Ah yes, strategy – few words are thrown around with as much disregard as the big S. But while a great product or service is the core of all businesses, a clear sales plan is vital to its success. Whether you’re a sales person seeking to define your tactics or develop an overarching strategy guide, having a well laid out sales plan will help you take more control in the unpredictable world of sales.
In this segment, we’ll look at what exactly a sales plan is and how you can create the ideal one for your organization. We’ll also look at a template and some examples that ought to get you right on track. As billionaire investor Warren Buffet says, ‘Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree in the sun a long time ago.’ You ready to plant an entire forest?
What is a Sales Plan?
A sales plan is like a traditional business plan that only focuses on your specific sales strategy. It lays out all your objectives, potential obstacles, high level tactics and target audience. So while a business plan simply lays out your goals, a sales plan describes exactly how you intend to realize these goals.
Typically, sales plans often include info about the target customers, team structure, revenue goals, and other resources necessary for achieving the targets. To be effective, you plan should clearly communicate your goals to your sales teams and provide strategic direction as well. It should also outline roles and responsibilities pertaining your team’s leadership. And lastly, it should monitor your sales team’s progress to organizational goals. Let’s check out a quick template on how to write a sales plan.
Sales Plan Template
1. Mission and Background
As always, any sales plan needs to begin with your company vision and mission statements. Similarly, follow up with a brief history of the business to provide substantial background info as the plan drills into more particular details.
Who’s on your team and what are their roles? Next, you’ll want to answer these questions and write down the names and roles of your team. Maybe you manage a few sales reps with a sales ops specialist and other assorted sales enablement professionals. Your sales plan will need to give proper directive on what’s expected of each employee.
3. Target Market
Doesn’t matter if you’re writing your first sales plan or 20th; knowing your target audience is the key to success. Do you know what your best customers look like? Do they exceed a certain age, belong to a specific industry or struggle with similar challenges? Of course, you’ll always have different buyer personas for different products.
What this section of your plan does is change dramatically overtime as your strategy evolves. In the beginning when your products were at infancy, prices were probably low with a large percentage of customers being startups. But now that the product is more robust with a higher market price, mid-market companies are likely a much better fit. That’s why it’s crucial to consistently review and update your buyer personas. Check out our blog post on how to identify and sell to different buyer personas.
Plenty of companies make the mistake of ignoring the competition. Here, you’ll want to name all your main competitors and explain how exactly your products compare. Were they stronger than yours? Or maybe they are more strategically priced.
Discuss market trends and predictions. If you’re a SaaS company, note down which vertical specific software is more popular. If you work with ad sales, mention the rise in programmatic mobile advertising and try to predict how these and more changes will influence your business.
As with most sales goals, they tend to be revenue based. For instance, you might set a total target of $7 million in annual recurring revenue. Alternatively, you can set a volume goal that will achieve roughly the same result. That could be 450 sales or attaining 100 new customers. However, you need to make sure the objective is realistic. Otherwise, the entire plan could end up being useless.
Factor in your product price, market penetration, total addressable market and other resources including marketing support and sales headcount. All goals should be closely tied to the higher level business goals. Of course, you’ll have more than one goal. So try to identify the most important ones and rank them in order of priority.
6. Sales Plan Budget
No sales plan is complete without a segment for the budget. Here, you want to describe the costs associated with hitting sales goals. These include the usual pay (salary and commissions). There’s also sales training, tools, and resources budget. Don’t forget to account for team bonding activities, contest prizes, travel costs and food. A well laid out plan will allow for more accurate budgeting.
7. Tools, Software and Resources
You should always include a description of currently available resources in your sales plan. For instance, it’s important to state which CRM software you’re using. In this part, you’ll lay out all the tools and technologies your salespeople need to use to succeed. This includes training apps, documentation, and sales enablement tools.
Speaking of sales enablement, there are some crucial tools that you need to onboard to make your sales plan a success. If you’re using Salesforce CRM, make sure you get the best plugins like Veloxy. Veloxy is an AI powered sales enablement app that improves sales engagement. Veloxy takes all the work out of sales so your team can focus on more important tasks that drive the pipeline.
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