Businesses wouldn’t be able to survive without knowing how to properly develop a sales plan for a product or service. A sales plan is considered the backbone of all kinds of businesses and usually goes together with having a solid sales planning process.
While closely related, sales plans are not entirely synonymous with marketing plans and business plans. This is because a business needs to have a specific sales strategy, whether short-term or long-term.
Some tips business owners can follow when creating a good sales plan for their business are:
- Study market conditions and competitors
- Create specific sales goals and strategies
- Include business expenses and projected profit
- Create a timetable and set deadlines
Tip #1: Study market conditions and competitors
A big part of knowing how to put together a good sales plan is taking the time to identify and research the business’ target market and developing strategies on how their needs can be addressed. Businesses are encouraged to research about industry sales data relevant to its products and services and determine audience socio-demographics.
Getting a good grasp of the current market conditions also allows business owners to accurately study and identify market competitors to focus on gain an industry advantage.
Business owners should study everything from product comparisons to marketing strategies to pricing differences. This allows them to make informed decisions on creating products and services that would best cater to what their target market really needs.
Tip #2: Create specific sales goals and strategies
After laying out the foundations of the sales plan, further refine the sales plan by developing distinct sales end-goals and strategies that are both profitable and realistic. Map out sales goals by thinking about where the business will be in a year, in five years and in ten years.
Afterwards, make these long-term goals attainable by creating a set of short-term goals—goals that are actually steps in achieving its long-term goals.
Avoid setting unrealistic goals by sticking to realistic expectations and strictly adhering to the strategies outlined in the sales plan. Keeping things simple is also a great help for businesses who want to trim down their goals into something that is easier to achieve.
Tip #3: Include business expenses and projected profit
An effective sales plan should also include details about the projected expenses once the sales strategy is implemented within the business. This projected expenses should be as detailed as possible to accurately track business expenses and avoid any irregularities in its monthly and yearly outflows.
For example, will the sales strategy compel the business to hire additional employees and train existing ones? If yes, this means that the business will incur additional expenses that need to be included in the sales plan.
Once included in the sales plan, at the end of every fiscal year, these expenses can be used as a gauge to track the business’ overall growth by comparing it with the actual expenses and profits.
Stick to the outlined expenses for the business to reach its projected output without overspending.
Setting budgets for areas like marketing and employee training also allows the business to compartmentalise its funds and prioritise areas which need additional funding.
Tip #4: Create a timetable and set deadlines
Creating and sticking to a timetable is essential for any business strategy—even more so in a sales plan. Creating these kinds of benchmarks ensures that the business is always on track and is consistent when it comes to meeting sales targets.
Conversely, it also allows the business to regain its footing and save itself from troubles by allowing it to backtrack and pick up where the business left off.
Having a set timetable is also effective for businesses with multiple departments since this allows employees to achieve individual goals which contribute to the business achieving its larger, longer-term goals.
It also prevents employees from shifting responsibilities and blaming everyone around in the event of any untoward incidents, allowing business owners to track tasks assigned to every employee.