Sales plan: what it is and how to make one

In today’s companies it is very important to have a sales plan , as fewer and fewer buyers trust the representatives of this department. Therefore, it is more important to work in an intelligent and current way.

If you are having problems with income and want to know what a sales plan is, how to do it and how it can help you, here I will explain it to you.

What is a sales plan?

The sales plan is a tool or model that allows you to establish or detail the strategies that will be followed in a company to meet the objectives set and the steps to follow to achieve it.

You can include revenue goals, target audience, and the tools the team will use for their daily tasks or activities. Likewise, the obstacles and weaknesses that may exist and the emergency plans to overcome them should be mentioned.

This document is very important because it will allow you to achieve your goals in a timely manner and, if you don’t know how to establish budgets, it will help you establish priorities.

In other words, a sales plan serves to be clear about where you want to go and what to do to achieve it .

This way you will be able to propose a path (open to changes) for each of the goals that are set; even though they change as time goes by or as the journey progresses.

What is a sales plan used for?

A sales plan can work for different objectives, but the main ones are:

  • Identify the areas of opportunity of a company that is starting or that has already been in operation for some time.
  • Give a correct follow-up to the marketing strategies that are used to position a brand or achieve more sales.
  • Have a better internal organization within the company to guide sales managers.
  • Establish guidelines to achieve sales objectives in a specific time.
  • Know how to optimize the resources and tools that are acquired or owned to achieve more sales and profits.

Advantages of having a sales plan

Having a sales plan offers many advantages for companies. Some of the most important are:

  • Competitive advantage

Having clarity about your market, how it behaves and so on, it will be much easier for you to establish the added value of your products or services.

  • Clarity in objectives

Setting the objectives is fine, but it is equally or more important to know what has to be done to achieve them and a sales plan is ideal for this. Best of all, it’s flexible.

  • Improve sales channels

Knowing your target audience better and everything related to it and its buying habits will help you specify the best channels to reach it. This way you will not have to invest time or money in media that are not suitable for your buyer personas.

  • have a good strategy

The sales plan works as a compass for your company, since it allows you to establish the lines of action and the tasks that must be carried out to achieve what was projected.

If you want to drive results, you can even combine sales with inbound marketing .

  • Optimize strategies according to results

6 or 12 months after launching the sales plan, we will be able to know what investments can be made, according to the resources available.

Seeing the evolution of sales is key to making better decisions as you go.

  • Anticipate some problems and have an emergency plan

Without a sales plan, your business strategy is more likely to be vulnerable to errors and that these will drastically influence the operations that are carried out.

This document helps to anticipate problems and find solutions, which allows for a better organization and to be able to maintain the activity of the company despite changes or failures.

How to structure a sales plan

A sales plan has a more or less fixed structure. These elements cannot be missing, so pay close attention if you want it to really work.

1. Mission and vision + ideal client

You should always start from the mission and vision of the company in question. That is, be clear about who you are (mission) and who you want to be (vision).

Likewise, you must know who you are addressing and what type of audience you want to reach and why.

This will be the first base of your sales plan, so it must be armed with reliable data.

2. Objectives and goals

Here you must be clear about the general objectives of your sales plan and the goals for these to be met.

That is, trace the step by step to ensure that the sales team achieves more closings , reaches the projected numbers and thus the company advances towards where it wants to be.

3. Action plan

Widely linked to the previous point, is the action plan, which is where everything that has to be executed to achieve the objectives is contemplated.

This includes daily activities, tasks, and the responsibilities assigned to each task. Likewise, it is important to establish specific times to complete each of these activities so that everything goes well.

4. Budget

For a sales plan to be successful, it is key to establish an investment amount to attract potential customers and guide them towards the purchase.

Think about the tools that will be needed and see if you have the resources to put the plan into action. Otherwise, study how you will get those resources or what adaptations you can make to start with what you have at that moment.

5. Competitive analysis

You have to know and analyze the situation your company is in within the market or sector, with respect to the most direct or indirect competitors.

This will help you to know how they approach sales and from what perspective you can do it differently to stay above them and that prospects prefer you.

It is about finding the differentiating element of your company.

6. Tools

Tools are very important when it comes to having a strong and powerful sales plan.

This includes software, procedures, mechanism and all the instruments that will help to comply with all the processes in a much more effective and automated way.

How to make a sales plan

Step 1. Define your market

The first thing you should do to create a sales plan is define the market or audience you are targeting.

You have to be clear about the characteristics of your audience:

  • demographics
  • economic
  • of behavior
  • Problems or challenges they face

A market study is essential at this point to know this and more information about your buyer persona and the area in which your company will work. This way you will know which strategies can go further with your clients.

