The sales plan is a tool that gives order and strategy to the sector that keeps your business alive: sales. The commercial sales plan describes the objectives, the main tactics, the target audience, and the possible obstacles. It's like a traditional business plan, but it focuses exclusively on sales.
Talking about a sales plan is not the same as talking about a business plan, although they seem like synonymous constructions, which allude to generating new business. First of all, the business plan establishes the goals, while the sales plan describes precisely how to achieve them.
Correctly carrying out a sales plan to achieve objectives allows commercial managers and executives to specify the commercial objectives, determining a commercial budget destined for the fulfillment of said sales plan.
Without a sales plan, your company and business strategy lose flexibility and adaptability, because it provides for a series of possible contingencies and solutions, allowing the organization to maintain its activity despite changes in the environment or failures. Without an adequate sales plan, any mistake can negatively influence the operation of your company unexpectedly and put it in danger.
As we can imagine, each sales plan is different depending on the company in question, the customers to whom the product or service is directed, the strategies it designs, the sales objectives, the market, among other variables. Now, let's start with the structure of a sales plan to achieve goals.
Structure of a sales plan.
1- Buyer personas.
The first element of a sales plan is knowing your target audience. You must understand the characteristics that your best customers have, the challenges they pursue, the industry they are interested in, what they expect from you and your products.
Most sales goals or objectives are based on your income. Make sure the goal is realistic, otherwise the sales plan will not be useful or achievable. Consider product price, market size, market penetration, and resources, including sales and marketing representatives.
On the other hand, your goals must be aligned with the objectives of the company, so that the commercial area generates business that adds value to your company. In previous articles, we said that to establish and set the objectives of the commercial area, you have to prioritize those that you consider most important.
2- Sales strategies.
When you have established what you want to achieve, you can think of the element that describes the actions that will help you achieve it. In this way, plan your strategies based on actions directed towards a specific objective.
It is the element that allows you to describe the associated expenses to achieve your sales objectives. It usually includes the following elements:
- Payments (salaries and commissions)
- Sales training
- Sales tools
- Contest prizes
- Team building activities
- Travel expenses
This element of the sales plan to achieve goals describes the prices and promotions that you will implement. Take into account the impact that the values you define for your products can have on sales.
6- Deadlines and people in charge.
Set the deadline. Having benchmarks that delimit time frames to execute the tasks of the plan will help you to consider if you are on track to achieve the objectives. Also, you must include the people directly responsible for each instance of the sales plan to achieve objectives.
7- Team structure and resources.
This element of your sales plan to achieve goals describes who is part of your team and what their functions are. You should also add a description of your resources. Do you have a budget for contests and sales incentives? Do you have a budget for marketing? Can you send representatives to sales events and conferences?
8- Market conditions.
As soon as you have clear objectives, strategies, budget, deadlines, and target audience, you now must name the competitors. Compare the strengths and weaknesses of their products with those of yours. It also analyzes the price difference between the two.
You should also mention market trends. If you are part of a SaaS company, you must take into account the rise of software for specific markets. If you sell ads, mention the rise of mobile ads. Try to predict how these changes will affect your business.
There is no universal sales plan. We recommend that you customize the templates you use based on your company's needs and goals. Finally, remember that the only wrong way to use a sales plan is to write it at the beginning of the year or quarter and not review it again. Review and update all necessary information ahead of time to ensure you stay on track with your goals.
Now, once you know the structure of a sales plan, establish yours to achieve the goals you set for yourself and get going.
Sales plan to achieve goals: execution.
You have the structure of your sales plan with the goals you want to achieve, the deadline you set, your target audience, the strategies, costs, and prices you defined to carry it out. Now, where to start? Since not all sales plans are the same for all companies, the best thing you can do is focus on the goals of your sales plan and try to make it happen within the period you have established.
However, here we show you a list of actions that you can take to establish a sales plan to achieve goals.
- Carry out preliminary studies: collect the information you need about your customers and the market you are targeting.
- Determine the sales objectives: do it taking into account the SMART objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and temporary).
- Set the market share: the market share will be the percentage you want to reach in your niche or sector. For this, you must focus on the needs of your customers.
- Identify the sales cycle: that is, the cycle that leads your product or service to your customer.
- Control distribution channels: distribution channels can be internal or external, physical or digital. In them, you will define how your products will be disseminated to people.
- Develop strategies: define the actions necessary to achieve the desired goals.
- Draft the policies: they are the ones that define the decisions of a permanent nature, which refer to specific strategic issues, aimed at enforcing the goals.
- Schedule: organize the tasks and activities of your sales plan to achieve goals. By using the calendar you can better distribute your actions and have them fulfilled according to the schedule of dates that you define for each one.
- Implement the procedures: make a record of each procedure you implement to have a reference in case you have to go back over your actions and modify something.
- Assign resources for each program and measure the results: finally, allocate the personnel, the capital, and the precise information to establish a sales plan to achieve goals. Budgets are the core of this part, since the better you define the allocation of resources and what it will cost you, the fewer obstacles you will have on the way to achieving the sales plan.
After having assigned the resources, you can start measuring the actions; this way, you will have the mechanisms to verify, correct or optimize. This is useful to anticipate what could go wrong and implement a strategic plan that allows correcting in time.
In short, to establish a sales plan to achieve goals, you must have a basic structure where you contemplate the goals or objectives you want to achieve and all the processes, tasks, and activities that you will carry out together with your sales team to make it possible.
Just keep in mind not to deviate from your goals and the commercial strategies of your plan will be effective enough to attract more and more customers who will happily consume your products or services.