Why do you need a Sales Plan?
You – as a businessman or sales professional must have heard of a sales plan. I’m pretty sure you found most of the sales plans were build according to your product and industry. Many businessmen like me started doing their business without having a proper sales plan.
When I started my business, my customer base was small and I took my fees because of my expertise in certain areas I have had success without any concrete sales strategy to be true. But, when I took my first office and hired my team – and closed my first level of customers through network & promotions. I realized that I will need enough customers in my pipeline to sustain my business. After all,
Sale is one of the most important success metrics for any business
That led me to make a sales plan of my own.
So, what is a sales plan?
Simply put, a sales plan is like a traditional business plan but specifies more on your sales strategy.
“When a business plan generally prioritizes your goals, your sales plan helps you to accomplish those goals.”
Today, I am going to tell you how to build a sales plan for your business that will help you to set your sales strategy for both the short and long term. From my 8+ years of sales domain experience and consulting, I have studied many formats and came up with a modified one – suitable for any business.
I will also share a Sales Plan Template at the bottom of this article. You can go right now and download it, or read the full article about the instruction of how to do it properly the first time.
Elements of a Sales Plan
- Target Market / Customers
- Targeted Revenue
- Sales Techniques
- Promotion & Pricing
- RP (Responsible Person) and & Timeline
- Team Structure
- Sales Resources
- Marketing Situation
How to build your own Sales Plan
Building your own sales plan requires asking the right question to yourself. Here is a list of things you need to cover to build your own sales plan. You may already know some of them and probably applying them to your business now. But writing them for the first time and re-writing them by checking again, can help you refine your sales strategy.
Remember, that I have added a sales plan template for you at the end of this blog that you can customize as per your need. But, I recommend you to go through the full blog as a guideline to do it in a better way.
Step 1: Background
Just like a traditional business plan, start with writing or pasting your company’s brief history mission and vision statements. They can help you to remember and brief your future sales team about your company details and why you set out to do this business.
Remember, this is not just for you. Even if you have your company background and vision in your mind, you will still need this when you are going to hire more management and sales managers.
Step 2: Team Structure
Now, write down who is in your sales team and what are their roles/designation. Do it for your present and future team.
For the present team:
A number of people in the sales team, what do they do, who do they report to, who do they communicate internally?
For the future team:
The total number of future sales employees, their job title and when are you planning to get them to join your organization.
Step 3: Target Audience / Market
Knowing your target audience and target market’s demographic is very important. You already can assume who your target audience is by looking at your competitor. But, with a structural method, you may find an untapped market that can be your potential customer base.
Based on your products and services they can be different too. Most of the time, we think too broad fearing that we are missing our potential target audience (age, gender, location, etc). But, actually, not all of them are going to buy from you.
You need to filter them down through your sales funnel, so eventually, you find people who are most likely to buy from you.
Creating a Customer Persona document can help you to understand who can be your potential customers. That’s why I create a template for you to finding our your customer who will buy from you.
Keep the template at your disposal, as your business grows, your product and pricing will also change, and so does your customer persona.
Step 4: Resources & Tools
Without proper tools and training your sales process will cripple. In your sales plan, you should also write down the tools you will need to make it work. It could a simple excel file where you kept your database organized or it could be a CRM system that’s helping you to organize in your contacts in a better way. You may have a flow chart and process documentation that can help you and your sales team to get to the speed and follow a proven process.
Step 5: Positioning
Now, you need to write down where you are positioned in your market. What are your competitors? Their strength, weakness, pricing, product comparison.
What is the market trends? Try to assume what’s changing in your industry and how it may affect you before you take the new waves as an opportunity.
For example, if you are in software sales, an email or cold-phone call outreach might get backdated into the emergence of social selling by web media and video calls.
Step 6: Marketing
In this section, mention your pricing and the type of promotion, advertising you’re planning to run. What kind of activities you will need to do to generate more brand traction and get sales/ customer leads. How it is going to help bring more sales.
Some strategies could be:
- Reducing Price from 3000 BDT to 2700 BDT on next season (Estimated 13% increase in Sales).
- No change to your product’s pricing. (Is your sales will still be like the same?)
- Free goodies if your user refers to another customer from January 15 – 20. (20% increase in weekly sales).
- Increasing the price from 3000 BDT to 3300 BDT in March. (5% reduction in regular sales).
Step 7: Prospecting
As I mentioned again, not all of your users or audience you are going to promote your product will not buy instantly or not a good fit.
Write down how are you going to measure if they are a good fit. Sometimes, your prospect may show interest in your product. But, are they going to buy it now? or do they have enough budget or willingness to spend at your price?
List down the criteria your customers need to complete before your sales team reach out to them.
Step 8: Game Plan
Now it’s the time to write down the game plan of how you are going to reach your actual goals. This section should describe the actions plan of how you are going to meet your revenue target.
First, set your objective and then write down the lists of what can do it to achieve the objective.
Objective: Generate 20% additional revenue for the last month of the quarter.
- Increase the sales commission by 5%
- Hold a sales contest to make it competitive.
- An additional benefit (Free Trip Facility) for the top performer.
- 20% additional budget in advertising to generate enough lead.
Now, your sales team should be equipped to go for an extra revenue target.
Step 9: Goals & Targets
Though most of the sales goals are revenue target in number value. But, you can also set your goal by the number of customers you are going to acquire.
It’s important to make sure that your sales goals are realistic and specific.
If you have more than one goal, write the important one in the top and list down the others. You also should mention that timeline for achieving this goal, otherwise, you will lose the traction of time.
You may have goals to reach 8,00,00,000 BDT in sales after the end of the year. Then you need to break it down by the month or quarter.
Some Ideas are:
January – March: 1,70,00,000 BDT
March – April: 1,30,00,000 BDT
Team 1: 50,000,000 BDT / Quarter
Team 2: 1,50,000,000 BDT / Quarter
You also need to analyze realistic goals. Like your team size and expertise, market shift and seasonal trends from the last year.
Step 10: Budget
Now, that you’re primary sales plan is almost complete. You need to write down your budget and spending to achieve your ultimate sales target.
They are generally:
- Compensation (Salary, Incentive)
- Sales tools & resource
- Training costs
- The contest and giveaway costs.
- Internal team activities (refreshments)
- Travel costs.
Now, I have explained how to write a sales plan for your business. You can use the templates I made for you. You can download them apply to your business right away.
DOWNLOAD THE SALES PLAN TEMPLATE FROM HERE: