How to design a Sales Plan?

by Mauricio Romero Mauricio Romero | Aug 16, 2019 11:01:00 AM

 

design a sales plan

From an entrepreneur to the commercial area of a company, everyone needs an efficient sales plan to market their products, services and value of what they do. In this article, you'll find some useful ideas to better design a sales plan, one that will actually helps you meet your sales goals.

What is a sales plan?

A sales plan is a document that describes the strategy that will be followed to market a company's offer, product or service, in a differentiated and segmented way, according to a target client.

This plan should describe the goals that are set and processes that will be carried out in order to achieve these goals and successfully place your offer in the market.

It's very similar to a business plan, what makes it different from it, is that in a sales plan, we focus only on the commercial aspect of the strategy.

Aspects that a Successful Sales Plan Should Consider

1. Target Buyer (Buyer Persona)

The first step that you always need to take, is to discover the type of person who would be interested in buying what you do. From a very practical point of view, you need to ask yourself this question:

What kind of person would benefit from buying my solution? 

Based on the answers given to this question, you then must create a profile of your target buyer or as we call it, your buyer persona. This model profile shows the main personality traits, problems, objectives and desires of your clients. Using this profiles, you should better understand the reasons why he would buy your product or service. It should also help you learn:

  • Where is he located?
  • To which media us he exposed to?
  • How does he take a buying decision?

This profile will be the basic information from which the segmentation of your ideal clients, those that you want to reach with your offer, will be done.

A Sales Plan aims to place a message in front of the right person, the one that has a problem that your company can solve, so you can then provide him with the information that he needs in order to move forward in his buying decision.

We call this road of buying decisions that a client takes, Buyer's Journey.

Leads Generation

Following this process we are able to turn a stranger into a visitor, a visitor into a lead, a lead into a qualified prospect, a qualified prospect into a client and a -satisfied- client into a promoter of our solution, brand, product or service. We call this process a Lead Generation process.

The objective to the whole process is to have the prospect move forward in his buying decision until he becomes a client.

What is a lead or a prospect? 

A Lead or a Prospect is a person who has shown interest in the solution that you offer. Whether he visited your shop, made a phone call, downloaded or filled in information from your website. There has been non or little contact with a sales person at this point.

The natural process of a lead, and that your sales and marketing teams should understand, is based on:

  • Understanding his need
  • Knowing ways to help him
  • Offering our solutions and getting him interested on them
What is a Qualified Lead? 

A Qualified Lead is a prospect with whom we've already started a conversation and thus, we:

  • Have understood his needs
  • Know we can actually help him
  • Know he fits in the buyer persona profile that we had previously designed

So, in all, the three elements from which we build our plan are:

  1. Lead Generation strategy
  2. Buyer persona
  3. Buyer's journey

2. Revenue Target

The revenue target must be designed from the bottom of the funnel to the top. We must ask ourselves how many products do we need to sell in order to cover our operation expenses and also have a profit margin for our company.

Based on those numbers, we should then calculate te conversion rate from prospect to client. By doing so, we'll be able to know how many prospects do we need to have so we get one client.

In other words, if I have 10 Qualified Leads and from those 10, only one buys from me, then my conversion rate is of a 10%.

So, based on this conversion rate, I now know that if I need 10 new clients per month, I must have 100 leads per month.

  • Target- 10 new clients per month
  • Conversion rate-10%
  • 10 x 10= 100
  • Leads per month= 100

Finally, you must calculate the conversion rate from visitors to leads as well. Following our example, if your conversion rate from visitors to leads is of a 10% and you need to get 100 new leads per month, you will need to attract 1,000 visitors to your sales funnel. Leaving us with:

  • 1,000 Visitors (10% Conversion rate)
  • 100 Leads (10% Conversion rate)
  • 10 Clients

This is how you'll be able to calculate the effort that you need to apply in your marketing channels so you can reach your visitors target and attract that specific number of visitors.

3. Marketing Strategy

The Marketing strategy is based on combining those elements or tools that will turn your offer into an attractive one. I personally have always liked to go back to the basics of Marketing Theory when referring to these elements:

The Theory of the 4 P's

The 4 P's being:

  • Price
  • Product
  • Promotion
  • Place

When you start designing your sales plan, the price and the product are already identified and established. You must then consider as the main core of designing a sales plan, to identify where will your offer be placed and where will the message be promoted/advertised.

We here offer two main strategies for this: Push and Pull

Push 

Its in its name: Push is based on pushing the product through your distribution channels. That is, finding a way for the place where the product is going to be distributed, to help you sell it. An example of these strategy is offering the distribution channel:

  • A good income margin
  • Training
  • Support with sales material
  • Commission to sellers

In exchange of having them help you sell more.

Pull 

As the name says it, you must pull people towards your distribution channel. Marketing Strategies here include:

  • Mass media advertising
  • Digital advertising (online)

So your buyer personas receive the message and approach to your distribution channels.

I here share with you this great article about the different means where you can publicize your product or service in order to attract new prospects:

Advertising Strategies

4. Action Plan

It's where you must keep a record of:

  • The target you want to reach,
  • The effort, campaign or deliverable, that will make it happen,
  • The estimated time for it to happen,
  • The person or area responsible for it to happen. Whether it's your marketing or sales staff.

Example

You want increase your numbers from 10 to 15 new customers per month (target).

This is a 50% growth that represents an investment of x amount of money during a period of time of 3 months in order to reach it.

In order to achieve this, you must attract 100 new qualified prospects per month who will be first qualified/segmented by the marketing department and will later be accepted -or rejected- as a qualified lead by the sales department.

So, to get these 100 new prospects, the marketing department (responsible) must send the message to 1,000 visitors by means of the following actions (campaign / deliverable):

  1. 30% Digital Marketing (Blog, PPC, Social Media)
  2. 20% Mass Media (TV, radio, press)
  3. 10% Visits to shop (Increase traffic via nearby billboards and showcase display design)
  4. 10% PR event
  5. 30% Sales Department campaigns at distribution channels (Material at sales point, training and commisions for sales people at shop and the design of a stand)

This is how Marketing know where will the 1,000 visits come from, visists that must be registered and handed down to the sales department. Sales department must then classify/qualify these visitors and convert them into closed sales (responsible parties).

5. Budget

Last, you must estimate the cost of each one of the efforts made so you create a costs budget. This budget must show the ROI that your company would receive in return so you can consider the whole project worthwhile and viable.

Example:

  • Investment in media- $5,000
  • Visitors that this media generates per month- 200
  • Leads it generates per month- 20
  • New clients per month- 2
  • Sales average- $15,000.00
  • Total of sales- $30,000.00
  • Campaign margin- $30,000- $5,000= $25,000

These exercise should show the amount and percentage that you would make as a profit.

Hands on!

Following these 5 steps, you'll be able to create a Sales Plan in detail, one that shows your tactics on:

  • How will the sales goals will be achieved
  • The ROI of the project


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