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.
According to a study cited by Forbes, sales reps who actively manage their time with an intentional approach spend 18.9% more time selling than those who don’t.
Unfortunately, many sales reps fail to prioritize planning and therefore aren’t spending their time as efficiently as possible. 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.
Watch the video below to learn more about the Sales Territory Planning Workshop
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.
- 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.
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.”
The summer season is a great time to give your sales reps the skills needed to build their own sales plans, and overcome any other challenges they’re up against.
The Brooks Group can help your team stay efficient and upgrade their sales performance this summer with targeted skills training customized to your unique needs.
In a world where time is a precious commodity, you can’t afford to let these summer months go to waste. Learn more here.
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