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How to Create a Sales Plan

Every business has revenue targets, and reaching them takes careful planning. Looking into sales histories and what it took to get those sales can be informative, but simply doing what you did before doesn’t promise you growth. Simply increasing historical sales targets may be tempting, but if you don’t have a workable plan to help your team reach those objectives, you may be setting them, and your business, up for failure. This leads us to the big question.

What is a Sales Plan?

A sales plan is a strategic plan that sets sales objectives, outlines the strategies your company will follow to realise them, and specifies the resources you’ll allocate to make it all possible. 

At the same time, a good sales plan builds in some flexibility based on changing market dynamics, evolving customer needs, and ongoing performance monitoring. All of these may indicate a need for adaptation. So, like other strategic plans, continuous monitoring and agile responses to real-world conditions are among the keys to its success. 

How to Set Goals for Your Sales Plan

Strategising always begins with the answers to searching questions:

  • Where are we now?
  • Where would we like to be? (Goals and objectives)
  • What competitive advantages can we use as leverage?
  • Which customer segments offer the most profitable target markets and how do we reach them?
  • What is our unique value proposition and how does it match market needs?
  • What market trends and opportunities benefit us?
  • Which risks and challenges will we face?
  • Are unexplored growth opportunities open to us?
  • Which competencies and resources are at our disposal?

Using real data to inform the answers to these questions improves your chances of formulating a successful sales plan. Remember that your aim is to formulate SMART objectives. Hence, your objectives must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. 

Achievability and relevance will be the biggest challenges here. For example, if you want your sales team to aim for a 20 percent increase in sales, you need a realistic plan to make this possible. 

Historical data makes for a great starting point. But history is only the beginning. Here are some extra points to consider when examining the potential for growth. 

  • Know what your competitors are doing and how you can outdo their market offering. 
  • Consider the market as a whole. Do trends indicate opportunities to take advantage of or challenges to overcome? 
  • How can you take advantage of opportunities and overcome challenges? 
  • Your sales team has its limitations. What’s its capacity and are your proposed targets challenging yet realistic? 
  • Consider the market realities your sales team faces and set goals accordingly. For example, if they serve different geographical areas, some of your representatives may face greater market limitations than others. 
  • Analyse the status of your sales pipeline. Do you consistently generate qualified leads, and what is the current status of prospective customers in relation to your sales funnel?
  • Have contingency plans in place. When will you analyse results, and what will you do if they fail to meet expectations?

How to Write a Sales Plan

Once you have all the data you need to get started, it’s time to start capturing your sales plan. 

Set Objectives

SMART objectives for your sales team may include:

  • Growing sales revenue by a specific percentage. 
  • Acquiring new customers
  • Penetrating a new market segment

Capture Target Market Information

To sell effectively, your sales team needs to know who they are selling to, what they need and how your products meet those needs, and the ways in which customers behave en route to a purchase. 

Translate this information into an effective sales approach that includes the messages your sales team should convey to customers. 

Include Competitor Information

Potential customers are almost sure to shop around. Your sales team needs to know what they are up against and how your product and services can beat competitor options. This means knowing their strengths and weaknesses. You’ll outline how to counter competitors in the next section of your sales strategy plan. 

Set Out Sales Strategies and Tactics

Strategise the principles and methods your sales team will use to develop leads, take them through your sales funnel, and make sales. Begin with these basics and add on any extras that may contribute:

State Your Value Proposition

Begin with your value proposition. This includes what you offer as well as the reasons why customers may choose you over your competitors. 

Have a Clear Pricing Strategy

Use your market research, costings, and value proposition to formulate a realistic pricing strategy. For example, Cost-Plus pricing ensures you get a specific profit margin. Market penetration pricing might mean offering a lower price in the belief that repeat purchases and customer lifetime value will make up for a lower initial price. 

Indicate Your Sales Channels

These days, few businesses rely on a single sales channel – and few customers use only one channel when deciding on a purchase. Consider which channels are likeliest to suit your target market and how you’ll create a unified experience across all channels

Define Sales Activities

How will your sales team reach customers, generate leads, and close deals? For example, will they attempt cold calling? Will they undertake lead generation, and how will they achieve this? How and when should they follow up on leads? What steps should they take when closing deals? Record keeping will be important here. For example, a possible customer who is on the verge of conversion must be handled differently to a customer who is hearing about your business for the first time. 

