Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How To Create A Sales Plan For Your Business?

Creating A Sales Plan.
If you are a business owner or are thinking about setting up your own company, you sure have endlessly heard people telling you about the need to write a business plan, prepare a marketing plan, but almost certainly, you haven’t yet heard anyone recommending you to at least develop a sales plan or a commercial project for your business.

But how come people don’t regularly talk about building a sales plan or a commercial project for your company when they refer to business management?

Usually because business owners think of "a sale" only as something that is achieved when somebody actually buys the product, pay for it, and don’t get to understand the concept on its broadest dimension.

And it’s precisely this superficial understanding of the sales process what pushes companies to focus almost exclusively on developing new customers as if it were the only way to grow their business.

What areas should be covered in your Sales Plan?

Areas of your sales plan.

The sales plan or commercial project of your business should include activities in the following areas:

  • Generation of brand new customers.
  • Maintaining and building loyalty among existing customers.
  • Upsell existing customers.
  • Generation of new customers through existing customers.
  • Follow up regularly to reactivate inactive prospects.
  • Recovery of lost customers.

Have you noticed something? ¡Yes! Generation of brand new customers is just one of six areas covered on (or should be covered on) your sales plan. What happens then? The thing is that we like to make our lives more difficult and we assume that business can only survive if they generate new business on an ongoing basis.

Did you know the cost of generating a brand new customer is much higher than that of keeping them happy, get more sales from them or even higher than the cost of asking for referrals?

And it has been proven that the cost of recovering a lost customer is much higher than any other costs associated with your customers. Do you know why?

Simply because you’ve got to win back their confidence as they don’t want to do business with you again, you’ve to make a stronger effort to convince them to come back, make sure things will be different if they do, and unfortunately all of this is very difficult to achieve in most cases.

So, what do you need to do to start up your commercial project or sales plan?

Ok, now you know it’s not only about generating brand new customers and you are ready to make it all happen. It’s then time to roll up your sleeves and implement actions needed to make your sales plan work.

Which are those actions?

What you need to consider within your sales plan.

  • You must organize all the information you’ll need for your customers: All platforms through which you reach out to your customer must be ready: social networks, website, blog, product literature, catalogs, collateral materials, etc.. You don’t have to have them all, but the more sugar, the sweeter.
  • Through what channels you want to reach your customers? There are many available options, out of which I will mention just a few:
    • Advertising to attract customer to your store or office.
    • Through community or networking events.
    • Reaching out them through sales representatives.
    • Using telemarketing or direct mail to send out information about the company.
    • Email marketing campaigns.
    • Social media and digital channels.
  • How will you keep track and follow up on all contacts made? If you notice, of the 6 areas I mentioned above, 5 are associated with current clients or business contacts, which means you have (if you want) full access to all customer-related information and have the possibility to explore further opportunities with each of them.

And following up regularly with actual customers, whether they are active or not, is certainly the most ignored area on almost all sales plans or commercial projects and by the majority of companies, just because they tend to concentrate only on developing new customers, and not that much in nurturing relationships with actual customers and contacts to get the most benefit out of them.

Keeping in touch with all your customers through customer relationship management platforms (CRM) or the contact management venue of your choice, will allow you to engage with them, increase their loyalty therefore increase the volume of business they do with you, get referrals or simply discover new business opportunities through your existing database, and those are fundamental elements on any sales plan or commercial project.

What do you think you could add to build a more complete sales plan for your business?

Related articles in this blog:
Cold Calling Sales (Part I): Where Can You Start From?
I recommend reading:
Guidelines To Create A Sales Plan (in Spanish)

1 comment:

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