All of a sudden it is October. Summer is only a couple of weeks behind us and here in Holland, Christmas decorations are already widely available. While your employees and teams are operating at full capacity, you are looking ahead to 2023: how it will look, and what changes will impact us both positively and negatively.
Creating a plan for 2023 is necessary. Your team of professionals needs guidance, goals, and leadership, and they look to you for this. Many of you have created sales plans before. We’re here to help you create an even better one! Let’s GO!
In this blog we will clarify the definition of a sales plan and discuss why it is important for your organization and your sales team’s success. Then we will provide you with several small steps to improve your sales plan for 2023.
What is a sales plan and why is it important?
A sales plan is a tactical and strategic document that you create in order to reach your sales goals. It is a document that describes your goals and the method of reaching these goals. A great sales plan allows your team to operate successfully.
With the sales plan, your team is able to gain insights on both external and internal information; for example, it provides insights into your target market, the method that you are using to contact them, and a sample script you can use to close deals. Additionally, when thinking of internal information, the plan can provide an overview and structure of your sales team. It can also help you identify the tools you are going to use during the sales process and how your sales team can be evaluated.
As a result, a great sales plan helps your team and becomes their go-to document to understand their roles and responsibilities, and the sales methods that they can use. Basically, it empowers your sales team to perform better.
Sales performance is crucial for the success of your business, of course. You want to create a forecast and make suitable changes as needed to reach your overall organizational goals. Sales plans go beyond the goals, results, and operations that are set. They help your team understand and boost their performance.
Our ten tips to improve your sales plan.
1. Set realistic goals.
The first step to creating a successful sales plan is to set realistic goals. If your goals are too ambitious, your team will become discouraged and may lose motivation. On the other hand, if your goals are too small, your company will not reach its full potential.
It is important to find a balance and to set goals that are challenging but achievable. One way to do this is to create stretch goals, which are objectives that are slightly outside of the reach of your current sales team but are still achievable with a little extra effort.
(Our next blog will cover tips and tricks on how you can improve your goals and learn how to use SMART goals.)
2. Put together a sales forecast
3. Evaluate your current sales process
Once you have a sales process, an evaluation will help you to identify any areas that need improvement. Maybe your sales team is not making enough calls or they are not closing enough deals. Evaluating your current sales process will help you to determine what changes need to be made in order to increase sales.
You can determine what you lack in any specific area and, based on previous experiences and insights, you can adapt your focus to concentrate on that specific element. For example, you can boost your team’s closing rate by training them on negotiation skills.
4. Create a budget
5. Make a list of potential customers
6. Don’t forget your marketing strategy
Your marketing strategy should be designed to generate interest from potential customers, too. There are many different marketing channels that you can use, and you will need to determine which are most effective for your business.
Your marketing strategy should be included in your sales plan so that you can track your progress and make necessary changes. Why? Marketing and sales are focussed on achieving similar goals. Thus, marketing and sales collaboration is crucial for the success of your sales plan.
7. Set a timeline
It is important to set a timeline for your sales plan so that you can track your progress and ensure that you are on track to meet your goals. Normally, sales plans are created annually, which can provide a great overview of the year ahead.
Think of it as similar to navigating via Google Maps, for example. You know where you aim to go. Once you are on the road, you may find that roads are closed off, or you need to stop for fuel, or perhaps there is a traffic jam. The navigation adapts the route based on real-time events as they happen .
8. Track your progress
You should track your progress throughout the year in order to ensure that you are on track to meet your goals. This can be done by tracking the number of sales, the value of sales, and the number of new customers.
By tracking your progress, you will be able to identify any problems that arise and make necessary changes to your sales plan.
9. Make necessary adjustments
10. Assign responsibilities
In order to ensure that your sales plan is executed effectively, you will need to assign responsibilities to your sales team. Each team member should have a specific role to play in the sales process.
By doing this, you constantly know who is in charge of which element of the sales process. Providing an overview of responsibilities can create a feeling of ownership among the whole team, and the team will work together to achieve your set sales goals.
In the end, a sales plan is a document that details the strategy of how your company intends to increase its sales and achieve its desired sales goals. It outlines the specific actions and steps that will be taken to achieve these goals.
A sales plan should not be confused with a sales forecast, which is a prediction of future sales based on past performance. A sales plan is a more proactive document that outlines the specific actions that will be taken to increase sales.
Ultimately, it is an important roadmap for the sales team, which they can follow in order to achieve the company’s sales goals. Without a sales plan, it would be difficult for the sales team to know what actions to take and when to take them.
Finally, a sales plan is also important because it can help to keep the sales team accountable. If the sales team is not meeting its goals, the sales plan can be used as a tool to help identify the problem areas and make necessary changes.