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What Is Sales Planning and Why Do It?

posted by Michael Epps Utley Michael Epps Utley
What Is Sales Planning and Why Do It

Every business wants to sell more.

However, not every business has a plan for sales success.

This guide explains what a sales plan is and why every business must have one.

What to Know About Sales Plans

What Is a Sales Plan?

A sales plan lays out and documents your sales objectives and goals, key tactics, target audiences, and obstacles to success. It's similar to a business plan but focuses exclusively on sales strategy. The two relate because a business plan lays out your goals, while a sales plan explains how you will realize them.

Why Do You Need a Sales Plan?

A sales plan provides clarity and direction for your sales team. It should include information on everything needed to sell effectively, including the business's target customers, revenue goals, sales team structure, marketing, customer service integration, and the tactics and resources needed to achieve sales objectives.

What Is the Purpose of a Sales Plan?

Your sales plan should help your business accomplish four critical things.

1. Communicate Sales Goals and Objectives

Having goals and objectives is essential for sales success. You can‘t know what you are trying to achieve or measure progress to success if you haven’t defined your goals.

The people on your sales team must clearly understand what’s expected of them. You can’t just say: “Sell!” You need to define and communicate clear benchmarks that are challenging but achievable. And if you need to change them, a sales plan allows you to document and share the shifts with your team.

2. Provide Direction

Your sales strategy governs your sales process. It includes actionable steps your salespeople must take to realize the goals you set. A sales plan provides a way to communicate those steps to them. For example, it can define and explain when to leverage email versus cold calling, along with appropriate messages to use with each.

No matter what sales tactics you use, a carefully structured sales plan will give your reps a clear vision of what they need to do to succeed. A good sales plan is a critical contributor to more cohesive, effective sales efforts across the team.

3. Outline Roles and Responsibilities

The best sales organizations are machines, where each part serves a specific function executed in a defined way. A solid plan allows everyone involved in selling to have a clear understanding of how they play into the broader sales strategy.

Defining roles and responsibilities as part of the sales planning process results in more efficient task delegation, improved collaboration, elimination of redundancy, and increased accountability. All of this will pay off in a more streamlined, smooth, successful sales process.

4. Monitor Progress Toward Sales Goals

Sales planning sets the foundation for figuring out how well your team is progressing toward achieving your sales goals. When done correctly, it lays out benchmarks and milestones reps can use to see how their performance stacks up against sales objectives and management expectations.

It also provides company leaders with a clear view of how well a sales organization is functioning at any time. They have the information needed to make the most of what’s working and course correct what isn’t before it’s too late.

Get Planning!

Now that you know what a sales plan is and the value it provides, start building yours using the information in this guide.

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