As the year comes to a close you must be busy making your sales plans for next year. As the new year gets closer businesses look to launch new products. New ideas to retain existing customers and markets become a primary topic of discussion. Attracting new customers and new markets also becomes a critical topic.
However good your product and service may be, if you don’t have the right sales plan to sell those products and services to the right people, then you will more than likely end up disappointed. When going into a new sales process it is necessary that you have a dialed in sales plan when you enter the market with your new launches or new ideas.
With millions of competitors, it has become essential that your product and its sales strategy be impactful. To be impactful, you will need a clearly defined and systematic sales plan to be used as your perfect launchpad for constant and convincing success.
When it comes to developing the sales plan, figuring out where to start sometimes becomes the most difficult. Here we will discuss nine quality steps for developing an innovative sales plan that will help you dominate your competitors.
1. Select the Right Team for the Job
Whether it is a sales plan or any other type of procedure, it is vital that you have the right people in place to complete the job. Don’t be afraid to lean on managers and other essential decision-makers to help you determine the assembled team. While building a sales team is never the work of one person, be sure that you are comfortable with the team that you have selected. Having familiarity with the team you choose will go a long way in determining who is right and who is wrong for your sales team.
Maintain records of every step you take going forward. Accurately document details of all the members and their role in the sales strategy. Distribute tasks to those members for conception, review, approval, and implementation of the new plan.
2. List Your Top Priorities
What are your priorities? List them from top to bottom for the entire year. Create general targets for your team for the coming new year, as well as some more specific goals. Ensure each of your priorities focuses on profit-making and revenue generation.
List everything that you have on your mind as a priority for the new year, but don’t get stuck or frustrated because you are unable to recall all of them at once. Keep well-documented lists of these priorities and how you are going to achieve them over the course of the year. Now, identify the most critical goals so that you can keep them ahead of others and build a plan to accomplish them.
Some of the priorities that you may include are as follows:
- Doubling your customer base from where it currently stands.
- Increasing the number of business locations you have or areas you currently operate.
- Increasing your product line or the variety of services you offer.
- Increasing staff numbers over the course of the year.
- Creating effective strategies for up-selling and cross-selling.
- Any infrastructure related priorities.
Also, don’t be afraid to be specific. Setting specific goals ensures that everyone knows the expectations!
3. Know Whom You Want to Sell To
One of the most important steps is to know your target market and target audience. All the members of the team should agree upon the targets, which should also be well documented as a part of the exercise. Describe whom you want to target to meet your sales goals and why? Identify who are your best customers and whom you are selling to currently.
Feel free to use sections from our 41 questions marketing consultants should ask potential clients to help with this task. During this exercise, you should be able to recognize your target audience and your ideal clients too. You should know whom you are planning to sell to in 2019 and also which sector, market, location or level of customers you would prefer to target most.
Be sure to create customer profiles or personas to help you identify them. Name them, figure out their age, where they work, and any other relevant information. Now you will know whom to create your strategy around.
Once complete, you can begin to create your sales plan, but you will need to keep identifying what is best for your business in the process and keep making improvements of your plans as you move ahead.
4. Set Sales Targets
It would help if you always had targets and goals to get your sales team to work with some passion and intensity. A task without a destination in mind is dead even before it begins and frequently ends up as a lifeless, floating effort. So setting targets is very important.
Every good and competent organization sets sales target beforehand. You should set your goals for the next 12 months so that you can keep track of your achievements too. Here are some ideas for sales targets:
- The number of new projects you will start.
- Closing deals of certain project sizes and durations.
- The amount of revenue in dollars generated from your sales efforts.
- The number of contracts or agreements you plan to close.
- Identify and scope all revenue making opportunities.
5. What are Your Plans for the Priorities? Write Them Down.
It is always good to keep everything organized. If you write down your approach to accomplish your most essential tasks in a few paragraphs, it can help you achieve them in a much more comfortable and faster manner. You can make separate sections of what you have planned to do and how and what processes you will follow to achieve them.
Writing down your approach will help you know what steps you need to take for any particular task. You will not end up being confused while planning your tasks since they are on paper and ready for implementation.
Deciding whether you need to rent or purchase items or whether meeting your prospects in person would be better than making cold calls, writing down what your approaches would be will always save you time and energy and can also help you attain your targets faster.
How will you achieve your targets? This question is another crucial one that you will need to identify. Some issues you might need to solve will be whether you will get it done in-house or through outsourcing.
6. Key Factors that You Will Have to Measure
You will also need to be very particular about the key factors that you will want to keep track of while you approach the targets that you have set as your priorities. You will have to put metrics in place to track the number of calls that you will have to schedule for each month and also the amount of sales presentation you would need to complete to hit your goals.
Look at it this way. How many calls will you have to make for one retainer deal? Alternatively, how many presentations will you have to run or how many leads will you have to target to complete the number of targeted transactions?
Whatever requirements you come up with for the several stages of the sales pipeline should be calculated in advance and systems should be put in place to make sure you have granular detail and reporting on the process.
7. Set Sales Milestones
Along the way to your sales targets, also be sure to set sales milestones. These milestones will ensure that you are on track to hit your year-end goals.
So, set up your sales’ roadmap and create sales milestones to achieve your annual sales target. You can set benchmarks daily or weekly or monthly, but more importantly is that you are completing the milestones that need finishing. You will have to decide where exactly you want to see yourself after a certain period and what all goals you plan to achieve in that period.
8. Draw a Sales Action Plan
After you have planned every previous step meticulously, you need to put every step into motion. Assign the tasks to team members along with timelines set for each of the items on the list. Make sure your plan of action and your timelines do not move.
First, list all the tasks and then once everyone has agreed on the function, assign the tasks with specified roles and goals. Document every task name along with the team member assigned and due date for that task. It also might be worthwhile to invest in a task tracking software with dependencies.
9. Evaluate, Assess, and Improve
Make sure you return to your sales plan document to evaluate and assess how things are going. Improvement is a process that happens while working through a specific issue. So whenever you find that the document needs improvement or correction then make sure it’s done with knowledge from all relevant parties to make sure that the strategy stays on track.
Keep track of every move the team members are taking to accomplish their targets. Keep updating the work and process and also future due dates of tasks assigned. Make sure sales manager intervene and guide the team wherever they deem fit as it pertains to the overall plan.
As the plan progresses, you can make adjustments and optimize your plans to meet your targets.
So, with these nine steps for creating your sales plan, you can start planning your goals. The sooner, the better.