8 Ideas to Develop a Successful Sales Plan

6 min read

You finished out a great Q4 and now it’s time to hit the ground running in Q1. Most companies have likely already set a sales plan, but it’s never too late to re-examine the way that you’ve created yours, and how it can be improved.

Below are eight sales plan ideas to ensure that this year’s numbers surpass last years and that you hit all of your company’s goals. Once you're done going over the ideas below, take the time to learn how to develop your sales compensation plan.

Sales Plan Ideas

1. Prospect Intelligently Part of developing a successful sales plan is figuring out whom you are going to sell to and where you are going to sell. Many businesses make the mistake of ignoring existing customers when prospecting, but part of your sales plan should include reaching out to current customers to see if they are using all of your products or could possibly need an upgrade to include more users or departments.

2. Develop New Businesses A critical aspect of your sales plan is to figure out how you are going to develop new business. That means planning new sales territories and industries to move into. Make a good impression on prospective clients by sending out a high-touch program that makes it difficult for them not to take your meeting. Another good tactic is to send out an introduction letter with a gift. It should be built into the sales plan that building a positive rapport with prospective clients and checking back in with them every few weeks is mandatory behavior for sales reps.

3. Work with Current Customers Part of the existing sales plan should be to set up a protocol to build healthy relationships with customers even after the ink is dry on the contract. This means keeping in contact so that you can work on press releases together, get testimonials, and gain referrals. When you get a new customer it’s the opportunity to build a relationship that’s beneficial for both parties. This means reaching out regularly, providing them with tips, and keeping lines of communication open at all times.

4. Remember your Sales Plan isn’t Set in Stone Of course you want to develop a detailed plan, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need to change it. In fact, a truly effective sales plan is never done. That’s because an effective sales plan depends on the market, which is always changing. Your number one goal is to ensure that you sell your product, and to do that you might have to switch up territories, sales quotas, and strategy quarterly. 

5. Link up with Marketing Part of your sales plan should be staying closely aligned with Marketing. This means having a quarterly meeting with both departments, or at least the leaders from each department, to nail down nurturing campaigns and projects that will both create brand awareness and bring in new leads.

6. Sales Cycle Analysis One of the ways that companies can get a serious leg-up is to analyze its losses. However, this can be difficult to do if there isn’t sufficient data in the system. Ensure that your reps are logging detailed notes throughout the buying cycle about each customer in Salesforce or your CRM. This is incredibly useful if the sale is a success, or if you lose the deal. Successful sales cycles can be emulated, and losses can be analyzed and mitigated. However, none of this useful analysis can take place unless gathering data is part of your sales plan.

7. Set Performance Measures Not all of your reps are going to have the same performance measures. Different roles on your sales team will have different quotas, and different ways that you measure them. Make sure that your detailed sales plan takes into account each specific reps quota, territory, and accelerators. For a deep-dive into differentiating performance measures download our guide, Designing Sales Compensation Plans.

8. Governance When it comes to a sales compensation plan there are bound to be a few discrepancies or conflicts over bonuses, quota, or territories, Before the quarter begins make sure your sales plan includes how you will resolve questions or conflicts that come up unexpectedly.

Remember, the most important part of a sales plan is continuous analysis. Just like the rest of your business it’s critical to be dynamic and ready to respond to market changes quickly. With these eight ideas you’re on your way to creating a sales plan that will bring your company another year of continued growth and improvement.