Tips for Creating a Strategic Sales Plan

A strategic sales plan is important for any sales department. Without one, you risk damage to your sales, therefore your business. Successful sales management starts with a plan, as with all business tactics. Many people ask questions regarding what makes a successful sales plan. There are several key ideas to execute a plan to increase sales. First, you should know what you need to implement a successful, strategic sales plan.

You need to know:

  1. Your customers. Who are you customers? What industry are they in? Once you recognize your customer, your plan will need to convey how to acquire new customers and retain the ones you already have. If you’re losing customers while also gaining them, not a lot of progress can be made. Next, you should recognize a few key components regarding your customers. You should understand how your customers pay, how a lead is developed, and who your high margin customers are.
  2. Your competition. You need to know and understand your competition. Understanding the market and how your competition functions is important. It takes more than simply knowing, however. You should document anything you learn from your competition so you can teach your salespeople how the industry operates.

A few other terms you should recognize are:

  1. Sales quota
  2. Sales territory
  3. Strategies
  4. Tactics

Each one of these key terms is important when conducting a strategic sales plan. You need to understand your sales targets (your sales quota fits within this category). Sales target can be your customers, but also the targets set out for your salespeople who will be utilizing this plan. Strategies are what you will do, and tactics are the steps you will take to achieve your set of sale goals.

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Make sure your employees have the sales coaching they need.

You will also need to develop a company-wide focus on sales. Your salespeople should be aware of their set of strategies and tactics without straying too far from the plan, though welcome suggestions and new ideas from your salespeople should always be a simple strategy. Your salespeople will be your employees doing the sales after all.

 

Here are some tips to hone in on your sales plan with your salespeople:

  1. Determine the mission for your clients, before and after. Know what you currently do, but also take time to reevaluate your current strategies. Do you have a sales plan to focus on a client before and after the sale?
  2. Focus on increasing sales, reducing cost, and increasing client satisfaction. Their contentment with the produce and sale is most important.
  3. Monitor sales on an ongoing basis.

Lastly, these tips might help gear your sales department in the right direction, however, without the sales talent, business will suffer. It’s also important to ensure your salespeople have the sales coaching they need to execute a strategic sales plan. This not only can help sales, it will help the business and boost morale.

About the Author: Nick is a guest contributor from Michigan State University Executive MBA Program, helping professionals improve their business skills with an integrative management curriculum.

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