Then you need to slow down and put down on paper all the ideas you have to drive sales. This simple exercise will help you clarify your thinking, give the team a vision, and create realistic goals that you can benchmark against.
Simply put, creating and implementing a well-thought-out plan greatly improves your chance of success.
Stop fighting it and write your sales goals down
Success comes in many forms. People in sales are naturally competitive. Persistence and hard work, many times are wasted, when there is no clear direction, strategy, or metrics to mark the milestones that will lead to success.
Don’t cop out and use the financial plan as a sales plan
What it isn’t a Excel spreadsheet with sales targets or monthly budgets that the finance team developed. Nor, does not have to be some long multi-page document that is impossible to follow-up. 2-3 pages with goals, strategies, and actions that will be reviewed regularly and easily is more than enough.
Field salespeople have a unique aspect to their jobs – they have the ability to decide what to do every moment of every day. The need to make this decision – where to go, who to see, who to call, what to do – distinguishes the sales profession from most others.
The quality of this decision, more than any other single thing, dictates the quality of the sales person’s results. Consistently make effective decisions and your results will improve. Make thoughtless, habitual or reactive decisions and your results will be sub-par.
Create focus for your sales team and you’ll help create success
Many companies are missing out on sales because they don’t have a sales plan. Or the one they’re using isn’t performing like it should. Sure, they might have quarterly sales targets or end of year goals, but they don’t have a strategic plan for reaching them. A well thought-out sales plan is a roadmap that helps you gain new accounts and grow existing ones.
5 tips to help you effectively tackle sales planning
- Be patient. It takes time to fully develop your sales plan, so schedule accordingly and be patient. It’s helpful to schedule time to work on your plan, just like you would schedule time for a meeting. Working on your plan in several phases over a time is the best approach.
- Establish reasonable goals. High expectations are great, but you’re setting yourself up for failure if you set goals that are unobtainable.
- Post it. Posting your sales plan where you can see it will help you stay on track and gives the team a sense of where the business is headed.
- Revisit and revise. Don’t shelve your plan and forget it. Your sales plan is a living document that should be revisited regularly and revised when necessary.
- Keep it simple. Your sales plan should be as short and as simple as possible while still fully exploring each element. Reframe from regurgitating your business plan or marketing plan and use bullets, headings and subheadings to break your sales plan into an easy to read format.
An effective sales plan provides you with strategies to acquire new business as well as strategies that expand business with your current accounts. Start drafting your sales plan today and create a plan of action that takes your business to new heights.
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