Sales affect the entire business, and your sales staff requires an in-depth plan to succeed. A good sales plan is specific and lays out tasks, realistic goals, and a base strategy for individuals to develop. Creating ideas and plans for marketing is time-consuming and difficult – which is why most businesses opt to do that once a year. Although you can always change your sales plan, having one that’s done correctly sets the tone for your entire fiscal year. This document isn’t easy to make, but once it’s done, it should include detailed goals, tools, metrics, and estimated expenses. It’ll save time in the long run, and that’s time you can spend building up your enterprise rather than focusing on minute details.
To create the right sales plan, there’s a lot to consider. You’ll have to start with a lot of preliminary research to figure out your target market, your customer base demographics, goals, marketing possibilities, and more. A marketing plan is different for the simple fact that it is used differently: the purpose of marketing is to generate leads and then turn those leads into sales. Your sales plan will include all of this, and then some.
If it sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is. But whether you have a huge sales team and an established business, or you’re a one-person operation just getting your start, having a detailed and realistic plan to follow can make all the difference. Not only are you setting the stage for future expansion, but you’re also laying out the details of how you’ll get to that point right there in the sales plan template. Once you’re prepared with the right information, it makes it simple to identify future opportunities and obstacles. Use this guide on how to create a sales plan template to create your new strategy for 2019.
Prepping to Create a Sales Plan Template
When you’re working out a budget for the upcoming fiscal year, there a lot of factors to keep in mind. Create a checklist and have it handy in the days before as you prepare research and paperwork to create a good sales program. You’ll need last year’s KPI’s (if available), market predictions for 2019-2020, a budget to work with, and a team that will help you create the best program possible. Your sales, marketing, and accounting teams should participate in shaping the methodology everyone will use for the next year.
A sales plan will lay out strategy, but it is meant to focus on the bigger picture. If you search how to improve your sales this year, you’ll find hundreds of websites that suggest actions like changing the subject in your email or updating your blog content. While that is all part of increasing your sales, these aren’t quite the particulars you’re focusing on. In the war that is business, these details are just small battles. Sometimes they win a lot of ground, but to get to that point, you’ll need a sales plan to set the stage for these maneuvers.
A good plan targets the right customers, sets realistic revenue goals, involves strategies, looks at pricing and options for promotions, outlines deadlines and responsible individuals, creates a team structure, and observes market conditions. When you’ve got all the research you need and can gather your team to start this document, here’s a good formula to use for a sales plan template.
Step 1 – Mission and Objectives
Most companies have a mission statement and operate based on that concept. For sales, you must use that idea to create a specific aim for the sales department. Does your company have certain principles that separate it from the rest? You can use that as a basis when you’re writing out a sales plan. Your business strategies shouldn’t stray far from your original goals as a company. Your establishment’s identity is rooted in these factors, and by starting your sales template by laying out a mission and objectives, you’re making sure your brand stays on-message.
Next are your sales objectives. This part shouldn’t just include revenue. You should lay out full goals for where you want the company to be next year. How many new customers do you want to bring in? Is there a marketing campaign you want to start? Consider your goals in terms of events. This will create a framework for strategic and budgetary planning.
Step 2 – Monetary/Revenue Goals (SMART goals)
Once you’ve outlined a particular set of concrete intentions for your business, you can begin to estimate the financial objectives. Using the SMART format (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-based), most enterprises can construct a formal sales plan at this point. This is where you work with your teams to estimate the costs of what you want to achieve this year.
The reason the SMART acronym is so widely used is the emphasis on creating reachable goals. With relevant goals that measure success and assign appropriate time limits, you can stay in control of your sales department and still be able to adjust any plans that aren’t working in your favor throughout the year. Realism is essential for staff and morale. Having grandiose plans is excellent, and you may want to get your team to really “try hard” and reach for those goals, but if the goals are too unrealistic, it creates a sense that the company is floundering, which discourages employees. Once your team feels like they can readily attain those marks, they can see and feel a real sense of accomplishment – and you will too.
Your projected revenue should be based off previous years or market research. Look at your top competitors and see what their yearly earnings are (tax records are publicly available for many enterprises) and the predictions for your industry.
Step 3 – Identifying Your Base
A business can’t exist without customers, and the digital age has taken that idea to heart. Technology offers all company the chance to track their customers and learn about their demographics, so that marketing campaigns are more specific and therefore more profitable. When you’re laying out a sales plan, you have to lay out the details of your base.
