When it comes to testing your product’s viability in the market, relying on Lady Luck alone is like walking blindfolded on a road full of sharp tacks—it spells for catastrophe. If you want to boost your sales but don’t want to be overcome with the thousands of decisions you have to make, then creating a sales plan template will provide you with a fool-proof map in treading through the troubled waters.
A sales plan is a powerful business tool that serves a variety of purpose: it sets a sales target, defines the set of steps you need to take to reach this target, and helps mitigate risks that can potentially bring ruin to your business. When written correctly and executed effectively, it can give you a comprehensive insight in your product’s current market performance. Take a look at the following sections below to know more about the processes and complexities involved in building a sales plan.
1. Targets: A sales plan exist because you want to accomplish a certain goal or reach a defined target. There are three types of targets that you want to hit on your sales plan: sales, consumers, and territories. Your sales target is the quota that you want to attain to increase your revenue or profit. Your target consumers refer to the market that will buy your product as defined by age, social status, and other economic factors. Your target territory is the geographical location of where you can sell your product.
2. Product Information: The description of your product helps the members of your sales team be more knowledgeable about what your company is selling. Product information basically refers to the product price and description, but it may also extend to the viability of the product against the current market, its competitors, and trends of its sales.
3. Strategies and Tactics: These are the two major components that comprise the big bulk of the sales plan. The sales strategies refer to the overview of your goals and the status quo of your company in the midst of the current market. The sales tactics, meanwhile, refers to the series of action plans you want to take to achieve that strategy.
4. Support: This refers to the forms of support that your marketing team will be getting to reinforce the attainment of your targets. This element may pertain to the marketing support, or the efforts your company has done to promote your product such as in social media, and training programs of your sales team, or the seminars and orientation they can attend to improve their skills and be informed about company’s newest products. Incentive programs and prospects of promotions are also forms of support you can state in your sales plan.
A basic sales plan has five basic parts or components: the sales targets, product description, new business acquisitions, existing customer businesses, and market analysis. The steps below outlines the making of each section:
1. Identify your sales targets: As mentioned in the preceding part, you have three targets in your sales plan: your quota, customers, and territories. First, determine if your sales quota is revenue-based, one which focuses on the annual or monthly profit gained, or volume-based, one which focuses on the number of new consumers acquired.
Second, identify which demographic will most likely buy your product, and present their compare its population against the total population of your territory. And lastly, define your territory to help you establish important geographical decisions like choosing the location of an office branch or setting up the starting point of your sales team.
2. Define your product: This section describes your product and enumerates all of its important characteristics, specifically the factors that make it unique from the competing products and the specific benefit it provides. You would want to be clear in stating the need or the gap in the market you are filling in through your product. You can also include in this part a short background of the company and connect it somehow to the product’s conception.
3. Choose your strategies and tactics to acquire new businesses: Keeping only one type of account can be risky for a company, which is why most companies always try to acquire other types of businesses to grow. In your sales plan, enumerate the strategies and tactics that your company can take to achieve this external growth. Most of the steps in this section focuses on increasing awareness to the new business and building a customer base.
4. Formulate your strategies and tactics in maintaining existing businesses: While it is beneficial for the company to continually widen the horizon with new procurement, the older businesses must not be left carelessly. This section is where you identify which strategies and tactics must be taken in order to still gain revenue in existing business accounts. Methods that you can mention in these steps can include creating a touch-point program and customer referrals.
5. Present your market analysis: This section can be treated as an extension of the product description section, but with a more in-depth focus on the product’s pricing and performance in the market. State your product’s competitive advantage, the trend in sales, and other features of your product that defines your spot in the market.
Sales plans come in a variety of forms and types depending on your type of business. However, there can be considered five main types of sales plans that are classified according to their execution and set goal. These types are the following:
Sales plan templates are available on standard sizes of US Letter (8.5 inches by 11 inches), US Legal (8.5 inches by 14 inches), and A4 (8.27 inches by 11.69 inches).
In sales terminologies, touch-point is defined as the point of interaction where a salesperson keeps in “touch” or contact with the customer to close a deal. They are very important scenarios in businesses as they help gather data for you to gain insight into the changes you can impose on your sales development.
You can consider two factors. First is the amount you can afford to pay the salesperson and second is the amount that the salesperson thinks he deserves. Try to come up with a value that can satisfy both factors and not only either.
A sales plan is like a breathing being, it grows and changes with your business. Challenges are inevitable, sure, but with each re-work of your sales plan, while applying all the lessons you learned, you will be more confident in raking in risks that will surely take your company and business upon another notch.