Selling without a sales plan is like traveling without an itinerary, you do not know where you want to go and what you want to do. You end up wasting your time, money and resources.
Planning and strategizing are the two prerequisites to stay on track.
For instance, when you are exhibiting at a tradeshow, you cannot just go and stand behind a booth without any preparation. You will have to plan and build strategies before the exhibition, to attract traffic to your booth. Which includes — ideating how to present the booth, creating banner standee to increase the visibility of your company, and printing brochures to acquaint the visitors with your product and customizing giveaways to spread awareness about your existence in the industry.
Similarly, to succeed in sales, you need to develop the route to success with a ‘Sales plan’.
Creating a sales plan appears as a daunting task, but it is worth the efforts.
“Every minute you spend in planning saves you 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1000 percent return on energy”- Brian Tracy
Moreover, with a sales plan template, you can quickly create your sales plan. To help you, below I have created a sales plan template and provided few samples that you can refer while creating your sales plan.
Before getting to the templates, let’s drill deeper into the concept of sales plan and understand its importance.
“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success”- Pablo Picasso
The sales plan is an approach to selling that helps in setting objectives and determining strategies to achieve them. It contains the evaluation of the past sales and prepares you to achieve better sales results in the future. Sales plan aids in identifying new sales market, acquaints everyone with their responsibilities and helps in creating a timeline to reach the milestone.
Why is sales planning important?
Success cannot be achieved with random actions; you need a strategic sales plan to move in the right direction.
- Aids in acquiring new customers and retaining the existing ones
- Helps in streamlining your sales efforts
- Provides a direction to reach your goals
- Aids in identifying the target audience
- Gives you control over the sales cycle
- Renders insights into consumer behavior
- Aids in spotting and addressing risks
- Keeps you aligned with your sales objectives
Sales plan template layout
Below is a sales plan template that will help you in understanding the points that you need to include in your sales plan.
Section one- Objectives
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible”- Tony Robbins
Here you need to define the goals for your sales team that they need to achieve in a stipulated time frame. A clear objective helps in keeping your sales team focused.
For example- A digital printing machinery company intend to increase their market share. For this, they will have to tap into the new geographic market to increase their visibility. So, tapping into a new market becomes their sales planning objective.
The goals you set, need to be realistic. You can’t expect a sales rep to close ten deals in one month. When 10%–20% of salespeople miss goals, the problem might be the salespeople. But when most salespeople miss, the problem is their goals. Only when the objective is clear, you can create the plan of action to achieve it.
Section Two- Current scenario and obstacles
In this section, you need to assess your past as well as current sales performance and identify the obstacles that are hindering your growth. Try to understand what’s not working and where do you need to put in extra efforts. Only when you are aware of your problems, you will be able to search for a solution to resolve it.
Using various reporting tools, find out answers to various questions like:
- What were your sales target for last month/quarter and did you achieve it?
- What is the average length of your sales cycle?
- How many deals were in your sales pipeline last month/quarter and how many did you convert?
- How effective are your outbound activities?
- In which stage of the sales process do you lose prospect?
Once you answer these question, you need to ponder over the reasons for the areas where you couldn’t perform well.
Example: If your sales pipeline had 15 deals but you could convert only six deals, then try to find out the reason for losing nine deals.
- Was it the price factor?
- Did you discuss their budget too late?
- Were you not able to solve their problem?
- Were you self-oriented?
- Did you fail in displaying the value of your product?
Section Three- Target Audience
Focus on identifying your target audience, communicating an authentic message that they want and need and project yourself as an “expert” within your niche- Kim Garst
In this section, you need to identify your ideal customer. Conduct thorough research to find the right target audience who can invest in your product. Knowing whom to approach and whom to ignore, can help in saving your precious time. For this, you can ponder over your current customer base to find answers to various questions like-
- Who are your high margin clients?
- Which sector do they belong to?
- What is their demographic?
- What is their annual revenue?
- What is their company size?
- What is their employee strength?
- What were their business challenges?
- What influenced their purchasing decision?
- On which channels were they highly responsive on- Phone, email or Linked?
Section Four- Prospect List
Now that you know the objectives and target audience, it is time to create a list of prospects to test your theories. It is time-saving to have a well-structured list of companies that can leverage the benefits of your product. Coordinate with your marketing team and prioritize your prospects based on the following criteria-
- Size of the opportunity
- Market value of the company
- Spending capacity
If you are a startup without a marketing department then with the aid of the ideal customer profile you can find your potential prospects by-
- Browsing on Google
- Searching on your competitor’s site
- Checking out various social sites and local business networks
- Building network by attending seminars and conferences
Research thoroughly and prioritize your prospect list according to the points mentioned above to drive your sales plan.
