Sales plans are essential for any business that wants to make money and achieve their goals. But too often, sales plans are either non-existent or poorly executed. This is usually because they’re seen as being time-consuming and difficult to put together. However, with the right approach, creating a sales plan can be easy and even enjoyable! Here are 10 tactic steps to create a bulletproof sales plan template:

What is a Sales Plan Template

A sales plan template is a document that outlines the goals and objectives of a sales team or individual salesperson. The template typically includes sections on market analysis, target customers, sales strategies, and sales forecasts.

Tactic Steps to Create Bulletproof Sales Plan Templates

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1. Set realistic sales goals

Before we talk about how you’re going to make sales, let’s talk about goals.

Your sales template needs an end goal. You need to set a number—whether it be sales, customers, or another metric—that will help you determine the success of your plan. Without this key element, it’ll be difficult to track progress and make necessary changes along the way.

Setting achievable, yet challenging, goals for your team is one of the most important things you can do as a sales manager.

When you’re creating your first sales planning document, it’s normal to be wrong about some of your assumptions and projections. Be sure to update what needs to be updated when it’s time to update your document.

It’s important that you update and revise your sales processes as needed. That way, you can improve its effectiveness.

2. Define clear your deadlines and milestones 

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The only way to know for sure if your assumptions about your sales plan is on the right track is to break that large goal down into smaller goals with set timelines.

Sales milestones are points in your sales process where you check in to see if you met your quota.

Creating clear, attainable goals is essential for any successful sales process. These goals and their corresponding timelines should be challenging, yet realistic. They should be researched thoroughly and thoughtfully, and they should be created in a way that motivates your salespeople.

Start by taking a look at your previous year’s sales figures (if possible). Next, compare these numbers to industry averages to see how you stack up. This should give you an idea of how large of an increase you need to reach in order to hit your yearly goals.

Ask the members of your team about what they do during the workweek. Find out how many hours they devote to sales, prospecting, and closing deals. See if they have any free time during the week that they can dedicate to more tasks.

This will give real, front-line insight into setting your sales goals.

Next, set your goals and timelines. These should be very specific and should include a timeframe. That way, you can track your progress and make sure you are meeting your targets on time.

3. Choose a niche to focus on 

To build a sales template, first we need to understand the market we are in and what niche we want to occupy. This will allow us to position our business correctly for growth and success.

A business’ “niche” is the area it fills, not just with its products or services, but with its content, company culture, brand, and message. It defines how a company is perceived by customers and competitors alike.

As entrepreneur and investor, Jason Zuck, points out:n“When you try to be everything to everybody, you end up not being anything to anybody” Never do that.

Before you even ask a prospect to become your customer, add value to their lives.

The more exposure you can get in your particular niche, the more likely you are to hit your goals and targets in your business plan.

Focusing on a single niche market doesn’t mean you can’t grow your business. Start by focusing on just one product or service in your niche and then expand into a closely related market. This can help you gain better visibility and increase your chances of hitting your sales goals.

You can sell your handmade teacups, or you can start a doily empire.

Or customized spoons?

A niche market isn’t limiting. It’s focused.

4. Know Your Target Audiences

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Don’t waste your time or money pursuing bad opportunities. Don’t let them find their way into your pipeline.

Once you’ve identified your ideal client, it’s important to do as much research as possible on them.

So, what exactly should you include about your target customer in your business plan?

It depends on your business and your field, but start with some general details like number of employees, location, and the industry you work in. Also, include common traits of your top clients or the type of client you’d like to attract.

Don’t forget to consider whether they’ll be a good fit.

A sales lead qualification process helps your sales team figure out which customers are worth pursuing and which ones aren’t.

Once you’ve identified the types of companies you’d like to contact, start researching them. Find where they hangout online, what types of publications they read, and where they go to network.

Once you know where they spend their time, it’s time to understand what they care about. What are their pain points? What do they want to achieve? What do they value? What motivates them?

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes.

5. Mapping your Customer Journey

Finally, we have something to work with.

The next step is to map out how your customers become customers. You can do this by figuring out their client journey from a prospect to a loyal, repeat buyer.

So, what do you need to know before contacting your soon-to-be customers? Let’s ask them!

What do you want our product to do for you? This is the first and most important question to ask your soon-to-be customers. By understanding what they hope to gain from using your product, you can better design features and solutions that address their needs. Additionally, this question can help you gauge their level of interest and investment in your product.

What features are important to you? Why? It’s not enough to simply know what features your customers want; it’s also important to understand why those features are important to them. This information can help you prioritize which features to include in your product and how to best market those features to your target audience.

