Learn how to create a successful sales strategy plan for your business with these eleven tips. Keep reading to find out more.
In this article:
- What Is a Sales Plan?
- Have a Customer Profile
- Evaluate Your Past and Present Performance
- Develop Your Market and Sales Strategy
- Determine and Communicate Your Positioning
- Set Your Revenue Goals
- Set Realistic and Clear Action Plans
- Own Your Niche
- Don’t Forget to Include Marketing In Your Sales Plan
- Encourage Your Sales Team to Generate Their Own Leads
- Take Into Account Competitor Analysis in Your Sales Strategy
- Remember to Always Create Sales Reports
How to Develop a Sales Strategy Plan
What Is a Sales Plan?
A sales plan or a sales strategy plan is essentially a sales organization’s specific approach or tactic when it comes to selling their product or service.
Each organization should have a unique approach, depending on different factors. However, there are usually essential parts of a sales plan that make for an effective sales strategy no matter the industry.
Here are some of the things you should incorporate into your sales strategy plan.
1. Have a Customer Profile
Earlier, we talked about assessing your clients. By reviewing your past performance, you can identify the clients who:
- Spend the most money
- Make repeat purchases
- Have the shortest sales cycle
- Are easy to work with
After determining your top clients, make a list of the qualities they have in common. This will then become your criteria for an ideal customer.
Look into their demographics and psychographics to create a full customer profile for your sales reps. They can refer to this to identify which prospects they are most likely to convert and encourage them to make repeat purchases.
Psychographics Definition: Psychographics is the classification of people based on their psychological attributes, such as their habits, preferences, and hobbies, among others.
This can help your team’s efficiency because your sales reps can focus their efforts on those who can yield returns. To avoid wasting opportunities, your sales reps must provide value and personalized experiences for each prospect and customer.
Your clients may have similar needs, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to implement a one-size-fits-all sales strategy on them. You have to serve them well — know their individual needs and find ways you can address those.
2. Evaluate Your Past and Present Performance
It’s always important to look back on your past and present performance to determine your next moves. Assess what you’ve accomplished by answering evaluation questions such as:
- How much revenue did you gain?
- Who were your top sellers?
- Who were your clients?
- Among your clients, who brought in the least and most profit? How long did it take you to support them?
- How many of your clients did repeat business with you?
- Are you currently positioned well to reach your revenue targets?
Your performance then and now will be the foundation of your new sales strategy plan. Understanding what you’ve been through and what you’ve accomplished will help you figure out what new bars you should set.
Doing a SWOT analysis will also help you create a strategic sales plan. This is a useful exercise that’s rooted in your business’ current state.
Identify your strengths and figure out how you can leverage them to maximize the opportunities you have. Determine the weaknesses and threats that hinder you from achieving the goals you set.
Then, come up with specific efforts to minimize those weaknesses and threats. These will help you build your sales plan.
3. Develop Your Market and Sales Strategy
When creating your sales and marketing strategies, consider planning for the following:
- Growing your existing accounts
- Getting referrals from the accounts you have
- Increasing your revenue in your current territories with new and existing products
- Increasing your revenue outside your territories with new and existing products
A sales strategy trend that’s worth a shot is storytelling. It’s a great way to move past the introduction stage and connect with people.
If you choose to go down this route, remember these best practices:
- Don’t make it all about you.
- Let your audience know you understand their struggles and share how you overcame them.
- Provide social proof using your customers’ success stories and testimonials.
Another thing you should consider when it comes to sales strategy is using data to drive it. Set benchmarks you can track using the data you gather from your sales efforts.
Data is powerful. It helps you measure your success on each strategy you implement and gives you insights on what you need to continue or improve on.
Looking for sales strategy templates? Check out our very own “Give-to-Get” Sales Play Template, which helped us build $1.5 million in the pipeline.
4. Determine and Communicate Your Positioning
Your market and sales strategy will come into play when it comes to positioning your company and products. They will help you determine the best way to do this to achieve growth.
Each market segment you have needs their own positioning. Creating this is a joint effort between the product, marketing, and sales teams.
The positioning statements you come up with should communicate the value proposition. It should also meet the needs of your ideal customer.
The unique selling point (USP) of your product or service is essential. It doesn’t have to be grand — it only has to hit your customer’s pain point and solve their problem.
Coming up with your own USP and positioning statements will undoubtedly give your sales strategy a boost.
5. Set Your Revenue Goals
After you’ve assessed your past and present performance and come up with a marketing and sales strategy, it’s time to come up with realistic revenue goals.
Huddle with your product, marketing, and sales teams to figure out how each team can support one another to achieve these goals.
