The best strategies are well planned, whether they relate to sales, marketing, operations or any other aspect of the business. With effective sales planning, you can win more leads and achieve high sales performance across the team. Here, we look at five essential sales planning tips to help reach your business objectives and maximise performance.
5 sales planning tips
- Customer profiles
- Data insights
- Templates and scripts
- Own your expertise
- Performance tracking
1) Keep customer profiles
Reviewing past performance and diving deeper into the specifics of your clients will help inform your sales planning. Start by asking important questions about your customer base. These include who spends the most money, makes repeat purchases, has the shortest sales cycle and is easy to work with.
While you won’t always be able to sell to your perfect customer, having a profile of them offers clarity to your sales team. Find the prospects who are most likely to convert and build your sales planning around them. The result should be better team efficiency as sales reps can focus their efforts on the right type of persona.
2) Let data offer an agile approach
The best sales planning incorporates data and contain quantitative information and analysis. Consequently, every decision in your sales team is based on tangible insights, whether it’s information about a specific lead or the behavioural impact of your target audience.
Using data to drive your planning will help identify the best opportunities for growth. It will also ensure the right solutions and resources are in place to execute sales to a high level. Trusted data also allows for increased flexibility, as sales leaders can make real-time decisions and pivot the plan if the data calls for course corrections.
3) Don’t write off templates and scripts
Instead of focusing on one superstar sales rep who boosts the numbers, work on creating stellar materials designed to help your team succeed. Think about how you approach cold calling, elevator pitches, cold email templates, presentation decks, and draft templates that your team can follow.
Then get to work at honing it and improving, so it becomes a watertight template easily used by your sales reps. With these materials, they can get to work turning prospects into customers and using your scripts and templates as the basis of their pitch.
4) Own your expertise
Markets are competitive, no matter what you’re selling and where you’re selling it. Therefore, you should aim to own your niche and propel your business to the status of a thought leader in your industry. This approach will help others see you in a good light as they begin to think of you as an innovator.
Content marketing might not provide direct sales, but it plays a vital role in the process of solidifying your company and building trust. It functions at the beginning of the funnel, generating awareness and getting people intrigued about your offerings. Therefore, it should form part of your overall sales planning.
5) Prioritise performance tracking
It’s unrealistic to expect instant results when you’re just starting the sales journey. But recording every aspect of the strategy and having a reference point can help you improve and reach targets over time.
Everything you do should be recorded, with the outcomes scrutinised to see where you can innovate. Key performance indicators are necessary to measure progress and arrive at the intended result. Measure phone activity on sales calls, open and click rates on email sends, lead conversion rate – all of these factors contribute to better long-term performance across the sales team.
Summary: sales planning like a pro
The famous line goes, “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail’. With the right sales planning, however, you won’t need to worry about your business missing out on targets. Use it to build a robust plan that informs decisions about your sales pipeline. The end result will be an improved sales process that leads to higher conversions and improved revenues.