Business owners, sales leaders, and even salespeople know they need a sales plan that clearly outlines how they’ll achieve their annual goals. The question is, what to include so it’s a valuable, useable tool?
PLAN TO WIN
You’ve heard the adage, fail to plan, plan to fail. Nowhere is that truer than in sales. If you don’t have a plan:
- How do you know where you are headed?
- How do you know you have the right goal?
- When will you analyze where you were successful last year and where to focus efforts this year? · How do you determine which sales metrics to monitor consistently, and what will you compare them to?
- Can you be sure your goal is achievable?
Sales as an organization has a tendency to chase the latest opportunities and leave the planning for later. Sometimes later never comes. Whether your sales organization is you or a team, that means wasted time, lost opportunities, and poor conversion ratios.
While creating a sales plan takes you out of the field or away from your team and client-facing activities, it’s a necessary activity. Without it, you have no binoculars to guide you.
KEY SECTIONS OF A SALES PLAN
A sales plan focuses on what the sales organization is going to do to achieve their targets for the time period of the plan. You may be the whole sales team, or you may have a sales organization comprised of regions with vice presidents, directors, managers, and salespeople.
The Type of Plan Depends on Your Sales Role
Regardless of your role or company size, you need a sales plan. Each person in the sales organization should have a sales plan. The depth and breadth of your plan will be dependent on your role.
- If you are the whole sales team – manager and rep – your plan will be all-inclusive and comprehensive. It will include a strategic perspective as well as your tactical implementation.
- If you are a rep, your sales plan will focus on your territory.
- As a leader, your sales plan is a strategic look across the entire sales organization.
- If you’re responsible for sales and marketing, create your sales plan and a marketing plan that aligns with it. Use this link to see what to include in your marketing plan.
The Goal of a Sales Plan
Your sales plan is literally your plan for how you’re going to make the sales goals you’ve set or been given. Without a sales plan, you have no roadmap for what activities you will do, or who you will target.
3 things to keep in mind as you develop your sales plan:
1. This is your vision for how you’ll achieve the sales goal.
2. This is also your vision for how you’ll achieve your personal goals that sales success affords you.
3. You’ll use your sales plan on a daily and weekly basis to achieve your sales goals. It won’t sit in a drawer until next year’s planning cycle!
What To Include in Your Sales Plan
As you prepare your sales plan, include the following 7 sections:
1. Revenue goals broken down by solution areas and geographies. If you set margin goals, include them here too.
2. Sales objectives to achieve the revenue goals. For example, acquire 12 new clients this year and improve close ratio by x. Notice these are measurable.
3. Sales team. Outline the organization of the sales team, hiring you plan to do, changes you plan to make.
4. Customer Focus. Include your target market, ideal customer profile, and top prospects and clients.
5. Positioning. Note how you position your company in your target markets, with clients and against competitors. List what makes you different.
6. Sales strategies and tactics. List the prospecting approaches you’ll use to acquire new business and grow existing clients. Consider who will help you implement these strategies.
7. Budget. Include the budget you will require to achieve your sales objectives and what additional resources you need.
EMBRACE YOUR PLAN
Present your sales plan to anyone you need to support you in successfully implementing it. Get their buy-in and engage with them frequently throughout the year so you stay on track.
When you’re tempted to push your sales plan aside, bury it a drawer, remove it from your desktop, or forget to review it in next week’s sales meeting, stop! This is your plan to achieve your goals – both personal and professional. Embrace it like the lifeline it is. Use it. I guarantee you’ll have greater success with it than if you attempt to go rogue.
Want some guidance with creating your sales plan? Or perhaps you’d like to review it with a sales expert coach? Contact us and let’s talk about how we can do that with you.