If you’re a small business owner, it can feel like everything is important. So much falls on your shoulders. To streamline and focus on the things that matter, consider the 80/20 rule. You may know the 80/20 rule from dieting where you can each have chocolate or have ice cream 20% of the time… however, it also relates to business in that 20% of what you do each day generates 80% of your business.
What makes up that 20% of your business, you might ask?
It’s these 5 areas: foundations, leads, conversions, transactions, and profits. Each section has strategies where small improvements can make HUGE changes.
Now, if you’re looking at your business and you’re having trouble closing sales, it would be a good time to look at strategies to increase your conversions. To do so, I would suggest starting with your sales process and developing a sales plan.
Let’s take a look at what that means.
What is a Sales Plan?
A sales plan is a blueprint to set specific sales goals. Whether you’re a solopreneur or have a team, you can use this plan to review goals on a consistent weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly time periods.
When you have a sales plan, you can compare your profit and loss sheet and your gross income to see how close you are to reaching your goals each month. With a sales plan, you can tweak and change your activities to match and meet your monthly sales goals. In addition, a sales plan helps you and your sales team stay on task and focused on achieving your sales goals.
Why is a Sales Plan Important?
A sales plan is critical to help a business drive sales and navigate risks. You can easily see where your business is financially and project where you can reach with client income for the next month to end-of-year. For your sales plan to be effective, you should include realistic goals and break down your goals into mini-goals to build those small wins.
Your sales plan is an integral part of your business and a vital tool to track your sales, future expectations, commission structure, and the next move you want to make in your business. Sales plans can also drive your digital marketing campaign and show you which campaigns are making the biggest splash and what part of your digital marketing you may want to ditch.
How to Create a Sales Plan for Your Business
This doesn’t need to be a lengthy document. Sales plans come in all shapes and sizes. For some companies a one-page sales plan with bulleted items will work well while others may need to dive more into process and give more detail. The first thing you’ll want to do is determine the focus:
- Revenue-based: if you’re looking to grow your revenue, you’ll want a plan that has detailed information on sales forecasting and conversion and close rates.
- Target Market: when selling to markets that are extremely different, you’ll want different plans that include sales strategies that reach the markets differently.
- New Product: a launch sales plan would include a product value proposition and new sales materials that help the team sell this product. It may also include strategic partnerships and community or grassroots efforts.
Regardless of what it looks like, you’ll want to:
- Define your sales goals and milestones of success, including sales matrics that matter most to you (for example, conversion time, conversion rate, customer lifetime value, retention rates, annual or monthly recurring revenue). Include specific targets and deadlines.
- Clearly define the target customer or niche. Here, you’ll want to understand your market to better serve them. How do they like to be reached (by phone, email, mail, text, in-person), where do they hang out already?, what/who do they already trust?, what are their buying habits?
- Map out your customer journey and how your sales process matches (touches) your customers as they progress through the process. Consider authentic touchpoints at each stage including awarenes > interest > consideration > intent > purchase > post-sale
- Organize your sales team (even if it’s just you!). Are people working alone or together? The sales process needs to match the customer journey.
- Understand your sales tools. How are you tracking leads, documenting process, assuring engagement, and tracking success?
- Build a prospect list through google search, chamber of commerce member lists, LinkedIn profiles, networking events and meetups, etc.
- Adjust your plan as needed! Just because you have a great sales plan written down doesn’t mean it will work as intended. Continued learning and updating what works and what doesn’t is a key to a successful sales plan. So don’t let this thing gather dust! Use it and revise it.