Now is the time to start thinking about what you’ll do in the upcoming year. You cannot provide valuable services unless you can generate profitable business, so the marketing and sales section of your business plan is crucial.
Starting with the end in mind is the key to a successful sales plan. By establishing where you want to be at the end of the year and setting milestones along the way, you start your sales journey. As you move from planning to realization, your marketing and sales activities will provide the foundation.
When you write down your plan, it becomes more real and actionable. Additionally, it helps your team see the big picture, embrace the same goals, and row together. It is common for sales plans to identify the following:
- A specific revenue and performance goal
- Achieving your goals with strategies and tactics
- The resources and activities required to implement those strategies and tacticsThe next step is to map out how you will achieve these overarching goals. To develop a sales plan, follow these 10 steps:
- Identify realistic sales goals.
Determine your organization’s sales goals based on its financial plan. Aiming high is admirable, but it’s also imperative to keep them attainable and realistic. Keeping incremental sales goals will help you stay on track. In order to achieve your sales goals, you may want to break them down as follows:
- Type of revenue (e.g., one-time or monthly recurring)
- Revenue by month
- Revenue by quarter
- Create a sales strategy for your business.
You should identify the tactics and strategies you will use to achieve sales growth in your plan. How many new clients would you like to attract?
How will you sell more products and services to existing clients if you want to do so? You may want to consider converting more project-based or “time and materials” (T&M) clients to managed services.
- Identify your revenue sources.
Do you have any current revenue sources that will bring you more business? This is also known as “who else and what else” you can sell to customers with whom you can expand or upsell your services.
You should know which clients need more services and which are receptive to doing more business with you if you have done periodic business reviews with your client base. To get more business from existing clients, consider the following:
- Have you converted block hour or T&M clients to monthly recurring revenue?
- Did you upsell cybersecurity services?
- What are the opportunities with out-of-warranty equipment?
- Can clients add employees?
- Build an opportunity pipeline that is 3x-5x your revenue goal.
The timeline of the client is always more important than the timeline of the salesperson. It is also possible for good prospects to suddenly go cold without your fault. Because not all prospects will turn into revenue, it’s essential to have many more prospects than you need to meet your revenue goal.
Don’t count on just one or two large deals! In order to ensure long-term growth, it is essential to have an active and qualified prospect list and dedicate time to prospecting. Focus on your ideal new client criteria as you build your pipeline. Decide what a good client looks like for your business and continue to prioritize them.
- Put your focus into activities that will lead to desired results.
Identify the activities you need to perform to achieve your sales goals. As well as bringing in new clients, this may include opportunities for upselling to existing clients.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the number of meetings I need?
- What is the recommended number of business reviews or assessments?
- Can you tell me how many proposals I need to submit?
- Can I land a certain number of opportunities?
- Consistently schedule sales.
It is important to maintain a steady pace of prospecting, rather than turning it on and off at random. Think about how you will build your pipeline and at what frequency (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly). Plan your schedule around these activities. Don’t consider prospecting an optional activity, but rather a must-do.
- Time management is key to success.
To prospect effectively and bring in sales, you must manage your time effectively. Schedule your marketing and sales activities every week and every month. Divide your calendar into sections for different activities and color code them. In this way, you can see how much time you’re spending on lead generation, meetings with prospects, presenting proposals, etc. Work your plan, not just plan to do them.
- Your sales plan should be shared across your organization.
Shared plans increase accountability, helping you and your team focus on the activities that will enable you to achieve your sales goals. Sharing your plan and the roadmap also helps employees understand how their work fits into the bigger picture.
- Put the plan into action.
Planning alone is worthwhile, but planning without execution amounts to running in place. Keep reviewing your roadmap to achieve your goals to guide your activities and help you stay on track.
- Adapt accordingly.
Execution is everything, but you’ll inevitably need to make changes along the way. Things will change, your prospects will change, and their businesses will change. You should recalibrate your sales plan on a monthly and quarterly basis in order to account for these things. Reflect on your plan by considering these questions:
- Is everything going well for you?
- What needs to be improved?
- Can I achieve my goals with my pipeline?
- Are my skills needing to be refined or do I need more training?
- Do I do enough of the right things?
Establishing your sales goals and planning how to achieve them increases your chances of success. It is clear to each of them what you intend to accomplish and what their role will be in implementing the plan.
The business plan itself becomes a tool for guiding profitable growth. In order to translate a plan into the balance sheet, implementation is necessary in addition to the planning process.