Creating a sales planning strategy is vital to successfully running your business. A sales plan is almost similar to a business plan. It’s a customizable and comprehensive document that outlines the steps your sales team needs to take to successfully play their roles and responsibilities in fulfilling your company’s goals. A sales plan usually contains everything from sales strategy, specific tactics, goals, budgeting, forecasting, and timeline. Moreover, you can use it as a roadmap for ensuring steady, long-term revenue by getting and retaining new and existing customers.
Nevertheless, take note that there are some practices you should follow to ensure your strategic sales planning produces long-term positive results. Notably, to ensure that you create a comprehensive sales plan that delivers excellent outcomes for the company, here are a few mistakes to avoid when creating a sales planning strategy.
- Not Setting Realistic Goals
Setting unrealistic goals can lead to a business culture wherein failure becomes normalized and a team simply pretends to do something to achieve the established goals. Thus, if you aim to challenge your sales team with intricate goals that extend their skills, the sales goal you set must be based on reality. In other words, you should ensure that it’s reasonable to attain your goals within the given timeframe and with the tools and budget you have. Your sales goals must provide a guideline for setting measurable and attainable objectives to meet your business revenue and growth targets. Eventually, establishing realistic goals can create a positive workplace culture where every team is in sync regarding progress, expectations, and accountability.
Accordingly, to establish sales goals that are motivational and attainable for your sales team, one of the aspects you should take note of and execute is the critical component for setting practical and realistic goals through the SMART way of objective setting. This acronym stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. With SMART goals, you should define the sales goals clearly so that your team understands what you expect them to do. Accordingly, you should set exact, realistic numbers instead of establishing vague objectives. Plus, make sure that your goals match your budget and production capabilities and that they have progress check-ins and due dates so that your sales team knows when they need to accomplish their goals.
- Targeting A Broad Range Of Customers
Determining the target audience is essential for running a company and creating a sales planning strategy. But the problem is that many business leaders can’t define their target market, thinking that the products and services they provide are suitable for everyone. Consequently, they end up failing to create a compelling sales planning strategy. For that reason, it’d be better to initially determine the specific individuals that you’d like to sell to and focus on their wants and needs.
On top of defining your target audience, you should also develop buyer personas. Buyer personas are an essential component of a sales plan. It’s a fictional representation that provides you with a clear picture of your ideal target audience. Moreover, it helps you create relevant and targeted content that resonates with your customer’s goals and challenges. To develop buyer personas that’ll help improve your company’s marketing and sales strategy, you should conduct extensive market research on your buyer personas’ demographics to determine your target market.
Primarily, when conducting your research, one of the valuable tactics is to talk with your account managers or customer-facing team to get a better understanding of your current clients. Furthermore, if it’s possible, you can consider communicating directly with some of your clients by sending a short survey asking them a bit about themselves.
- Failing To Create An Action Plan
Many business leaders often end sales planning sessions without knowing how to execute their goals accordingly. Due to this mistake, they realized they had only made a little progress by the time they reevaluated their strategy several quarters later. Thus, to ensure your sales planning strategy produces significant results, you also need to take some time to create an action plan. Creating an action plan is as essential as creating a sales planning strategy. Basically, to develop a successful execution plan, the primary step you can consider is to involve your company’s top performers in creating one. Your excellent sales team can give you valuable insights into the realistic goals you can attain, the resources you need, and the time it’ll take to accomplish long-term projects.
Likewise, another step is to have a dialogue regarding the activities that are likely to produce your ideal results. You can also consider assigning a team member to be accountable for each project in your action plan to increase the possibility of yielding positive results. Consequently, developing a robust action plan ensures your sales planning strategy produces a meaningful change in your company’s marketing and selling approach.
Overall, improving the sales process is integral to running your business and achieving your long-term goals. With strategic sales planning, you can make your sales process more efficient, specify several targets and objectives, and encourage your sales team to meet those goals within the given timeframe. Although you may need to take some time and effort, developing a sales planning strategy and avoiding some mistakes when creating one will have excellent results for your business in the long run.