For new companies that don’t have past KPI’s to go by, you have to build a profile for your ideal customer. This has to be an accurate representation of your product or service and the type of individual that would seek it out. Demographics should include the usual things like age, location, and gender. Use technology to go one step further and create a psychological profile for your customer. Some programs allow you to see the type of items they buy, stores they shop in, what programs they watch on Netflix or Hulu, social media habits, public interests, political views, etc. All of these factors make a difference in how potential buyers view your merchandise. It will also make a difference in the rate of sales, which market conditions to focus on, and which type of marketing strategies you will use.
To make it simple, you can create a chart that you can fill in year after year as you continue to gather statistics on your consumers:
|Age||Relevant age, could be more than one age group|
|Location||Ex: NYC, exception: Long Island|
|Memberships and organizations||Ex: Non-profits, political groups, etc.|
|Sales Channels||Where do they shop? Facebook, Instagram, Apps, Catalogues, etc.|
|Personal information||Ex: Job titles, companies worked for, marital status|
Continue this sales plan template chart until you can list all available information. Everything is relevant in sales. With so many companies to compete with, your marketing campaigns have to address these small details to make a difference in revenue.
Step 4 – Strategies and Tactics
Based on the information you’ve charted about your potential buyers, you can then work with the marketing department to create specific strategies that they will use throughout the year to generate leads and improve conversion rates.
For example, if your consumer base is primarily made up of younger millennials, your marketing team should have a specific tactic to address those clients. All age groups shop using different methods, have different needs, and particular ideas about which companies they choose to spend money with. Younger clients might use Instagram more often to influence their decisions, whereas an older demographic might respond better to a direct mail campaign.
You should have two definitive sections: one where you lay out the long-term strategies that your enterprise will use to generate leads, and a method for day-to-day operations that will enable them to reach those goals at the end of the year. So as you create a template, each goal should have a number of different approaches you can use to reach it. For example, increasing the rate of return customers is an umbrella goal. To get there, you’ll need to initiate a media campaign that includes things like blogs, weekly newsletters, or an eBook. Those are the steps that your team will address on a daily basis to make your goals happen. Be specific with these tasks so you can lay out an accurate budget.
Step 5 – Fiscal Budget
You have your revenue goals, and now you have a proper detailed sales plan. To succeed, you need a strict budget from the get-go. Based on the tactics you’re using to reach your customers, create your business plan with projected goal figures built on market calculations and past yearly revenue. It’s likely that you’ve already set up a majority of your business plan and allocated a certain amount to each department. A sales template is only one part of your yearly fiscal plan. With the amount the sales department gets, this is the step where you research and lay out a budget for every detail.
Create a budget for each department. Decide who needs to spend the most (are you hiring more customer service agents? Is your marketing team taking out a billboard? Figure out what the most expensive costs are) and where you can make the most returns (like sales, marketing, etc.). Don’t forget expenses like travel, supplies, paid advertisements, and outside charges. If you’re going to use an agency to hire new staff that’s a detail you want to include your overall expenditure, along with any tech services that you plan on engaging with. Programs that increase sales (MailChimp campaigns, QuickBooks, daily trackers), or equipment expenses should be considered. Keep checking your budget periodically to make sure everything is working.
Step 6 – Lay Out an Actionable Plan
This is your last step. You’ll need all the information you’ve charted above to create a daily, actionable plan that your sales staff will refer to and you can measure the success of. This is the organizational process. Decide here and now who will be in charge of dolling out these responsibilities and make sure there’s no confusion as to where each department comes in. These individuals will arrange the daily targets for your sales staff to follow.
This is where you put in the minute details. If you’ve decided this year, you’re going to improve your Google rankings by updating your website and creating a blog, you should have weekly due dates and topics laid out a year ahead. Create a plan for holiday sales, exclusive freebies, and any other customer offers you want to try. Anything that affects the daily life of your company should be laid out clearly, along with the goals and time limits for each tactic.
Depending on how big your staff is, you can create many large actionable goals. Under each one, you should list specific tactics that your team will use to get to the end objective. With these particular strategies should come the details on how to achieve this. You can create a chart or a bulleted list to organize all of these details so any staff member can take a look and see where the company is headed.
Finally – Put Your Plan in Action and Don’t Forget to Evaluate Often
Once your collaborative sales plan is up and running, don’t forget to schedule regular intervals to meet with your sales and marketing teams and evaluate your business tactics. While every company should have strict a strict order to things, flexibility is critical when it comes to leads and conversion rates. A successful plan has to be monitored carefully. If you notice areas of success, don’t be afraid to rewrite your program to focus on these methods. When something isn’t working, and you’ve given it a significant period, it’s best to re-route those funds into a tactic that truly brings value to your brand.
With six simple steps, you can create a basis for a marketing plan that will work for you every year. Once you have a sales plan that you’ve deemed successful in place, you can continue to build, which will make creating a new business template easier the next year.