Okay, we get it. You are a free-wheeling, creative-thinking, world-changing entrepreneur. Your business is awesome, customers like your product, and yes, sales are coming in. And all this is happening without any real sales plan written down. If this is you, first of all, kudos. Secondly, don’t neglect the importance of a plan when it comes to truly making your customers happy and managing the growth of your business.
“I Want to Sell More”
A lot of “sales plans” consist of little more than this noble aspiration. But, as we point out in our guide to Doing Sales Right, you need to know important details like how much more you want to sell and who you want to sell to and is the customer happy after the sale? A big part of your sales plan is deciding and working towards your business goals, both in the near future and the far off someday.
Goals are great, because they help you be more focused. They give you something to measure against. They help you answer the question, is this working? So, start right there. What are your sales goals? Do you want to sell 1,000 more units per month, book 3 more consulting gigs this year, or what? Once you know that, you can start to figure out the how.
Your Sales Plan is Your Path to Success
We can all be a little more successful when it comes to sales. It’s one area of your business that you can devote effort to and see real improvements. So the question is, if you really can improve your sales, why wouldn’t you? Here are a few things having a good sales plan can help you with:
- Putting in measurements to find out which sales tactics are working best
- Making the sales process easier on your customers
- Finding more of the right types of leads to follow up with
- Hitting follow up out of the park by staying engaged and helpful
- Bringing to the surface the little things that go a long way toward customer happiness
If you aren’t actively thinking about how you want to do sales, and are just sort of letting it happen naturally, then you’ll miss out on opportunities to improve your sales efforts.
Your Team Needs to Share the Same Playbook
Perhaps the biggest reason to have a more formal sales plan is to help everyone be on the same page. Each of your sales team needs to know the best path to find a lead and help them become a customer. But everyone else needs to know the plan, and where they fit in, as well.
Have someone working on your website? They need to know what part that site plays in the sales plan. Have someone answering phones and shipping out orders? They need to understand their part too. Everything from first touch to final thank you should be part of your sales plan, if your plan is to add happy customers.
A sales plan can help your whole team provide the same level of customer attention throughout the process of buying. It can also help non-sales employees realize that they too have an essential role to play in getting the sale.
Start with a Simple Sales Plan
If you don’t already have an official sales plan, you can start out with something simple. Try writing down all of the steps of a sale. Look for spots where customers might get tripped up, or where details might get lost. Think beyond just what the sales rep does. What you do to help leads find you and what you do to make sure customers are happy are important steps in your plan.
Once you have a basic picture, you can pick areas that you can work on to improve. You may also want to group the different parts of your plan into stages, which will help your team keep sales more organized and always moving forward.
For more ideas on creating your sales plan and what types of sales stages you should be thinking about, read our free guide to Doing Sales Right. It will give you loads of information and ideas to help you create a more formal plan while still staying unique and true to your small business values.