8 Ideas to Develop a Successful Sales Plan
A successful sales plan is one that outlines your company’s goals, target audience, and your objectives, as well as any potential obstacles. It should also be able to meet the needs of your potential customers.
Any successful company with a sales team has a sales plan.
When your salespeople head into a new quarter with a sales plan for your business, they’re more likely to improve sales forecast accuracy and effectively support your organizational goals. It's like a traditional business plan, but a sales plan focuses specifically on your company’s sales strategy.
Quite a number of businesses miss out on sales because they do not have a solid business plan.
A successful sale is a deliberate and thoughtful activity. Here are some ideas that you should follow in order for your sales team to start succeeding:
1. Think and Set Realistic Sales Goals
Outlining your goal should always be the first step in planning a sales call. It needs a clearly defined end goal – a realistic one that is based on the size of your target market, your company goals, and the experience and resources available to your sales team. Before you even start thinking about incentives, commissions, or bonuses for your sales team, you need to take a good, hard look at your business plan and ask yourself: Is my annual revenue goal realistic? Start by looking at last year’s forecast and results.
2. Set a Deadline in Your Sales Plan
Set a realistic deadline or timeframe in order to motivate your sales team to start taking action. Don’t forget to track their progress. Track your overall sales revenues as well and see whether they increased over the course of a year. Compare the results to your previous years’ numbers as well as to the industry’s standards.
Be realistic about your process and sales cycle in terms of knowing how long each part of the sale will take. Missing deadlines can result in additional costs and slowed productivity.
No matter the goal – whether big or small – make sure you break it down into small, achievable steps that your team can accomplish daily or weekly. Be honest with yourself about your team’s time and priorities.
3. Focus on Your Key Values
A sales plan allows you to identify the steps that your team would need to take in order to meet sales targets. Formulate a strategy for acquiring new clients and maintaining your existing ones. Your unique selling proposition is the thing that sets you apart from your competition. Understand your competitor’s functions. It is the key to success. Most of this information should be in your sales plan. And never forget that the sales plan should be focused on realistic and measurable goals.
4. Target Customers
Targeting the ideal customers for your business is the most important but difficult part of the sales plan. You can sell to everyone, but you cannot realistically target everyone. A target customers are the people who are most likely to pay you for your products or services – they usually share the same common characteristics like demographics and behaviors. Over time, make sure to reevaluate and prepare to possible change your target market.
5. Identify and Overcome Obstacles
A sales objection is often quite explicit and hard to miss – you’re unable to close a sale. Figure out what’s keeping your salesperson from closing the sale. In order to overcome the obstacle, it is important to understand your target audience. Demonstrate the unique value of your product and give specific examples of how the product will solve a problem for the customer. Once you understand these obstacles and the strategies to overcome them, you will have all the tools you need to make the sale.
6. Establish an Effective Action Plan
In a new sales cycle, everyone wants the next reporting period to be better than the last. Try creating a prospecting action plan that can help keep your sales people’s prospecting activities in laser focus. Don’t forget to create a log of actions and impacts.
If you need an effective action plan to improve yours or your team’s sales performance, you should create a daily task list and stick to it. When it comes to maximizing sales and meeting your organization’s performance objectives, creating an action plan should be your priority. The action plans should be organized along the strategic objectives, outcomes, financial plan, and outputs that need to be achieved.
7. Customer Journey Map
A customer journey map gives you a birds eye view of your customer’s experience. It allows you to see how your customers or potential customers move through your sales funnel. Customer Journey maps include your company’s sales process, length of your buying cycle, recurring revenue model and level of post-sale interaction with customers. A customer journey map tells the story of the customer’s experience from initial contact until it becomes a long-term relationship.
8. Providing Excellent Customer Service
This one’s a no brainer. Excellent customer service ensures that your customers stay loyal to you and that they’ll keep coming back. It also encourages your customers to refer your business to everyone whom they feel can benefit from your services or products. One of the biggest factors in good customer service is speed, so always respond as quickly as possible. Know your customers and remember the conversations that you have with them. Take the time to find out what each customer expects.
If you receive feedback, whether positive or negative – be sure to take action and follow through.
One of your company’s primary goals should be to keep your existing customers happy so that they’ll stay with you, and so that they’ll refer you.