Getting off on the right foot in a new fiscal year starts with having a solid sales plan in place. Rather than counting on your salespeople to instinctively know the best course of action, Owners and Sales Leaders need to develop a company-level strategic sales plan to provide direction for the individual sales plans managed by their salespeople. By providing this insight, the salespeople can help maximize ROI on planning time by incorporating aligned action plans that take into consideration customer events, product launches, promotion activities, etc. Without investing proper time into planning, you are likely to end up adrift from your desired end-goal.
The other pitfall that can derail even the best sales plan is when an organization does not have the proper sales infrastructure in place to support its sales efforts. Before planning can be effective, having your “house in order” is the very first step.
Before delving into the elements of a robust Sales Plan, invest 5-minutes to measure your sales infrastructure readiness.
Let us start by defining the key elements in a company-level strategic sales plan.
Owners and Sales Leaders need to set the overall tone and sales goals for the company as a whole. Without this company direction, salespeople will be left adrift to execute without strategy. Instead of saying to your sales team: “Ready-Set-Go” you would be saying: “Ready-Go-Set.” The key to the strategic sales plan is to keep it simple, actionable, and meaningful.
Some of the common basic elements a Company-Level Strategic Sales Plan should include are:
- Brand Identity
- Industry Positioning
- Target Markets
- Sales Channels
- Ideal Customer Profile
- Value Proposition and Proof Points
- Buyer and Influencer Personas
- Competitive SWOT
If an experienced resource could be helpful to your sales plan development process, let’s schedule a time to talk.
Now it is time to link the company-level strategic sales plan to the individual sales plans.
These are to be developed and managed by your salespeople. It is important that Owners and Sales Leaders guide them through the development process by providing a model to follow and offering coaching as needed. However, it’s equally important that the ownership of the plan’s development be left to the salesperson so they are comfortable accepting accountability for achieving projected outcomes.
While individual sales plan elements can vary based on the sales channel they are developed for, the common basics you will want to account for include:
- Revenue Plan with breakdown
- Focused Objectives by Product and Customer Segment
- Primary Target Accounts
- Key Strategies and Tactics
- Activity Management
- Key Performance Indicators
To reap full value out of your sales planning investment, utilize it as a working plan, not a static exercise that gets filed away.
Quarter-by-quarter, the plan should be reviewed and revised to reflect changing market conditions or key learnings by the salesperson. Milestones and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) need to be addressed in your weekly one-on-one sales meetings. Even the best laid plans will not be successful without the right activity levels and conversion rates.
With both company-level and individual sales plans in place, your team will be able to deliver results by everyone staying on target. Salespeople can keep the overall big-picture in mind while they are looking to achieve their own personal goals.