible let’s say a document and not just getting something started. A perfect sales plan goes along with execution as they always say that a sales plan without execution is a waste of time.
I believe in a well thought out and successful sales plan to create a successful and achievable sales strategy. Often you have always seen what happens to salesmen or women who go to the field without a clear sales plan.
A perfect sales plan shows the salesman; his goals, priorities, outcomes, and guidelines but without a sales plan, decisions are taken depending on what is available at the moment thus that won’t lead to the estimated success in sales.
You could be interested in knowing what a sales plan is!! Or you are probably wondering how a sales plan looks like and what includes.
A sales plan is the; who, where, why, when, how, and whom that will guide you to hitting your sales goals for the year.
Alternatively, according to Jess Pingrey, a sales plan is a document used to establish sales objectives and develop strategies necessary to achieve them. Typically, this document establishes a plan for revenue growth and other measurements of success. Sales plans consist of sections outlining goals, identifying key customer attributes, and listing necessary strategies, tools, metrics, and estimated expenses.
A sales plan can be drafted on a daily, weekly, monthly basis or quarterly plan focusing on the sales you are ought to make depending on the given period and how you are going to achieve them.
Creating a sales plan involves knowing who your customers are, how you are going to find them, where they are, how to get to them, what kind of products do they like, and how to engage with them until they are convinced to become prospective buyers.
A perfect sales plan helps salesmen to spend an adequate amount of time on growing and developing your business startup as compared to responding to the day to day developments in sales.
A sales plan can help to find out at an early stage the upcoming problems within the sales team and in the field, whether making sales or not, the performance of the sales team, and many other opportunities around that. Then find solutions to challenges, drops, and do something about them, making it easy for you to harvest good results that match the investment.
Learn how to create a successful sales plan with MonkeyPesa through these 8 steps.
1. Put down your mission
Start with your mission statement as a company and your sales objectives, this act as a foundation for your sales plan and also help to define your unique selling proposition or point; this makes it vital to your plan’s success because it will guide your future sales efforts. A mission statement is a formal statement describing what your business stands for and what it aims to achieve. Clearly defining your mission statement and what you stand for is a good driving factor towards creating a perfect sales plan. Here is an example of a mission statement “We provide customers with cutting-edge digital marketing solutions with best-in-class technical support at a profit to our shareholders.” A clearly defined mission statement is the best sales management practice that drives you towards achieving the set sales goals.
2. Indicate Your Sales Objectives
What is an execution without an objective behind it? A sales plan without clearly defined sales objectives is like investing in a business without any aim. Sales objectives are goals supporting the company’s growth a year from now, as well as years in the future, in terms of revenue, market share, or profit margin. By establishing clear sales goals, you are explaining what success will look like in the clearest terms while also giving your sales team targets to follow. Your sales objectives should be smart that is specific, which means clearly defining the goal, measurable, this includes how the goal will be measured, attainable, this looks at the possibility of achieving the goal, realistic, this looks at whether the goal is real and assigned to the right people and time-bound, this looks at the deadline onto which the goal will be achieved. This is one of the basics of a clear sales plan.
3. Assess your past and future sales plans.
Unless it’s a new sales plan for a new business but if it’s a sales plan for a business that has been or already in existence then looking back into the past would make sense as your plan for the future. Assessing your performance with the previous year helps you to know various aspects around planning for the future as copy for the previous methods of selling used. Looking into the history is important in that it helps you to know;
- What was the performance of the sales team?
- Who did they sale too?
- What did they sell?
- How did they sell?
- Who sold most than the other?
- Who were target clients?
- Which kind of clients were more profitable than the others and
- Finally, how much profits did we make as a business? Looking back helps to borrow knowledge from the previous drafts onto which you can base the current or future sales plan.
