Your sales plan should be the heart of your business. Every company that wants to succeed needs to have a clear, well-laid-out plan. While the exact format will vary from company to company, and tactics can vary during a recession, here are a few of the essentials you should include in yours.
Information about your business: USP, core messages and value proposition
Your sales plan should begin by laying out your company mission, your services and products – in short, your value proposition, as clearly and concisely as possible. It should clearly explain what you do, how you do it and why you’re good at it. Get your core message down on paper in the form of an old-style, 140 character Tweet, or a concise ‘elevator pitch’ of no more than a paragraph in length, and make sure everyone in the company knows exactly what it is.
You'll also want to briefly lay out the history of the business, and create an overview of your team members. This isn’t something you need to bore prospects with particularly, but you should know what everyone's role is, how the company has developed, and what key employee’s main responsibilities are. This can help sustain clear chains of accountability when executing your sales strategy– and it provides some useful context for prospects interested in your company background.
Information about your customers: buyer personas
Your marketing and sales strategy will be informed by your target market, their needs, problems and purchase motivations. To develop an effective strategy, you should know your ideal customer inside out. There is some flexibility here; over time, you might find that your target audience changes, or that they respond differently to challenges and changing economic climates. This information is formulated in ‘buyer persona’ documents, which are fictitious representations of ideal customer types. Everyone on the team should always have a clear picture of your company’s target market.
By identifying your ideal clients, you'll be able to move forward and create strategies for marketing and sourcing leads. Make sure that you know not only who your clients are, but also what problems they face. This is critical when it comes to making a persuasive case for your business and completing sales.
Strategies and goals
Now you're ready to get into the meat of your sales plan. Make sure you have clearly defined goals; if they are too vague, you will be unable to accurately measure progress.
When you've done that, you can begin laying out the strategies that you'll pursue to reach these goals. Break these down step by step; the best sales plans are realistically costed and have complete clarity at every turn. It's essential to be flexible here – especially in changeable times. You'll be monitoring your business constantly, so you can see which strategies are successful and which need rethinking.
Get started on your sales plan today
Although there is no such thing as a one size fits all sales plan, these three basic elements should be present in every successful version. Contact JDR Group for more advice and a fresh perspective, to learn how to make your sales plan work for you.
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