Learn how to avoid the 10 worst mistakes when creating your sales plan so you can identify bottlenecks in your sales process and lead your team to success.
6 minute read
A sales plan is a document that sets the sales target and determines the strategies, tactics, actions a business must take to reach those targets. A sales plan helps sales leaders foresee risks, track goals, and find any bottlenecks in the process.
Are you drawing up your sales plan for next year? Are you thinking about how you can put yourself in a position to meet your goals? Even the most detailed and thorough sales plan could collapse if you do not consider several important factors.
Not having a sales plan is risky for your business. It’s similar to running your business on a wing and a prayer, hoping that the dart you tossed blindfolded will hit the bullseye. There’s a chance you might get fortunate and hit the center, but there’s a better chance you will poke someone’s eye out.
Here are some common mistakes sales teams make when they’re creating a sales plan template:
1. Not writing or updating your marketing plan
Even though it may be one segment of your wider business strategy, your marketing plan is probably the single most crucial element of it. It does not just allow you to build clear marketing goals, but it offers you the opportunity to create a well-researched, smart marketing outlay.
Without one, you will approach your sales strategy and conversion efforts blindly. That means you’ll see poor results, a lowered return on investments, and a lack of new customers.
2. Not establishing a marketing strategy
If you don’t have a well-thought-out marketing strategy in place for your business, your promotion, marketing, and advertising efforts are haphazard. An established marketing strategy helps you evaluate your market, identify your target audience, and choose suitable marketing vehicles for promoting your business.
A good deal of marketing strategy includes research and comparison shopping for ad rates. Without that in place, your marketing plans can be inefficient.
3. Not doing sufficient research
Market analysis is the key to learning about your customers and your competitors. It offers you insights that could drive better business strategy and planning. Like your business, good market research takes a bit of planning and strategy.
One false move could drive a great research project to the ground quicker than you can say “qualitative data gathering.”
4. Not getting stakeholders’ buy-in (not including Stakeholders in the sales planning process)
To fulfill customers' needs, the sales team must involve the concerned team to get things done. Stakeholders should be aware of the responsibilities and processes of each function in a company.
The sales team must know the responsibilities of the respective functions and limitations in working and assign the tasks accordingly. Proper communication must be made among the members to know the thought process and work as per the requirements.
Toward the end of the sales planning process, you must involve the stakeholders from departments that impact your results, like product and marketing. Doing so will result in an actionable and efficient sales planning process.
5. Focusing too heavily on big-budget marketing items
Creating a simple budget to guide your sales planning efforts can help you manage your resources and keep on track. A budget is a guide and does not have to confine an eager sales force or groundbreaking sales tactics.
Also, planning a budget in sales planning enables you to keep control of your resources instead of running your business in reaction to outside forces.
It’s recommended that you spend 7-8% of your gross revenue on advertising and marketing if you are producing less than $5 million a year in sales, and your net profit margin falls between 10-12%.
Most shop owners spend 3-4% on marketing, and with a defined marketing budget and organized plan, that will be enough.
6. Not tracking your marketing results
Most sales teams get tracking all wrong. It is not about collecting as many metrics as possible and throwing them into some marketing dashboard or spreadsheet. There will be more guesswork involved in creating your process.
If you track the data in real time, you can make smart decisions based on what is happening with the sales right now, not what occurred last week. To take advantage of the power of data integration, you can integrate Google Analytics with Salesforce or another CRM for even more insights into your marketing strategy.
Also, when you know how various actions impact your bottom line, you will understand what to change and structure the process so your team continuously reaches its goals.
7. Trying to do too much at once
Avoid doing many things at the same time when creating a sales plan. When determining gaps in your business, consider what your organization needs and what you might need in the future.
Determine the skills you feel your staff need to reach the goal. Assess the skills of your present employees. Once you have those details, you can train or hire new employees to fill the gaps.
8. Not considering the finer details
You must dive into the details of your sales strategy with a sales action plan. It must have a minimalistic but clean layout. The sales plan concentrates on the more concrete elements of accomplishing your sales goals.
9. Shifting the strategy while implementing the plan
You should stick to your strategy. Your sales strategy must be acknowledged to help position your product or service to differentiate your solution from competitors.
A great strategy will help you deal with your customer’s needs in each stage of the sales plan. For improved sales, you can balance outbound and inbound sales strategies for higher sales.
10. Not determining what systems or tools to use
Here, you will provide a breakdown of your existing team and any resources you use to sell, like email marketing, sales intelligence, automation, analysis and reporting, and sales CRM platform.
Here is where you must make critical choices between alternatives that may impact the business far into the future. For example:
Should we use a dedicated sales CRM like Snov.io for example or choose from CRM software with a broad business functionality?
Should I use an agency to create my sales collateral, invest in an in-house content creation team, or bring in a new sales content management tool?
Should I manually track and analyze sales calls, or use a sales intelligence tool like Gong?
If you're not sure how to start your sales planning, try taking inspiration from the following established sales plan formats. Each sales plan type detailed below is used for a unique set of goals and circumstances, so keep an eye for what’s right for you at this point in time.
30-60-90-day sales plan
A good sales plan template shows the measurable goals for the sales campaign grouped into 3-month periods. It also shows how to gather leads, onboard and foster them and move them down into the sales funnel in the direction of the purchase.
This kind of plan offers your team an idea of what an efficient sales campaign would look like in the first 30, 60, and 90 days. The 30-60-90-day plan also helps point your sales reps in the right way.
Territory sales plan
Sales managers who manage a geo-location or area often use these sales plans to provide sales directors and VPs more stability in their sales efforts. That’s a workable plan utilized to target the ideal customers and execute goals to boost the income produced and sales over time.
A good territory sales plan will make your team more productive, boost the number of produced sales, lower operational costs, enhance your customer coverage, and improve working relationships between managers and clients.
Sales plan for specific sales
This kind of sales plan concentrates on particular sales strategies, such as scheduling appointments, automated email series, and prescribed cold call sequences, among others. A sales plan for specific sales is identical to a weekly or annual sales plan.
The only difference is that it is made to improve and measure results for a single goal or task.
Monthly sales plan
A monthly sales plan is utilized to guarantee that the monthly quota of the sales team is accomplished and that particular programs and activities for monthly sales growth and improvement are established and executed.
Preparing a monthly sales plan is vital when it comes to making sure your sales team is guided, whether in terms of the responsibilities they have to focus on to accomplish specific sales goals in a month’s time or the expectations of the business.
Remember that your sales plan should have clear guidelines and priorities, realistic, actionable goals, and measurable outcomes. A successful sales strategy needs thorough planning and dependable implementation.
While you could follow the above tips as you see fit, do not be afraid to establish your sales plan based on your experiences. As long as it optimizes your sales plan based on applicable data, it must work the best for you and your sales goals.
It is essential that you also learn from them so you can make smart decisions that will take your business further.
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