Creating a Sales Plan for a Small Business

Business strategy is the foundation of your current and future success. Whether you are focusing on a new sales plan or looking to improve your accounting practices, it’s essential to start with a solid strategy that will move your company in a proven direction.

You can search online and find many opinions and recommendations regarding the ways you need to improve your business. But nothing beats the personalized recommendations that come from a trusted advisor. Looping in experts to help with the professional services needed for your company is one of the fastest ways to leverage your efforts.

First Business Plan… Then Sales Plan

Whether you are putting the finishing details on your new business plan, or you’ve been running a successful company and you want to expand sales – it’s essential that you’ve dialed in your business plan to the current and future needs of your organization. A business plan sets the vision, giving you the “north star” guidance needed to direct decisions and other details of running your company.

Once the business plan is in place, then you can start moving forward with other activities that will launch your business in the right direction. Not only do you need to focus on the sales plan, but you also need to look at other factors that will influence your business efforts, such as employee management, financial strategies, tax preparation, inventory flow, and more.

The business plan is the foundation of your vision for the future. Then, the individual plans in various categories within your company are the details that move you in the right direction. For example, your sales plan should point back to the business plan. But it’s a separate document that dials in on a portion of your company: how the sales department operates. The business plan looks at the big picture while the sales plan focuses in on the objectives for your sales efforts.

The truth is that a business plan and sales plan are closely linked. To put it simply, here is how you can distinguish the difference between a business plan and sales plan:

  • Business Plan: The business plan focuses on WHAT – it creates the direction the company needs.
  • Sales Plan: The sales plan implements the HOW – steps that need to be followed to achieve the vision outlined in the business plan. A sales plan is the execution, including the ongoing strategies to increase sales of products and services. A sales plan gets more into the day-to-day activities that are needed to help the business go where it wants to go, based on the guidance outlined in the business plan.

What is a Sales Plan?

Designing a sales plan means that you are governing how to move forward with selling more products and services. This is the “bible” of your sales department – the direction that helps to bring in more sales and add to the bottom line. A sales plan covers important points, such as:

  • Operations of the sales department
  • Identifying and improving sales objectives
  • Selecting target demographics
  • Steps to achieve sales goals
  • Focuses on the priorities of the business
  • Sales team training
  • Overall business sales strategy
  • Tracks measurements to determine the success of sales strategies
  • Financial support and management needed for the sales department

Even though a sales plan is created for the sales department specifically, this plan also needs to address the inter-related nature of working with other departments within the company. For example, communication with accounting and bookkeeping is a critical factor in tracking spending and managing the sales and marketing budgets.

Why You Need a Sales Plan

Why does it matter if you have a sales plan in addition to your business plan? This sales plan keeps your sales department on track. The plan looks at numbers that need to be met to hit specific targets and ensure that company directives are met. Without the focus that a sales plan brings, you can expect that your numbers will fall short each year.

Keep in mind that a sales plan doesn’t mean you can avoid all issues or obstacles. It’s inevitable that you will run into problems along the way. Instead, this plan accounts for potential roadblocks along the way. Then, you have a specific strategy in place for overcoming these issues and getting back on track as quickly as possible. A good sales plan looks at a variety of potential outcomes, helping you navigate anything that might happen in the future.

How to Create a Sales Plan

Before starting on your sales plan, you must have a solid business plan in place. So, if you haven’t put in the work to write your business plan, then you should focus on that step first. Then, you can get started with your sales plan by following these tips:

  • Choose Realistic Sales Goals: While it might sound amazing to increase your sales by 1000% year over year, it’s important to be realistic in the gals that you are setting. These milestones need to be achievable, considering what the sales department will be able to do within a year. It’s smart to break these goals into deliverables, while always looking at the numbers to see how it will play out. For example, deliverables might be 100 leads, which you know is likely to convert to 10 sales. The specific numbers vary from one industry to the next, which is why it is smart to track your numbers – then you can create moderately difficult sales goals that are achievable but still push the team outside their comfort zones.
  • Systemize Using Proven Tools: The more you include manual calculations in your processes, the higher likelihood for error. Plus, manual tracking cuts into the time that your sales team could be spending on generating new leads. Automation is critical in everything, giving you solid data that shows your current progress and the history of your company. It can be helpful to use CRM tools and project management strategies, with a weekly and monthly practice of looking at the reports. If possible, find tools that can also be integrated with other systems you are using within your company, such as your accounting and bookkeeping software.
  • Train Staff Members: Your sales plan won’t be worth a dime if your staff members don’t know how to implement the right strategies and practices. Ongoing training is a great way to bring your sales department up to speed, then maintain the momentum needed to keep your efforts moving forward. Teaching your team to be good sales people means that they are constantly improving their skills – which brings more revenue into your company. Not only should training be focused on individual skills and efforts, but it’s also important to have a team-focused initiative as well.
  • Writing the Document: You need to have a written version of your sales plan, so there is no question about how these strategies apply to your company. Make sure to define the sales objectives within this document. Have a detailed explanation about your current situation, as well as strategies and steps that will be followed to meet your objectives in the future. List out the specific requirements that need to be met along the way, including a plan of action so people know where to start.
  • Identifying Responsibilities: One weak point within the company is the risk of people assuming that others are carrying the responsibility. For you to have a dynamic team, you need a group who are managing their individual responsibilities while working within the construct of the team. You might consider mapping out these responsibilities within the sales plan to identify which job position is responsible for which deliverables.
  • Look at Sales History: It can be powerful to see the history of sales data in previous years. Charting growth over time means that you can see where you’ve been and weak points that need to be addressed. You can’t change the current circumstances without first knowing where you are starting.

While there are best practices for creating a sales plan, don’t assume that there is a one-size-fits-all solution for every business. The best thing that you can do is consider the unique needs and requirements within your company. Then, map out a plan that moves you forward to reach your highest levels of achievement in the future.

Accounting Support for Your Small Business

As you are creating systems for your sales plan, it might also be a great opportunity to consider other systems and support within your company. There’s no reason why you should be spending your time on busy work and data entry. Instead, prioritize your responsibilities so you are working on the tasks that will move your company forward in the future.

We’re here to offer the support you need for accounting and bookkeeping. Together, we can create a budget that matches your sales plan, ensuring the money is flowing each month to bring in the cash needed for future marketing efforts.

If you are looking for accounting and bookkeeping support, then Easier Accounting is just a phone call away! We invite you to contact us so you can learn more about the available accounting services for your small business: (888) 620-0770.

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