4. Set measurable and achievable goals for your sales plan.
When you are drafting a sales plan you need to think about goals. Goals help to tell how much sales you are going to make and how you are going to make them. Your sales plan template needs an end goal. This helps you to know whether or not what you’ve done has been a success. Setting realistic sales goals is a great tool for enhancing performance. Working without a goal seems more like wastage of time as well as resources and your achievements won’t be directed towards anything thus the speed of work will be low and the time taken to accomplish a single sale will also be long without a clear sales plan as compared to having a plan.
Checkout and avoid these pitfalls while setting sales goals for your business.
- Wishful thinking; don’t be over-optimistic
- Ignore your assumptions; don’t assume based on your thinking. Make sure your forecast is based on your assumptions about the market
- Moving goalposts; Avoid making adjustments to the goals outlined in your sales plan even if it is being overly optimistic or pessimistic in your sales planning.
- Failure to consult; assuming that you have the best knowledge about your customer’s interests and likes; this is unfair to your sales plan. Ask your customers about their opinions and include them in the sales plan.
- Failure to have time for feedback from your clients: some salespeople end their talk or conversation with clients after making a sale though this is not effective if you want to retain your clients. Include having time for feedback in your sales plan.
5. set and include deadlines in your sales plan.
Deadlines bring things that would not come to an end to put a full stop on them and its one of the effective ways of achieving the set targets. Putting strict deadlines helps to break that big number down into smaller expectations. Clear deadlines and manageable sales plans take research and time to develop. They should challenge and motivate your sales team, without being so difficult to kill their morale. Be specific and clear with your deadlines to your team for example if you might want to increase the number of your customers by 15% and sales by 45% and these must set hard deadlines if they are to be achieved in time. And finally set individual deadlines and milestones for your sales team as well. These individual goals push salespeople to work harder towards closing deals.
6. Research about your customers and know more about them.
If you want to make more sales then you must first understand who your customers are. Imagine if you are a salesman and you are bring something on the table that your customers are not interested in, automatically what would happen is that they would just keep looking on and none of them would even dare to tap your product, this is because of the little or no interest at all. As a result, therefore, this teaches us to research, know, and understand who our potential customers are. It is impossible to build a sales and marketing plan if you don’t know who you’re selling to. Many companies quite often fail to define who they are selling too though it’s a basic component of marketing for any sales plan. Be sure to define who your ideal customer is and then research! Who are my target customers, how many are they, what social media platforms do they use most, where can they be found and how do I approach them? This will help you understand what types of sales channels can effectively reach them and also a guide to draft your plan accordingly.
7. Define the Roles & Responsibilities of the sales team.
One of the most effective ways of driving crazy sales for your company is the rule of dividing and allocating tasks to each of the individual members in the sales team. Your sales plan should include the list of roles of your sales team clearly defined. Allocate responsibilities of each role to each individual on the sales team and their expected contribution to the sales process. Set key performance indicators for each person this will help you to track their performance and can also be held accountable. In addition to the team’s direct sales activities, you should also list indirect sales responsibilities. Some examples of indirect sales responsibilities include; website enablement, running lead acquisition campaigns, and developing sales collateral.
8. Create Your Sales Budget plan
We all know that to achieve something you must incur a certain cost, if you want to execute the best sales activities that will bring you much more money then you must invest in them. A perfect sales plan should cost you less than the business is expected to earn in return and if it costs you much more than what you expect to get back them it’s not worth it. By itemizing expected costs, you will be better able to measure the anticipated return on your investment. List down all those items that you will need from the start of the sales process until the closing of the deal some of these items might include; sales team salaries, commission, service subscription costs, video conferencing calls, travel allowances, airtime, purchase of prospects lists and so many more. Once you have your well-drafted budget it helps you to plan accordingly in terms of resource allocation depending on which one is more demanding than the other.
In conclusion, the sales plan is a tool in which every business involved in sales should have to guide them through the whole sales process. If you want to have the best sales approach then you need the eight steps above discussed by monkeypesa
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