A sales plan is a strategy that sets out sales targets and tactics for your business, and identifies the steps you will take to meet your targets.
- define a set of sales targets for your business
- choose sales strategies that are suited to your target market
- identify sales tactics for your sales team
- activate, motivate and focus your sales team
- budget and clarify steps you’ll take to achieve your targets
- review your goals periodically and improve your approaches to sales.
A sales plan sits within, or alongside, a marketing plan to direct the efforts of your sales team.
Most businesses develop or update sales plans periodically – every 6 or 12 months. Treat your sales plan as a ‘living’ document that you can revise regularly.
This guide explains the importance of having a sales plan, and will help you develop, implement and review your business’s sales plan.
Using market research to increase sales
Understanding your market is your first step to developing a good sales plan. To understand your market you will need to carry out market research.
An effective sales plan relies heavily on market research.
Summarise your business’s target market segments. Describe:
- your target market segments
- the types of people in that market
- the numbers in each market segment
- segment classifications according to previous sales volume or potential sales volume.
Based on your market research, explain:
- why there is a demand for what you’re selling
- your current market position – including any strengths, weaknesses, opportunities or threats
- your competitors’ strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats.
Your sales plan might also include market research about emerging or forecasted trends in your chosen market.
Using your marketing plan
Marketing is positioning your business’s reputation in a way that ideally matches your chosen market’s needs and wants.
Your marketing plan will help you:
- define and build your chosen business reputation
- increase your customers’ awareness of your ability to meet their needs
- communicate with your customers in the way that increases your customers’ opinion of and reliance on your business.
Your marketing plan will influence your approach to sales from strategy to point of sale.
Make a list of assumptions to describe the facts or beliefs that influence your sales plan, such as the:
- number of customers you expect to retain
- capabilities of your competitors
- amount of competition you have
- resources required to continue your operations
- costs of materials and labour.
Your periodical sales plan reviews will allow you to consider whether your assumptions remain relevant over time. If you find your assumptions have changed, it might also be time to make changes to your sales plan.