Specify Sales Materials and Their Uses

Depending on the type of products you offer and their market, sales materials could range from product catalogues to presentations, demos, and case studies. If you have great testimonials and reviews from clients, they can be added to your sales toolkit. Or, you may have researched and prepared whitepapers showing customers how they might benefit from using your products. 

List the sales materials you have on hand and how you would like your sales representatives to make use of them. For example, if you’re selling Software as a Service, demos and reviews might be your top selling tools. Instead of trying to persuade possible customers to buy right away, sales representatives might aim to get appointments for showcasing a demo. 

Develop Sales Scripts and Pitch Decks

As a strategist, you know what the sales process should look like. This includes the objections that customers might raise and how they should be addressed. Prepare scripts that will work for most sales interactions and pitch decks that present a framework for providing sales-clinching info. 

Design Proposal Templates

Develop proposal templates that specify the scope of what your company does, what it costs, and the steps to be taken to finalise a sales agreement. This is especially important in B2B contexts in which the person you are talking to must “sell” your proposal to those involved in approving or supporting purchasing decisions.

Your Sales Plan Format

There are no hard and fast rules on how you should format a sales plan. But, since it is a carefully researched document, it can follow a format that’s similar to what you’d expect from a research paper. For example, you could structure it using the following sections:

  • Executive summary
  • Business overview
  • Sales objectives
  • Market analysis
  • Sales strategy and tactics
  • Forecasts
  • Sales team responsibilities
  • Sales processes and workflows
  • Sales resources
  • Results monitoring and measurement criteria
  • Implementation timeline
  • Contingency plans
  • Next steps

Tips for an Effective Sales Plan

Every business hopes to grow its sales and profits. At the same time, presenting sales teams with aspirational strategies that aren’t based on research or grounded in reality can lead to unmotivated staff and income that fails to match budgets. Use these tips to fast-track your success.

Set Realistic Yet Challenging Objectives

Our top tip is to be realistic in setting objectives yet pose challenging targets that can be met. Knowing whether you’ve found the sweet spot means revisiting your sales plan, evaluating it, and adjusting it as you go. 

Use Your Data to Your Advantage

In sales, knowing your market is the most important step towards generating sales. Often, the data you need already exists. It’s reflected in customer profiles, the ways customers interact with your business, customer experiences, and customer journeys. Use this data to inform your sales strategy.

Give your Reps a Roadmap

Develop a roadmap that helps your reps lead customers through the sales funnel – all the way from awareness to conversion. Focus most of their energy on qualified leads who are close to conversion when possible. Add in some cold calling, lead generation, and lead qualification activities to keep your sales pipeline full. 

Monitor, Measure, Adapt, and Improve

Stay on top of things. What works? What doesn’t work? What should you change or adapt? Your analytics should tell you far more than how many sales you made and how much revenue you generated. For example, if certain market segments are proving unfruitful, you will have to identify them and decide whether to abandon them or adjust your sales strategy plan to accommodate them. 

Access the Right People and Tools

Effective selling and human interaction still go hand-in-hand. You’re more likely to acquire detailed, usable data from in-person interactions. The reasons why people buy and why they don’t are equally important.

Online surveys can be valuable, but most people will never respond to them. Your best data will come from your salespeople and the software they use to record what happened when they interacted with prospective customers. Gathering and interpreting this data requires a combination of dedicated salespeople and software that can analyse the data they provide.

At RSVP, we offer you a scalable solution that begins with aiming for in-house equivalence and proceeds towards transcending your previous achievements. And, we have advanced software to provide analytics that lead to actionable conclusions. That’s one of the reasons why our customers value our outbound sales and retention services.

Let us run with your sales plan and feed back the data you need to monitor progress. Uncover analytics that tell you whether your sales plan is on track, whether it needs adjustment, and the clues that may indicate what needs changing and why. We don’t just offer you people with unparalleled communication skills – we also offer the data you need to make your sales plan work for you. 

Let’s discuss your vision and determine how RSVP can help you to realise it. We’re so much more than “just” a call centre – we’re partners in your success. Let’s get started today. All it takes is a call.


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