Sales Planning: Setting the Stage for Business Growth

Establishing a plan for business growth in the coming year requires thoughtful planning. An objective review of your sales strategy and tactics, and building a sales plan are a key to the success of your business.

We offer some tips on what to contemplate when building a sales strategy recognizing that as your year unfolds, the strategy and goals may change. The sales metrics and milestones you establish should be reviewed throughout the year to ensure they remain relevant to your overall company goals and to the changing environment.

Budget: People + Dollars
Achieving your growth goals in the coming year can be accomplished depending upon how much you can invest and the milestones you establish along the way. Building a budget that allocates money and people to your sales strategy are key elements of a viable sales plan.

Allocating a percentage of your revenue to marketing is essential to support your sales process, build your brand and ensure your sales people have the resources they need to feed their pipelines.

Sales Pipeline – Evaluating Your Ideal Customer
Take a look at your current customers and identify who are the best, the most loyal and the characteristics that make them the most profitable. Understanding your ideal customer is integral to building a pipeline of new customers that will help you and your team achieve your growth objectives. Your deal flow will depend upon maintaining a robust pipeline of prospects and ensuring the right resources are assigned to a potential customer based on complexity, size, etc.

Targeting Your Customers
The business intelligence you gain from evaluating your ideal customer will also assist in crafting the messaging that will resonate with your target audience and ensure your content is compelling and educational. Your marketing strategy should incorporate this intelligence to ensure the appropriate data is used and the right channels are leveraged to generate leads.

Sales Goals
Establishing sales goals has been found to enhance motivation and achievement (See Harvard Article). However, setting activity goals, i.e., the number of conversations and touch points per day or week, that allow for actionable management along the way. While it’s important to have a sales and a revenue goal in order to understand the overall growth objectives of the company, breaking it down into activity goals will help your sales people better achieve their overall targets.

  • Calculate sales conversation rate. Divide the number of deals won with the number of deals initiated. If you make 40 calls to different prospects and make two sales, then your close ratio is 5% (2/40=0.05).
  • Calculate the number of calls, emails and/or meetings you need to make your current conversation rate work. With a 5% close rate, it takes 20 calls to have one sale and 40 calls for two sales.

Establishing daily, weekly and monthly activity goals will help your sales team better focus on the activities in which they need to engage to close deals rather than on the final target.

Sales Process
As you map out your sales strategy, you must take a critical view of the sales process itself:

  • What are you doing to generate qualified leads?
  • Do you have a process to actually close the type of customer and the number you need to reach your goals?
  • Is the process properly communicated out to not only your sales team, but also any ancillary teams so they can leverage opportunities with existing clients and are prepared for coming growth?
  • Are the needs in the various markets you serve properly communicated back to you so adjustments can be made in your plan to ensure your growth objectives are achieved?

Successful customer acquisition also requires understanding where customers and prospects may fall between the cracks. This will help you allocate the right resources and better communicate expectations.

[Learn the 5 essential sales planning tips to profitability] 

Next Steps
TGG can help you prioritize your budgeting and forecasting to ensure you achieve your growth goals. Schedule a consultation to see how we can help you plan for growth.

Let’s guide your success together.

  • This post was reviewed by our team of accounting and financial experts. TGG’s mission is to make business owners’ lives better through excellent financial management. We strive to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on accounting-related topics so our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All posts undergo a review process with at least one member of our Leadership Team to ensure accuracy.

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