Plan for Your Business's Growth with a Sales Plan

Picture of Gina Blitstein Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.

Plan for Your Business's Growth with a Sales Plan

Upon starting a business, you may think that the only “plan” you need is to open the doors and the sales will come rushing in. That mindset, however, falls short from what is really necessary for success: a well-considered, focused course of action. That course of action is a sales plan which provides your company a roadmap to profitability and growth. In case you’re currently operating without one, let’s explore how having a sales plan - rather than just open doors - could help your business thrive.

In basic terms, a sales plan is a blueprint outlining the business you hope to do monthly and the means by which you plan to obtain it. It takes into account previous sales data and current conditions including demand, market conditions, costs and the needs of both your present and potential customers. Combined, those factors provide the necessary intel to direct your efforts with purpose toward achievement of your projected sales. So rather than simply accepting the business you get, a sales plan provides a practical framework upon which to hang your sales efforts.

Devising your sales plan

A sales plan is extremely customizable. You determine your numbers and quantify your progress by whatever metrics you decide based upon your own business. To devise your business’ sales plan, consider the following:

  • Determine the metrics what will define your goal(s). Is it total number of customers, new customers, converted customers, hitting a desired net sales number, a percentage increase in net sales? Regardless of your goal, make it a reasonable, measurable quantity, specific to your unique business.
  • Follow progress along the way, not just at the end of the month. Set up smaller goals within your larger goal so that you can see if you’re moving in the right direction. These smaller sections with defined, shorter deadlines - or deliverables - should serve as limited-time snapshots of your goal’s progress. If adjustments need to be made along the way, your deliverables will let you know what’s working and what’s not so you can correct course. Check in with your employees frequently to collect feedback and to make certain they have what they need to execute their individual parts of the overall sales plan.
  • Keep your goals fresh and inspiring, yet realistic. Goal-setting is not a “set it and forget it” proposition. Most likely, it will prove to be a constant work in progress to continue to set goals that stretch toward growth yet remain reasonable and achievable. Utilize your past sales data along with industry data to keep your goals realistic.

Carrying out your sales plan

Once you’ve determined your sales plan, it’s time to implement it with consumers with whom you want to do business. Take these considerations under advisement:

  • Identify your business’s market. Rather than try to appeal to everyone, discover who your most likely customers would be and aim your marketing efforts toward them. Discover their demographics: Are they older, younger, bargain hunters, quality conscious, highly educated, blue collar? Where would they most likely learn about your business? Knowing these factors about your most-likely customers will help you devise marketing to appeal to them and their interests, making your efforts more concentrated and effective.
  • Appeal to your “ideal customer.” Consider what you offer that may appeal to your ideal customer, how to make him or her want to do business with you and how to close the deal. The next step is to locate people similar to your ideal customer in your community and others, businesses like yours, on social media… That’s your customer pool - that’s where you aim your marketing arrows!
  • Remember your existing customers. Demonstrating your gratitude for those who already patronize your business (via a loyalty program or customer appreciation gift) is a smart way to retain their business. Keeping an existing customer is considerably less costly than courting a new one.

Thoughtfully devising a sales plan for your business gives it direction and purpose. By implementing such a course of action, you’re making a concerted effort to understand the factors that influence sales and leverage them in the favor of your bottom line.

Does your business operate with a sales plan in place?

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