What’s your budget for this? Knowing your customer’s budget for this purchase will help you determine whether or not they are a serious buyer and how much wiggle room you have when it comes to negotiating price.

How are you currently solving this problem? This question can give you insights into your customer’s current pain points and how well they are currently coping with the problem at hand. If they are already using a competitor’s product, this question can also help you understand why they may be interested in switching to yours.

Sales plans should focus on more than just the present. By understanding a customer’s journey and past buying experiences, you can create a sales plan that meets their needs.

In your sales process, make sure you cover every stage of the customer lifecycle from initial contact to post-purchase.

6. Define Your Competitive Advantage

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We know how to help your customers. We know what problems they’re facing.

How can you best fit yourself into your competitive environment? This starts with understanding your competitive advantage.

What does your company offer that no one else does? What are the unique features of your product or service? How does your company go above and beyond for its customers? Answering these questions will help you to zero in on what makes your company special, which you can then use to craft a value proposition that resonates with potential customers.

Your competitive advantage is what sets you apart from the competition. Fully understanding and articulating your competitive advantage is a crucial element of your sales plan template.

Don’t focus on features, but on the value of your product.

Your unique selling proposition is what differentiates you from your competition. It’s what will drive your sales and success.

7. Build a Prospect List

Now that you’ve identified your ideal customer, it’s time to create a list to sell to at those companies.

A prospecting list is the part of our sales process where we take the research and theory from earlier sections and put it into practice.

A database of potential customers is the foundation of any successful sales strategy. This database can be time-consuming to build, but it’s absolutely critical.

Use your customer persona to find ideal customers:

To build up a list of potential sales targets, start by researching ideal customers. You can use tools like Linkedin, local networking groups and Google to find out more about your target company.

Focus on 5-10 people at each company.

By contacting more than one prospect, you increase your odds of reaching the right person. Also, by getting in touch with several people, you increase the chance that one of them will refer you to the person whom you’re trying to contact.

Once you have your lead list, it’s important to keep track of how you found each prospect. A CRM system can help you maintain historical information, prevent duplicate efforts if you are working as part of a sales team, and centralize your customer data.

8. Leverage Current Client Relationships in Your Sales Plan

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Ultimately, most SaaS businesses get 80% of their new business from their existing customer base. From word of mouth.

From a brand perspective, from word-of-mouth. Your clients can be a great source of new business, so make sure your sales process includes a strategy for building your client base through referrals from existing clientele.

Ask your LinkedIn connections to introduce you to any of their contacts who might benefit from your product or service. Or, ask some of your most loyal customers if they know of anyone that might need your assistance.

context is key. Leveraging current client relationships in your sales strategy plan is essential, but you need to be sure to do it in the right way. When asking for an intro, remember to consider the context of the situation.

9 Build a Relationship With Strategic Partners

You should include your partners in your sales process who sell to the same customer.

These complimentary services are not your direct competition, but they offer a service that complements yours.

If you’re trying to sell a point of sale system to local retailers, you can partner with groups like the CA Retail Assocation or well-respected business advisors. By working with these groups, you can build relationships and expand your customer reach.

By forming partnerships with these other groups, you can reach the same customers. By doing certain things, such as writing for publications, speaking at events, and providing resources, you can forge these partnerships.

Providing value to your community is a great way to grow a business. By providing value and helping others, you will attract others to send leads to you.

10. Track, measure, and adjust as needed.

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Just because you’ve created a foolproof business plan, doesn’t mean that you can sit back and relax. Remember that what Basecamp co-founder, and best-selling author, Jason Fried said: “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”

A plan is just a guess that you put down on paper.

You are trying to figure out what your ideal situation would be for your company. However, you likely won’t be able to see anything in the future when you look into a crystal ball.

Remember that your sales plan is not a static document, but rather a living, breathing one that should be adapted to changing circumstances, such as new marketing campaigns or team members.

Make a habit of going back over your guesses to see if they’re coming true.

Schedule a monthly meeting (or more frequently) with your team to discuss how things are going, what’s working, and what isn’t.

The best way to learn is by keeping track of your successes and failures. By continually monitoring, you can tweak your strategy as necessary.

Conclusion

If you follow these 10 tactic steps when creating your sales plan template, you’ll be sure to close more deals and reach your goals! Just remember to do your research, set realistic goals, and always believe in what you’re selling.


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Editors Note:

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Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
This post was generated for LeadFuze and attributed to Justin McGill, the Founder of LeadFuze.