As a business owner, you probably already have a business plan, marketing plan, and, hopefully, a One-Page Plan. So you may be wondering: why would I need another plan just for sales? A sales plan summarizes an individual sales campaign or effort and is not the same thing as a marketing plan, which is more focused on how to generate leads. It is essential for keeping several people involved in the sales process on the same page and working toward the same goal.
Benefits Of a Sales Plan
– If you are juggling several different sales efforts, relying on your memory alone may be a challenge; a sales plan can be a big benefit when it comes to keeping track of your different sales efforts.
– You have more chance of making the sale, as the main contact in the customer origination becomes an essential part of your plan.
– The buying process and the decision-making process, and the associated timeline are clearly documented, making it easier to track progress.
There are six parts to any good sales plan:
A concise summary of the struggle/problem of the customer that your competitors aren’t currently meeting. Even if you are selling the same product/service as competitors, consider the benefits of what you sell that address customers’ concerns in a way that competitors aren’t covering.
The way in which the opportunity is realized or the problem solved. What exactly does your given product/service do to address and solve the customer’s problem(s)? Be very clear and use the customer’s language.
There are probably individuals in the customer organization who have the authority or ability to block the sale; their names, rank or title, and contact information should be recorded. Even in B2C sales, identify who in the household or family might be able to pose objections or block the sale and work out ways to overcome them beforehand.
The steps summarizing the buying decision should be indicated, along with milestones and their forecast dates. This is especially helpful if you are selling B2B, as there is probably a team of people involved in the buying decisions within the companies you are selling to. However, it also works in B2C sales, as your customers probably have a decision-making process of their own. You must become familiar with that and work it into your sales plan.
Accepting delivery of the solution and paying for it are two key components of any sales plan, and the different stages or steps should be clearly outlined and explained. For example, does your sales team need to have POS capabilities on them to make the sale on the spot, or will customers be expected to go to a specific website to purchase, respond to an invoice your company sends, etc.? Hint: make the buying process as easy as humanly possible for your customers – even if it might mean a little extra work for your team!
Any great salesperson should know that sales work does not stop once the customer makes a purchase. A critical step in the process is the follow-up. Identify who will follow up with the customer to gauge their satisfaction with the product/service and buying process and when the best time is to do so. Sometimes, a simple call 2-3 days after the purchase is all that’s needed. Other times, regular contact for an extended time is best. This also creates excellent opportunities for your sales team to identify other needs the customer has and suggest new products to them, receive referrals, and even generate new product/service ideas for your company to develop.
The sales plan does not need to be long. Sometimes, all it takes is one page to cover all of the basics. However, everyone on your sales team, from the most senior manager to the brand-new hire, needs to be familiar with it to be successful and continue the growth of your sales. It’s a good idea to include the plan in onboarding materials and regularly review it in team meetings to keep everyone rowing in the same direction.
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