How do you know if your sales plan is working well? It could take some trial and error. You’ll want to analyze and measure. Measuring results gives you great insight into what’s working and what needs improvement. You can get this info through a simple customer relationship management tool like Base that offers excellent pipeline tracking features and reporting.

A sales strategy or sales plan is essential for any business that wants to grow. In fact, a solid sales plan is also vital for keeping the customers you already have, too. Implementing a plan will help you reach out to new customers and effectively lead them through your sales funnel. It will also help you to measure your efforts and improve them an ongoing basis.

Carefully defining your sales strategy is an exercise that will give you a great deal of insight into your business and your customers and it will provide you and any staff you have with a blueprint to follow as well as a real way to measure your actions against your results. The metrics you extract will be very revealing and will tell you a lot about your business, your methods, your customers, your staff, and they will highlight your strengths and your weaknesses. Creating a sales plan should have many elements.

Here are some areas to consider:

Development

Developing your plan will require a lot of thinking about various areas, such as your goals, your product, your target customer, your sales methods, your competition. Don’t jump headfirst into the planning until you’ve done a great deal of research and analysis. Get professional assistance with this, if necessary.

Note: You also have to think about your current capacity and managing growth carefully so that as your sales efforts bear fruit, you’ll have the ability to manage that volume in a way that will help you retain those new customers. Growing too fast without the right infrastructure in place could be a deadly mistake.

Prospecting

How will you prospect for new customers? There are many ways to do it. Whether you’re doing cold-calling, internet marketing and advertising, social media marketing, radio and print advertising, networking via local events, or choose some other method, it’s important to carefully plan how you’ll go about prospecting.

Presenting

Not every business requires coming up with a canned presentation. But having a few methods of presenting and proposing your solution will help. Have you developed material that will wow your prospects? When was the last time you updated your website? You’ll need great marketing collateral and you’ll also need a method of tracking your prospecting activities so you can be sure that you are able to systematically walk a lead through every phase of your sales plan.

Follow Up:

Do you have a method for ensuring you follow up on leads and quotes? If your company is actively and aggressively trying to bring in new business, it’s easy to spend all your time hunting. Make sure you do some gathering, too. Don’t forget to take the time to follow up after the quote and to continue the relationship beyond the sale by following up after the delivery date, too.

A sales plan needs to be a work in progress. As you track results, with your CRM and sales tracking app, and as you anticipate changes in your market, you will undoubtedly tweak your strategy accordingly. This learning process will increase your chances of experiencing growth, of fine-tuning your sales and negotiation skills, and of ensuring that the growth has a good chance of being sustainable.