In order to meet your sales needs, it is imperative that you adopt a proper sales plan. The sales plan outlines the 4 W’s: who, where, why, when and also the how of having sales growth rocketing up into the atmosphere. It involves setting monthly forecasts and realistic targets that act as stepping stones to achieve those elusive figures. Interested? Read on.
A sales plan is composed of three distinct segments:
- The goals and forecasts
- Researching the market and your customers
- Partnerships and prospects
Today, we are going to focus on the first segment of the sales plan solely.
Have Achievable Sales Goals
The first tip for a good sales plan is to have a goal which is measurable as well as realistic.
The realistic part of this depends on your market size, the goals of your company, the sales acumen of your team and the available resources. Never set for yourself numbers that you need in order to be viable. You are likely to fail.
Go by your hunches about the state of the market while setting your sales goals.
Do not make the mistake of making your sales plan an overly-flexible document. Instead, see it as a benchmark you set in stone yourself.
Consult your sales personnel about what you can achieve.
Lastly, subject the whole document to criticism and review from suitably qualified individuals.
Set Definite Milestones and Deadlines
If you are really interested in the accuracy of the many assumptions you are invariably going to make while drafting your sales plan then you must break the larger goals into smaller chunks each having its own deadline. These are termed as milestones in industry lingo, and are extremely helpful in tracking your progress. Set your milestones and deadlines after careful research and after putting much thought into the process.
Make the goals challenging, but not impossible. You want your sales team to reach new heights, not be demoralized from the start by unrealistic goals they know they will never be able to meet.
Analyze the previous figures of your concern very carefully. Compare your performance with that of the industry standard. Remain in touch with the work life of your sales personnel, figure out what extra they need to put in in order to meet your goals. This will ensure that your sales plan is not a flight of fancy but a realistic achievable documented goal.
The next step to be taken is defined your milestones both in terms of what they exactly are and by what time they should be completed. Again, retaining clarity in being specific is a great virtue here. Set yourself a goal of augmenting your base of customers by 20% or the sales by 40%. I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to be specific and absolutely crystal clear. Set a suitable deadline to achieve that particular goal and stick to the dates.
Micromanaging is another great virtue in this particular case. You need to have individual goals for your key salespeople. While defining these goals, remember to keep in mind their differences and set the goals accordingly. For instance, ask a person not doing too well on the closing rate to buckle up and perform. On the other hand, if someone has good closing but lacks in outreach, set them outreach targets or milestones. The milestones and deadlines provide support to your sales plan and make it an informed and enlightened one.
Though we have asked you not to be overly-flexible with your targets, you should however keep in mind at all times that the plan has a life of very own and new campaigns and other unforeseen events may need to be incorporated within its scope. Evaluate it regularly in order to see whether your assumptions are rooted in reality.
Meet with your team regularly at least once a month to review the progress made in realizing the sales plan. Identify issues early on and make the effort to solve these problems. Keep an open mind to learning from mistakes as well as success.
With a sales plan, your startup will easily avoid getting clogged up in the biggest hindrance of sales – inertia. A detailed, realistic and solid business plan will help you and your team charge full steam ahead.