A sales strategy plan is your strategic approach to winning new customers plus developing and retaining existing customers. It also outlines in detail your sales goals and objectives for the period it covers including all the major marketing or sales tactics to be used. To create real, lasting growth for your business, you need to create your own grand sales strategy plan and then make it happen.
The plan will outline in detail the who, where, why, when and how that will guide all your sales efforts for the period ahead. While your sales strategy plan should identify what your business will do differently to achieve the sales goals, it should also consider your capabilities. Capabilities such as the skills required, knowledge and the processes to carry out the plan. A plan without building these capabilities will struggle to achieve the desired results.
Your sales strategy plan may be sound, but ask yourself, do you have the capability to make it work? Do your salespeople need to learn new approaches to prospecting, selling or relationship building. Does marketing have the budgets, skills and processes to deliver their side of the plan? Before you start writing your sales strategy plan, think about your company’s current position and existing situation. Then ask what capabilities will be critical to achieving the results you are planning for. Next you need to identify how you will acquire, create and strengthen the relevant capabilities even if you have to begin implementing some aspects of the sales plan in advance.
Sales Strategy Plan Overview
Begin with sales planning, this documents the sales, plans and measurements that will allow your business to achieve the targets. The measurements will help you make decisions and adjust along the way. With the right sales plan in place, you have taken the 1st step in improving your chances of success.
Budgeting. Ensure that you have allocated enough resources (salespeople, marketing and money) to hit the business goals for time ahead. Marketing budgets always depend on how much you have available to spend or how quickly you plan to get results.
The Market. Understand the trends, players, industry, forecasts, challenges and opportunities for the coming period.
Target Selection. The sales strategy plan as to who you will go after, sell more to the same, sell something new to the same, sell what we have to new customers or even selling something new to a new set of customers. Target selection should be set with consideration of your capabilities.
Profiles and Buying Committees. Understand who you sell to and how they make purchasing decisions. Review your best customers and identify the things that make them want to business with you. Ensure your ideal customer profiles in your target selections are accurate. For new sets of prospects, update them to reflect the kinds of buyers who you can acquire to reach your sales goals.
A good starting point is to ask yourself questions such as.
The purpose of the business is for what?
How effective is your current sales activity?
What are the market trends shaping your industry?
How strong is your sales skills across the team?
What is your current market position (new, disrupter, cost leader etc)?
A Strategy Plan for Customer Engagement
Customer engagement is where you define how the sales team selects and engages with prospects and alongside the plans for existing customers. Depending on target selection you again need to consider your capabilities especially if are placing a higher emphasis on acquiring new customers or selling new products. The sales process you have included in your sales strategy plan must match the how buyers move from initial interest (inbound, outbound, meetings, events, cold calling, social selling, roadshows etc) into a buying decision.
Sales Pipeline. What is the current pipeline and forecast plus projections on how fast you will need to fill the pipeline with real qualified sales opportunities to hit sales targets.
Sales Resources. Determine the right mix, sales skills, location, type and numbers of salespeople you will need plus draw up the organizational chart. Is your go to market plan to have direct, inside, channel sales etc?
Document Your Buyer’s Journey. Armed with your updated customer profiles, personas and market knowledge, document the journey each buyer will take toward becoming a paying customer. Plot out the sales process, customer touch points, marketing content, social media interaction, social selling etc your target selection profiles will have.
Territory or Segment Plan. Take into consideration sales cycles, customer engagement requirements and salesperson productivity to make the numbers work.
Individual Target Setting. Bring the customer engagement plan together by linking the budgets, objectives, targets and resources to individual salesperson targets.
Sales Strategy Plan Support Capabilities
This is about matching your sales support capabilities in your sales strategy plan so you can help improve the effectiveness of the sales team and make doing business with your company easier. It focuses on how you want salespeople to spend their time including reducing non-selling activity and streamlining other processes in the sales cycle. With sales operations or sales transformation, you want to improve the work of the team through process, technology, KPI’s, metrics and best practices. What sales training, tools and internal systems will make it easier for customers to interact with your business.
Sales support as part of the sales strategy plan should try to include how to continually improve the efficiency of the sales team. How you plan to increase revenue per salesperson while speeding up ramp time for new hires. The goal is to be a company that it is easy to interact with, easy to buy from and for salespeople – easy to sell for. So, to create a sales strategy plan enables everyone to understand the unique selling points, in identifying the target market and customer profiles, developing the value propositions, and selecting the right sales channels to engage clients. The outcome is a sales engine with a clear focus on the optimal way to create and close sales opportunities.
Documenting your complete sales strategy plan is a real and tangible part of your growth plans which removes the elements of hope or luck.