Who, What, Where, When, Why and How
A wise man once said, “The longest journey begins with a single step.” What that wise man left unsaid was that before you begin any journey you have to know where you are going, when you are going to leave and when you plan on arriving, how you are going to get there (your route) and what will be your means of transportation. You also should have some idea on why you are making the trip. This is your travel plan.
Any sales endeavor has the same requirements as a journey; you need to have a sales plan in order to have a successful business effort.
Any sales plan is made up of similar elements:
- Who is going to execute the plan?
- What are the goals of the plan?
- Where can you find the data you need for your plan?
- When is the action to begin and end?
- Why is this particular plan the best means to the end?
- How are you going to accomplish the goals, what tools are needed?
The Sales Plan – One Type of Plan for Almost Any Business Venture
Preface – Provide a narrative background (market research) about the product and how it fits into the marketplace, the competitive posture and how your product will differ from those offered by the competition. This is the feasibility study and conclusions drawn.
Goals – What are the broad goals of the plan:
- Increase business through competitive conversions, new sources, increases from existing clients or new applications for products.
- Increased profits through better use of assets, higher pricing, added services or new and unique products.
- Open new markets.
- Seek out new customers.
Prospect Identification – Develop lists of all the prospective customers in the areas in the target market. Include all contact names and information. A company profile should be developed that includes the presence of any competitors’ products or services.
Sales Team Structure – Who is involved in the sales effort and what are their tasks? Provide details on each participants specific target goals and the timeline in which they will be accomplished.
Sales Approach – What tactics will be used to accomplish the goals of the plan? Develop a specific plan-of-attack. Offer services or product not available from your competitors, or package your products and services in a manner that gives a competitive advantage. Utilize your strengths against their weaknesses.
Reporting – It is important to track the results of the sales team on a daily basis. This give you a handle on your progress and it will make the sales team aware of the status of their efforts. It will also promote competitiveness between members of the team.
A final report should be made at the conclusion of the sale effort. This data should be compared to the original goals and targets so that the next plan may make any necessary corrections so better results may be achieved.
Information on writing sales and business plans is available online from many sources. A simple search will result in many helpful sites, including: