Learn the steps to writing a sales plan including the planning, strategy and process that should form part of such a document for your business.
How to Write a Sales Plan
Before you dedicate yourself to the profit and loss plan, you need a sales plan. How you create one best depends, among other things, on your products or services that you manufacture or distribute. The sales plan sets targets and the tactics, resources and steps that a business should implement to meet its targets. It can also be defined as an assessment of current sales in a given market or region and a list of sales objectives and the resources and strategies necessary to achieve those objectives. This plan forms an integral part defining and implementing a marketing strategy.
Such document is important to help a sales manager keep track of the daily task of advertising a company’s products and generating income. Let us now therefore look at the sales planning and the sales strategy and sales process that should form part of this plan.
Planning depends much on the type of products or services you sell. You want to open a thrift store, for instance, and do not have a prognosis on how many garments you will sell? To find out, you can observe a similar business over a long period of time. But that’s pretty difficult. It is easier and more reliable if you ask the owner of a similar store how many typical products, such as, dresses, pants, blouses, skirts, T-shirts, sweaters, etc., he has sold in two representative months. Now you have a solid base from which to forecast your own business based on location, size and orientation.
This method of sales forecasting is also suitable for the planning of similar businesses, such as catering, hairdressing, etc. The sales planning for a service enterprise, software company or an advertising agency, requires a slightly different approach. Planning is necessary as it will help the sales team in the following ways:
- Defining a set of sales targets for the business
- Choosing the right sales strategies and tactics for your target market
- Identifying sales tactics for your sales team
- Coming up with ways to motivate, activate and focus the sales team
- A sales plan can help you know the skills and traits required to form a good sales team
- Coming up with steps and budget to achieve your sales target
- Reviewing your goals in set periods to assess your performance and help you achieve your sales objectives
Sales plans set out specific goals, the time frame to achieve such goals, the strategies to achieve these goal and ways to measure results after a certain period:
Define your products/ service value
Define the value your product or service will offer to your target market. Defining the value will help you know the key points to use in your market strategies.
Analyze your current position in the market
Know the exact niche of your service or product for your large or small business. Know your market and how your product compares to your competitors products.
Examine the pricing structure
One of the key benefits of the plan is that it gives you the opportunity to come up with a pricing strategy. Look at similar products in your target market and price your products accordingly. The right price should allow you to be competitive in the market and still generate revenue.
Define your long-term and short-term goals
Set realistic goals using the recent profits history as a guide, putting into consideration major changes that may affect your revenue both positively and negatively.
Outline your current locations and any future plans to establish new locations
Know where your products will be sold and also come with more stores in the future to expand your business.
Come up with advertising strategies and methods
The manager responsible for sales can use flyers, website or traditional advertising methods? Come up with your marketing strategies and evaluate their performance or success in the past. Social media is one method that you have to include in your plan if you want to have success. Of course, this sales plan must be supplemented for the remaining days of the month. Then it is necessary to correctly assess the seasonal monthly fluctuations and to determine the sales forecast for each month in spring and summer as well as in autumn and winter.
Outline how your sales and marking team will contribute towards achieving the sales objective
Outline how the marketing plan and sales team need to work to help the business achieve successful sales.
Set sales expectations and ways to measure your performance
Outline the expected sales, profits, and achievements and come up with ways to measure your success. A good business plan should outline the sales objectives, advertising and product promotion techniques, and any other processes that will help you achieve your goals.
A sales plan should have SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time specific) goals. It is part of the strategic planning of the business. Writing such a plan therefore can help a business set and achieve its long term and short term goals. This document should guide you to write your own for your company easily.