Step 2. Establish your mission and vision

As we have already seen, the mission of a company is its reason for being. You just have to communicate it in a simple and summarized way.

You can take two questions as a basis:

  • About us?
  • What do we do?

It is your opportunity to show who you are professionally and let everyone know it with just a couple of lines.

It is important that for this you have a broad knowledge of your products and services and that you have a well-defined value proposition and the benefits that your company offers.

On the other hand, vision is what you aspire to become at a given time. And it is very important because it will serve to understand what must be achieved in the long term.

Step 3. Team members and roles

You have to determine who is part of the work team and what role each of them will have so that they are clear about their activities and the objectives behind them.

You must decide:

  • leaders
  • Structure of the entire sales department (by hierarchy, for example)
  • Job positions

Even, to make it easier, you can put this section in the form of an organization chart.

Step 4. Define the resources and tools that will be used

At this point, you must analyze and put what tools and resources are necessary to achieve the proposed business objectives.

For example, if you will use a CRM, put which one and which functions are important (customer database, website management, content creation, etc.).

Everything must be delimited so that you really know what is needed, why and for what. In this way, managers will also know what to monitor in each section of the software and will learn to use it if necessary.

Step 5. Know the current position of your company

In this step, you have to create a section in which you briefly and concisely place the key points that differentiate you from your competitors.

Also, you have to include your pricing strategy. Define why those costs are so that it is much easier to project it to prospects and they know the reasons behind what they will pay.

This will help you reach users much more aligned with your products or services.

Step 6. Analyze your competition

Knowing and analyzing your direct and indirect competition will help you to know your strengths and weaknesses, as well as everything that differentiates you from it.

This way you will know what you can change or adjust so that your target audience really chooses you over them.

You will also be able to identify deficiencies and, with that, look for solutions to enhance the scope of your business.

Step 7. Establish a marketing and sales strategy

Within the sales plan you have to include the marketing and sales strategy that is going to be followed to achieve the recognition that is sought and to be able to generate more business opportunities.

It is important that, in a synthesized way, the procedures to be followed in each of the strategies to be implemented are added, even if they are only the most important points so that it is not too extensive.

You can make a summary of the activities to be carried out by department and head of the department, for example:

  • Send emails or newsletters
  • Launch invitations for face-to-face or online events
  • Share certain content for “x” objective, etc.

It is important that this is by area: email marketing, content marketing, lead conversion, etc.

Step 8. Set a budget for your sales plan

One of the final steps in creating a sales plan is to set a budget for it.

Take into account:

  • Total base salaries
  • Commission or bonus structure
  • Expenses for tools or software
  • Necessary training
  • Etc

You have to include everything that you must pay, be it human or material resources so that you have an annual projection about this and know if it is feasible or not to implement said sales plan.

Step 9. Measure all the actions implemented

Once everything is ready, it’s time to put the sales plan into action. However, that is not the end; you have to monitor and measure everything that is implemented to know if you should improve or maintain the plan.

All this is possible from your objectives, that is, you must see if they are being met and in what way they are being achieved.

Always with an eye on getting more benefits through fewer resources (without exaggerating).

With the passage of time and experience, there will be greater precision and effectiveness in the key actions of your sales plan.

What to avoid when making a sales plan

There are some mistakes that are often made when putting together a sales plan. Do you want to know what they are so you don’t commit them? Wait because right now I’m listing them for you.

Mistake 1. Having unrealistic goals

It’s okay to have ambition and believe that great things can be achieved, but it’s important to always be realistic and set short, medium and long-term goals that can really be achieved.

The best thing is that it is planned well so that there are no disappointments or extra pressure that is not necessary.

Error 2. Not being clear about what you want to achieve

A sales plan has to be perfectly designed and contain everything necessary to apply it. For example, the expected sales volume for each product, across all types of customers, by area, etc.

The more specific it is, the easier it will be for the whole team to know what it is aiming for and to focus efforts on achieving what was previously proposed.

Mistake 3. Not involving the sales department

It is very important that you take into account the points of view of those who make up the sales department, because at the end of the day, they are the experts.

In addition, for them to really feel part of the sales plan, they must know that they are being listened to and valued.

A key step is to bring together key figures to participate in creating the sales plan. Only in this way will you guarantee alignment and it will be much easier to achieve the search.

Mistake 4. Not doing a deep analysis before designing the sales plan

To put together a sales plan, it is necessary to carry out an in-depth analysis of the company, the sector to which it belongs, the objectives, the place of operation and much more.

Only based on this can realistic and achievable projections be made. For example, if you currently generate 10,000 USD per month, is it realistic to think that next year you will generate 20,000 USD per month? For some it will be impossible, for others it might not be an ambitious goal; Everything will depend on the data collected.

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