Section Five- Sales tool
Here you need to find out the sales tools you will require to ease your work and fuel your sales performance. Below are few of the sales tools that can increase productivity and support the efforts of your sales team.
Salesmate– It is a top-notch sales tool, that aids in efficiently managing your sales and provides vital insights into crucial information to take important sales decisions.
Ringcentral– It is a cloud-based communication system, that is accessible from any device and is compatible with various other applications.
Basecamp– With this project management tool, you can assign and track activities to ensure the projects are completed on time.
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Section Six- Action plan
You have a destination in the form of an objective. Now you have to create a path to reach there. Find out what do you need to do to fulfill your objectives.
It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matter, in the end. – Ursula K. Le Guin.
Example- You set an objective to lose 4 pounds in next 30 days. So, for that, you create an action plan that you will-
- Exercise in the morning
- Eat fruits twice a day
- Purchase and stock fruits for a week
- Go jogging in the evening
- Avoid oily food
Here are some points you need to consider while creating your sales action plan-
- Have a clear objective
- Define the steps you will take to achieve it
- Arrange the steps in chronological order with a specific date for each step
- Ensure the action steps you choose are concrete and measurable
- Determine the resource required
- Review and update your action plan at regular intervals
Section Seven- Budget
Set a budget by estimating expenses that will come across your way on the journey to achieve your sales goals. That includes salary package of your sales team, cost of incentives, travel expenses, monthly subscription cost of a CRM tool, cost of mobile phone and many more.
Conduct a cost-benefit analysis, to avoid performing any unprofitable actions. Ensure that the benefits you receive from the actions are greater than the cost.
Section Eight-Measure Results
Your job doesn’t end by merely creating a perfect sales plan. You need to implement it and measure its progress regularly to achieve your desired results.
Jason Fried rightly said, “A plan is just a guess you wrote down”.
Track your sales records to check if your sales plan is reaping fruitful results. Analyzing your sales records will help in understanding what’s working and which areas need your attention. Conduct regular meetings with your sales team to review progress and address issues that have been affecting their sales performance. Consider the mistakes, work on it and make adjustments in the sales plan accordingly to improve futures sales results.
Sales plan template
Sales plan best practices
A perfect sales plan can help you in drumming up sales and positively impact the bottom line of your business. So, exploring and implementing best practices is the paramount to your sales success. Below are the best sales plan practices that you can follow to achieve better results:
1. Cross-platform diversification
Diversify your sales plan across a variety of platforms to test your strategies across multiple channels and learn as much as possible. Besides, it also spreads the risk if at all one fails.
2. Communicate the strategy
You might have a solid sales plan, but it is pointless if your sales team is not aware about it. To increases your sales revenue, you need to ensure that your sales team understands the sales plan and follow it stringently.
3. Remove previous quarter or year’s unprofitable deals
There are certain deals that don’t move forward no matter what you do. It is high time to bid goodbye to such prospects by removing them from your sales plan to make space and time for high potential deals.
Make your sales plan a living document
Don’t ignore your sales plan as it can guide you in your endeavor to increase your sales. Follow and update it regularly. Moreover, implementing sales plan gets easier with the aid of a CRM, that helps in streamlining sales data, tracking activities and managing deals to function efficiently. 75% of sales honchos said that a CRM could be a beneficial tool in boosting sales figures.
Devoting a little time in sales planning can guide your sales team and aid in foreseeing potential risk at the right time before it affects your business growth. Sales planning is necessary to work in a systemized way without losing your focus. It keeps you on-track and helps you in closing more deals for increasing your profit margins.
We hope the above sales templates will help you in creating your sales plan. However, if you think you want to develop it without any aid then here are some tips that can be beneficial-
- Conduct in-depth research on the market before creating your plan
- Document your buyer’s journey
- Keep your customers in mind while developing your sales plan
- Acquaint yourself with the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors
- Ensure you cover all the areas of sales while creating your sales plan
Once you plan your sales, you will require an advanced tool like Salesmate for executing it successfully. Salesmate is an all-in-one sales solution that helps you in managing your sales process. Every detail related to your deal is systematically organized in a centralized location to access it whenever you need easily.
With this smart sales tool, you can easily analyze your past performance and even predict future opportunities. It allows you to automate most of your time-consuming task like assigning tasks and sending introductory emails so that you can dedicate more time to selling. It even gives you the flexibility to integrate with multiple applications like Google Doc, Mailchimp, and Slack to work seamlessly. Need to know more about the features of this high-end sales tool? Get in touch with our team they will guide you.
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