Sales plans are tricky business. They require a lot of analysis and often go through many changes during the year. A sales plan is like a muscle; it requires exercise to be maintained. Start by clearly defining your goals. These may be sales and profit goals, or even more specific goals for future growth. Do you intend to enter a new industry? Then visit Gawdo.
Next, decide what tasks you will have to accomplish during the year. Will you mainly deal with existing customers, or new customers? Do you need to expand your sales force? How much revenue do you need to reach your target level in the current market? Are there any special issues that must be considered in the new market?
Once you have decided on the primary goals, write down your monthly or quarterly targets in a sales plan template. The numbers should be well defined and easily quantitativeized. You can use a spreadsheet, a graph, or a line graph. Once you have your sales plan, you can easily compare your initial target to your actual result. You can then adjust your tactics accordingly.
Next, decide what sort of marketing you will use to support your sales goals. If you have defined marketing as the process by which you sell more, then you need to include marketing in your template. You will also need to write down your marketing plan. Use a spreadsheet to plan out both your expenses and your profits.
There are many strategic sales plan examples available on the Internet. One excellent source is the Small Business Administration’s Web site, which has a wealth of information about SBA-approved small business plans. Another good place to find tips on how to write a sales strategy is your local library. Books on business planning and marketing are available at most book stores.
Write down both long-term and short-term goals. These are the goals that will help you measure your progress against your original targets. Long-term goals refer to those, such as reducing the cost of products or increasing your market share, that you will want to achieve over the long term. Short-term goals, also called milestones, refer to the amount of money or time that you will focus on achieving your short-term goals. By planning your strategies in terms of both long-term and short-term goals, you will be able to successfully reach your goals over the course of a reasonable time, rather than trying to do everything at once.
Your first sales strategy should be centered around marketing. Your first strategy may be to market your product or service within your company. If this is not an option for you, consider hiring a marketing firm to help you market your new product line to existing customers. If you cannot afford to hire a marketing firm, consider attending conventions or trade shows where you will be able to attract customers to your booth and introduce yourself to potential clients.
In general, a sales plan includes five primary strategies: revenue growth, revenue comparison, marketing and sales enablement. Revenue growth refers to the ability of your company’s products or services to sustain itself financially after expenses have been paid. Revenue comparison helps you determine how much profit your company will actually generate during a specific period of time relative to how much it will cost to sell the same products or services during that period of time. Marketing is used to attract customers and drive revenue growth. Sales enablement is used to get new customers and increase revenue.
Your sales plan will usually include sales forecasts for each quarter in order to project how much revenue you will make during the current fiscal year compared to the sales that you expect to make in the next fiscal year. You will also need to set short-term and long-term sales goals for your company. A short-term goal is what most people would think of as a sales target. For example, if you plan to make money in the next two weeks, your short-term sales goal may be something like $1000. Long-term sales goals can be very important because they can help you achieve your long-term revenue goals.
Now that you have your business plan, you are ready to design a sales strategy. When designing your sales strategy, make sure that it clearly outlines the type of advertising you plan to use to attract new customers and how you intend to market your product or service to existing customers. Also make sure that your sales team is included in the process. Ask each member of your sales team to create a different section of their template for sales marketing that they think could work for your business. Then, put together a sketch of how you would implement each strategy. Give this same sketch to all of your sales staff and have them follow along with their own strategies.
Once you have a well-developed sales plan and a strategy, you will need to set measurable goals for your company. This is where your sales goals come in. You will need to write up goals for each quarter in your financial forecast so that you can determine how much revenue you will actually make. If you do not have a financial forecast, however, just write down the gross and net profits for the previous six months. Divide these numbers by the number of customers you have in your sales department and you will get the amount of revenue that you should make for each quarter.