Every sales department and company makes sales plans. However all the plans do not necessarily meet with success. Small businesses need to have sales plans just like established players do. A sales plan outlines sales goals, deadliness to meet the sales goal as well as the process to achieve the targets. By not planning, small businesses are setting themselves up for failure. Hence, crafting a sales plan at the onset is paramount. We look at tips to develop a successful sales plan.
- Analyze previous sales and revenue trends
What was the source of sales and revenue last year? How much revenue is generated by existing customers and by new customers? Is there ways to improve your sales closure rate? Document whatever you have learnt and brainstorm about how to put up a better performance from now on. You need to learn from your past mistakes as well as assumptions and move on.
- Define your company vision for the coming year
Be specific and don’t shy away from dreaming big. Share the vision with all the members of the sales team so that they are on the same page. Fellow members may come up with interesting and innovative targets to be achieved.
- Prioritize and arrange in order
Make a list of sales targets to be achieved in the coming year or any other time frame. Assign each target different priorities depending on their deadlines and importance. Finally arrange the items in order of priority.
- Have a differentiator for the small business
Your small business should stand out from the competition. Study your competitor’s sales approach. Borrow ideas if good. Brainstorm with company employees to come up with innovative and effective sales strategies.
- Review the sales plan periodically
Things change even in small businesses. Employees leave and new ones come aboard. Clients change. The business environment and the economy also experience change. The small business’s sales plan should be flexible to accommodate changes. It should be reviewed regularly and tweaked if required.
- Monitor sales performance
Small businesses should identify over achievers in the sales space and allocate high priority sales accounts to them. Make sure personnel are matched with suitable parts of the sales process.
- Understand your customers
Small businesses cannot push their products and services to uninterested clients. It is important to be aware of market demand and current trends. The sales plan should be made by first deeply understanding the psychology of the clients/customers.
Trial and error will help you to come up with even better sales plans. Draw lessons from your own experience. Ask peers and seniors for advice on creating a great sales plan. Remember paper plans are meaningful only when implementing properly.