Remember: when you set revenue goals that have no basis, more likely than not, everyone involved will only end up frustrated and disappointed.
6. Set Realistic and Clear Action Plans
When you’ve figured out your revenue goals, assign your sales reps to propose a funnel showing how they will generate that revenue. This may be in terms of the number of calls, sales deals closed, or time spent with each prospect and customer.
Ask them to come up with clear action plans and lay out their timeline as part of their sales planning process. For instance, one example of a good action plan is to always offer something valuable to prospects and customers.
Once they’ve come up with these, help out your sales reps fulfill their own goals by encouraging healthy competition within the team. Make sure that the incentives you provide will push them towards motivation.
7. Own Your Niche
Own your niche. Become the industry authority by specializing in something and innovating your products and services.
Dipping your toes in your industry isn’t enough to get people to support your business.
Marketing can help establish yourself as an authority. In fact, content marketing is the go-to marketing strategy to achieve this goal.
You can always add something new to your roster of specializations, but it never hurts to be well-known for your flagship product or service. This will strengthen your sales strategy and gain you more clients in the long run.
8. Don’t Forget to Include Marketing In Your Sales Plan
Sales and marketing aren’t separate entities. In fact, their work often interacts with one another.
There’s a need for sales and marketing to work together because they work hand-in-hand. Thus, for your sales strategy to not incorporate and coordinate with marketing is a tone-deaf and ineffective way to optimizing your sales process.
When planning sales strategies, don’t forget to take into account the marketing strategy of the marketing department. It’s essential for organizations to make sure the sales and marketing strategy are coordinated.
After all, it’ll be difficult for sales to sell to the leads that marketing creates if they aren’t marketing to the ideal customer.
9. Encourage Your Sales Team to Generate Their Own Leads
Speaking of sales and marketing being cross-functional teams, there’s the issue of lead generation. Usually, marketing is in charge of generating most of the leads for the sales team to push further in the sales funnel.
Although this is the case most of the time, it doesn’t mean your salespeople should leave it at that.
It wouldn’t hurt for them to have their own leads. The best way to do this is by tapping into the pool of their previous customers.
They can even do it just by ensuring they have a strong social media presence on crucial platforms. For example, LinkedIn is a great place to establish a professional appearance as a sales professional.
Of course, your sales team shouldn’t devote all their time and effort for lead generation, but doing it once in a while can help supplement a few their own leads at times.
10. Take Into Account Competitor Analysis in Your Sales Strategy
No strategic planning for an organization or sales is complete without a bit of competitor research.
If you need a bit of direction on how to package yourself better to your prospects, it’ll help to do some research. A bit of competitor intelligence analysis wouldn’t hurt at all.
One way to use competitor analysis to help fuel your sales strategies is by thoroughly checking out their sales pipeline. Look into how they generate their leads and what their customer profile likely is.
There are plenty of factors you can look into to gauge competitors’ sales strategies. From there, you can determine their weak points and take the opportunity to provide a solution to your competitor’s lapses.
Not only will it help you discover your branding, but it will help you solidify your sales goals.
Competitor analysis helps you become more in tune with the industry playmakers. At the same time, it enables you to learn about the opportunities out there that no one else has jumped on yet.
11. Remember to Always Create Sales Reports
It’s important to keep track of the progress you’re making down the sales pipeline in some way. Otherwise, how else are you going to figure out whether something is going right or wrong?
There are plenty of essential sales reports you need to make, including:
- Sales Forecast Reports: These reports help you figure out which sales activities to prioritize. Aside from that, they also help predict your potential revenue and other factors in the future based on historical data.
- Revenue Sales Reports: Gives a closer look and an overview of expected revenue goals as well as the current revenue achieved by your sales team.
- Sales Contacts Report: The sales contacts report is simply information on your current or previous sales contacts. This reports should include relevant information on each contact as well as a means to contact them.
These will help you optimize and create effective sales strategies in the future.
Your sales strategy plan must have clear priorities and guidelines, measurable outcomes, and realistic, actionable goals. All successful sales strategies require careful planning and consistent implementation.
While you can follow these tips as you see fit, don’t be afraid to build your sales strategy based on your past experiences. As long as you optimize your sales strategy plan based on relevant data, then it should work the best for you and your sales goals.
It’s vital that you learn from them so you can make better decisions that will take your business further.
Which tip in creating a sales strategy plan do you find most challenging? Let us know why in the comments section below.
- Mapping the Sales Process: 6 Steps for Success
- 7 Ways to Boost Sales Effectiveness
- Sales Best Practices Every Sales Professional Should Know
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 16, 2019, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.