A Sales Plan Defined
Our sales plan should be short, simple and to the point. It’s basically our strategic and tactical plan for acquiring new business, growing our existing book of business and making and/or exceeding our sales quota within our sales territory. Typically, a healthy mix would include 75 percent of your sales quota from new business and 25 percent of your quota from add-on business from your existing customers.
There are four basic parts of a sales plan:
New business acquisition strategies
New business acquisition tactics
Existing business growth strategies
Existing business growth tactics
Before you start, you need to get a handle on some definitions:
Sales quota: This critical element of your plan sets the tempo of your efforts throughout the year and provides quarterly, monthly, weekly and even daily sub-goals for you to achieve.
Sales territory: Refers to the geographic area, list of named accounts or specific market niche you have been assigned to in which you are to sell your products, services and solutions.
Strategies: The plan necessary to accomplish your goal.
Tactics: The steps necessary to carry out the plan.
New Business Acquisition Strategies and Tactics
Include the following four strategies in your sales plan. Remember, these strategies are all designed to capture new customers and new market share. Important note: The strategies are numbered and the tactics are italicized.
1. Exceed my quota.
- Send no less than 50 letters of introduction to new prospects each week.
- Make no less than 50 cold calls of introduction to new prospects each week.
- Make no less than 20 face-to-face contacts with new prospects each week.
- Create no less than 10 proposals each week.
- Make no less than five presentations each week.
Important note: Your numbers will, of course, vary. What’s important here is that you calculate exactly how many contacts you’ll need to make in order to achieve your sales quota.
2. Increase awareness in the marketplace of my products, services and solutions.
- Join and participate in no less than three professional associations and organizations that my best prospects and customers belong to.
- Attend any and all trade shows and conventions that my best prospects and customers attend.
- Purchase the mailing list of these associations and organizations and send either a postcard or a letter of introduction.
- On a regular basis, contribute articles and white papers that address the interests and concerns of this population.
3. Increase awareness in the community of my products, services and solutions.
- Attend all Chamber of Commerce networking events.
- Volunteer to speak at no less than 12 various organizations in my territory that have an interest in my product, service and solutions.
- Volunteer my time at three nonprofit organizations.
- Join and participate in no less than three networking groups, such as Le Tip or Business Networking International.
4. Obtain referrals from all my new customers.
- Within 30 days of delivering my product, service or solution, I will ask each of my new customers for at least three names and phone numbers of someone they personally know who may have a use for my products, services and solutions.
Existing Customer Business Strategies and Tactics
Include the following two strategies in your sales plan. Remember, these strategies are designed to capture high-margin, add-on business from your existing customers. Important note: Here again, the strategies are numbered and the tactics are italicized.
1. Create a touch-point program.
- Contact each of my existing customers no less than once per month with a new idea they cannot get from anyone else.
- Create a noteworthy monthly newsletter.
- Create a user-group within my existing customer base.
- Create some sort of Web-based seminar series for my existing customers.
- Take at least three existing customers to lunch each month and invite a new prospect to join us.
2. Prospect within my existing customer base.
- Knock on no less than three new doors, departments and divisions within each of my existing customers’ businesses.
- Ask each of my existing customer contacts to introduce me to one other person within their organization.
- Personally meet the top executive at each of my existing customers’ businesses.
The Time Is Now
The final part of your sales plan must detail the timeline for implementation of each of the tactics in your sales plan. It’s best to show a week-to-week schedule.
Once you’ve created your sales plan, don’t file it away! Keep it handy and revisit it and revise it on a regular basis. Stay on track with your plan, and you’ll stay on quota.