6 Steps to Create a Successful Sales Business Plan

6 Steps to Create a Successful Sales Business Plan | The Brooks Group

When your salespeople head into a new quarter or year with a solid sales business plan, they’re more likely to improve sales forecast accuracy, attain quota, and effectively support your organizational goals.

Unfortunately, many sales reps fail to prioritize planning. But with these 6 simple steps, your sales reps can identify their sales strategy and create a sales business plan that they can use to stay organized and crush their sales targets.

Step 1: Take Measure of the Sales Target

Before your rep can begin creating an effective business plan, they need to be comfortable with the sales target you've set for them.

As a sales manager, you should examine each reps' performance data for the past six to twelve months, and identify key numbers including gross sales, profits, win/loss ratio, deal size, and other KPIs that are important for your organization.

If available, include weekly, daily, and monthly activity numbers such as calls, meetings, and emails.

Based on this data, your company's overall sales projections, and your corporate strategy, determine the sales target for each of your reps. Then, meet individually with each salesperson to review their previous performance data, and present them with their new sales quotas.

This will help your reps see where they need to be, in relation to where they were in the past.

Step 2: Break the Numbers Down

As the sales manager, coach your reps to break their targets into "chunks" that they can organize and attack more effectively.

For example, a $5,150,000 sales target broken down might look like this:

$3,500,000 Existing Maintenance Accounts

$500,000 New Product or Service Sales from Existing Accounts

$300,000 New Accounts with Existing Opportunities

$250,000 Brand New Accounts from Marketing Leads

$500,000 New Opportunities from Dormant Accounts

$100,000 Brand New Accounts from Prospecting

Looking at the target this way makes it more manageable, and easier to develop a detailed plan around.

Step 3: Identify Obstacles

Salespeople who understand the obstacles they are likely to face can be prepared to overcome them. As part of the planning process, have your reps brainstorm what might get in the way of achieving their goals, as well as tactics for overcoming those obstacles.

Obstacles might be external, such as a disruption in your industry or a contact within an account leaving. They can also be internal, such as failure to align your company's marketing strategy with your sales strategy, resulting in poor quality leads.

Identifying and addressing obstacles early on gives your team a greater chance for success.

Step 4: Establish an Action Plan

Once your sales reps understand what numbers need to be met and where the opportunities and obstacles lie, they can work to identify an action plan.

Have your reps identify specific strategies or projects they can execute to move them towards their goals. Then, be sure they list out the high-gain activities involved in the strategy that they can execute on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to get them where they need to be.

For example:

  • Your rep may have the GOAL to increase sales of a specific product with current customers by nurturing relationships.
  • One STRATEGY to achieve that goal could be to join the professional networking groups those clients are members of, and attend upcoming conferences.
  • They can then list out the ACTIVITIES they'll need to complete in order to execute the strategy. For instance, requesting approval to join the professional networking group, sending notes to their clients who are members telling them they look forward to seeing them at the next conference, etc.

This top-down approach will help keep your sales reps organized and manage their time better on a day-to-day. Basis. It will also give them a clear path to reaching their sales goals.

Step 5: Collaborate with Marketing

Sales and marketing alignment is key, and can really give your organization a competitive advantage.

Suggest that each of your salespeople meet with the marketing team to discuss their one-page business plan. 

When the marketing department understands your team's sales strategy, they can create a marketing plan to support the sales team and drive quality leads.

Step 6: Execute the Sales Business Plan

The final and most important step of the business plan is execution. Urge your salespeople to keep their sales action plan where they can see it each day, and have them schedule the activities they committed to on their personal calendars.

By prioritizing and carving out the necessary time, your sales team will have no excuses when it comes to execution --and they'll be well on their way to success.

Conclusion

The exercise of creating a business plan helps your sales team manage their daily activities in a way that moves them towards achieving their long-term goals.

Alan Lakein, says “Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.”

If you realize how important planning is to your sales team's success, give them a structured formula for doing it with the Sales Territory Planning Workshop.

The 2-day, customizable workshop will give your sales reps the tools they need to build their own sales plans—and execute them successfully to meet and exceed their sales targets.

Watch the video below to learn more about the Sales Territory Planning Workshop

Learn more about the program and request an info packet here

WRITTEN BY

Steve Hackett

Steve Hackett is a Regional Vice President of Sales at The Brooks Group. His ability to spot challenge areas along with his gift for “coaching the coaches” has improved the sales performance of thousands of salespeople from all levels of sales—from transactional to highly complex strategic deals. Steve’s passion is ensuring that training participants go back to the field with usable, effective sales skills.

Published on September 18, 2018

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