Sales plans are documents created to manage sales activities and goals, usually over a set period of time. Sales plans can be used to plan the learning activities of a new sales employee or to monitor the progress of an existing employee. Sales plans should be specific to the individual. If the salesperson handles more than one territory or more than one product line, it may be necessary to create a sales plan for each area. Sales plans are most effective when monitored regularly. At the end of the plan period, review the plan's success and create a document for the next planning period.
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Determine the time frame for which you are planning. This may vary based on the tenure of the employee, the average sales cycle for your industry and your company's fiscal year.
Set overall performance goals for the plan period. These goals may involve actual sales activities, such as placing a new product with 15 clients, increasing territory sales by 10 per cent or gaining initial meetings with three prospective clients. They may also include non-sales functions. Some examples: Become familiar with a product's technical specifications or complete a training class.
Create a plan of action for each goal. Set down each specific activity or step you will execute to achieve the goal. Also list barriers to achieving the goal as well as a plan for overcoming those hindrances. Assign each goal a time frame. When necessary and useful, set intermediate deadlines for achieving specific tasks.
Identify how meeting the plan's goals will benefit the company, the territory and the salesperson. Include information such as gaining a portfolio-boosting client, entering a new marketplace or increasing profitability.
Tips and warnings
- Leverage the strengths, skills and personality of each salesperson when creating a plan.
- Set measurable goals and activities such as "Increase Client Y's sales by £19,500" rather than "Grow Client Y's business."
- Never promise what you know you cannot deliver.
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