What is a Sales Plan?
No matter what type of industry you are in, a business’s main goal is to increase the number of sales and overall revenue that is made over time. A sales plan is a set of goals and targets that are determined to ensure that you have a set of steps that can be followed to achieve sales goals and quotas. Defining a sales plan and noting the goals and number of sales that need to be achieved over time can help a business to grow and give a sales team a better understanding of the requirements that need to be met over a certain amount of time.
Having goals set out when making a sales plan can help every facet of a business better understand consumer behaviour and forecast the number of sales that need to be made in order for a business to be successful! Sales planning also involves evaluating where a company sits compared to the market, measuring how different strategies can impact different targets and how market trends can influence overall sales made over a period of time.
In short, a sales plan is very much like a business plan, only with the main focus set on sales, determining how your business plan will impact the overall number of sales and revenue that is made over time.
What Are The Goals of an Effective Sales Plan?
The goals of a business are set out to determine the main objectives of your sales plan and how you are planning on reaching these targets. These goals will provide your sales and marketing teams with direction, ensuring that the roles and responsibilities of each department are clearly identified and determined, with the overall revenue that needs to be made and an achievable goal that can be monitored. So why are these goals so important? The answer to this is quite simple; if your sales team is not aware of the goals that need to be reached, how can they know how to strategically implement sales tactics? Goals help a team to better focus on where they need to be and how to get there, with a sales and marketing plan guiding future decisions and goals.
What Should a Sales Planning Process Look like?
Sales strategy planning should be clearly outlined from the get-go, and identifying and outlining this process is an important part of planning. From daily sales plans to plans that outline sales over a year, the processes involved differ depending on the amount of time set out, though the following should all still be considered.
Gather Sales Data and Search for Trends
While looking back into past sales and targets will not give you all the answers, it does help to outline trends that happen over a period of time. What products or services were more popular at which times? Why were targets exceeded at certain points or why were they not? Knowing these trends can help a sales team strategically decide on which processes to use at certain times, which can help to focus goals and locate trends to better understand the consumer. This data is incredibly important and can even help a team prepare for issues and situations that arise due to unforeseen circumstances.
Define Your Objectives
In order to properly understand how to achieve success, you need to have clearly defined goals and targets that are set out within your sales plan content. Managing objectives and ensuring that every team within your company is aware of the goals that they need to reach to be successful should be one of the first and most basic steps of your sales planning process! building a sales plan should be centred around objectives that are well defined and clearly set out as this will help teams within different facets of your company to better prepare quotas that need to be met over time, ensuring that long-term goals are met!
Determine Metrics for Success
Within each type of business, there are certain metrics that should be used to help determine whether a business is successful. The metrics that are used are referred to as key performance indicators (KPIs) and they help a business gauge how successful certain areas are and the performance of these different areas over time. There are many different metrics that can be used to measure success, and the type that a business uses usually depends on key focus areas that highlight consumer satisfaction. Many businesses use the number of sales, clicks on websites or even total revenue earned over a period of time as their metric, but there are many others that suit different businesses better.
Assess The Current Situation
How your business is currently performing at this moment in time is a great indicator to estimate how it will be doing in the future. Assessing the current situation can help to shape future goals and objectives moving forward while also maintaining that the goals that you set out are both reachable and centred around growth. Part of this step of the process involves assessing potential threats and opportunities that may come up over a period of time. This ensures that you have plans to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way and also ensures that potential threats do not interfere with your business reaching the goals outlined in your sales plan.
Start Sales Forecasting
Sales forecasting involves a business predicting the number of sales of specific products or services over a certain amount of time. Sales forecasts help a business to prepare the amount of stock needed for certain periods, ensuring that products or services that are purchased in high quantities are available and not out of stock. This helps a business to make better decisions with regards to their sales plan and budgets that are set out, estimating the number of sales and helping to predict the growth of a business. While sales forecasting cannot estimate what will happen in the future, it can help identify and base estates off of actual data, helping to predict revenue and growth, both of which are important when it comes to sales planning.
Gaps within the skills of a business can impact future prospects of both sales and growth. By examining these gaps and noting how they impact a business both now and in the future, you can work to fill in these different gaps before they impact the revenue and sales plan. It is important to reevaluate different sectors of a business and look for these gaps because as a business grows, you will find that there are certain jobs that are not being done as employees are further spread thin. Examining the gaps and monitoring how effectively teams work can help improve your sales plan and ensure that these inconsistencies do not impact future goals and revenue.
Ideate New Initiatives
A sales plan is not something that is stagnant and as your business changes and grows, it is important to introduce new initiatives that take these changes into account. New initiatives and sales techniques are how a business grows and can introduce an entirely new market with new opportunities. One thing that businesses are now taking into account when it comes to sales planning is social media, as these platforms offer new tactics and opportunities that a business can explore to reach their audience! Being aware of changes and developments like this can ensure that your sales plan is constantly growing and developing!
What are The Advantages of Creating a Sales Plan For Your Business?
- More structure to budgets: When developing a sales plan, a business is better equipped to create budgets that reflect the revenue that is pulled in from sales. Budgets are one of the most important business decisions that need to be made and can make or break whether a company succeeds. When a business is able to better anticipate the amount of money that will be made over a period of time, it can make informed decisions about things like salaries, marketing spend and the prices of the products or services on offer.
- Decision-making processes are clarified: It is hard to make decisions about a business without a clear idea of how sales and revenue are doing. When a business has a clear sales plan that looks to identify future revenue streams, business partners and investors can make informed choices with regard to the future of the business. A sales plan helps to cement decisions with factual information, allowing for clarity in times when decisions about a business need to be made.