How to Implement a Sales Action Plan
The time has come for you to make the most of your company’s sales opportunities. It’s time to implement a sales action plan. But what exactly is a sales action plan? It’s a guide for your organization to clearly define goals and objectives and implement them strategically. The plan will also help you project your company’s potential revenue. Be sure that you examine exactly how that revenue will be generated. Also make sure to set clear objectives for your sales team so that they’re always aware of what they need to be working towards.
The Four-Step Sales Action Plan
To save you and your organization some time, you can utilize the following four step action plan that will help you and your team not just plan for the future, but make the most of the future. The plan will also help ensure that you maximize your present course, starting today. Follow it as closely as you can to meet and exceed your sales goals.
1) Asses Your Company’s Past
Going over the last year of sales numbers, metrics, revenue, etc. will allow you to see both your company’s strengths and weaknesses. This way, you can begin to visualize how the company can improve itself in the long run.
Your team should hopefully be making post-sale analyzations and reporting them to management. If not, it’s recommenced that you get your salespeople to do this so that management can build an effective strategy for the future. It’s okay for a company to suffer losses, but it’s not okay to sit back and procrastinate on taking action. You must figure out at what point during sales calls your salespeople have been struggling the most. Answering this will help you understand what needs to change right away so that future opportunities are maximized.
2) Determine Problematic Areas
Once you’ve assessed the information that you compiled in step one, you must now figure out what problem areas still exist. For example, if your salespeople are giving you subpar conversation rates, then they need to be effectively trained to work on their questioning, building trust, and research before the calls happen. If the salespeople are struggling in the later stages of their calls, they most likely must improve their negotiation skills, rebuttals, and ability to sell value over features.
Keep in mind that evaluating metrics will only get you so far in understanding the problematic areas of your sales strategies. One of the most effective things you can do is meet with each salesperson one-on-one and ask them what’s challenging them the most and what tools or strategies they feel would help them succeed. Seeking feedback will also boost the morale of your sales team. Most salespeople enjoy feeling like they’re part of the building process.
3) Create the Necessary Steps to Make Changes and Improvements
Now that you’ve determined what needs to be improved, it’s time to work hard to make big changes that will benefit your company. Focus on the key areas that correlate the most to getting the biggest ROI possible. This should be one of your top goals.
If you’ve determined a factor such as your sales team not having enough qualified leads, then the first step should be improving the company’s marketing strategy and procedures. No matter what unique strategy your company is in need of, it is recommended that you work with each salesperson, one-on-one, to draft a detailed plan that will help each of them develop. Before these meetings take place, upper management must set the goals and objectives that need to be achieved from this point forward. It’s recommenced that you place these goals and objectives into separate daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly categories.
4) Coach Your Team for Current AND Future Success
Studies have proven that effective management is often not enough to have a successful and productive sales team. In addition to being managed, your sales team must be coached regularly to ensure they’re on track to reach the new goals and objectives that you established in the last step. The coaching should focus on development rather than compliance. This will ensure that the sales team knows how to apply the new skills that they’ve learned and has the opportunity to fix anything that they’ve been struggling with. If the sales target is stressing about some of them, try breaking the goals down into smaller chunks that they can handle so that no one is intimidated.
Many companies hire an outside sales coach or consultant to step in and provide a fresh perspective. This never means that your sales manager isn’t doing a good job, it’s simply just beneficial to hear an outsider’s views—for the benefit of both your sales team and management.
10 Factors to Keep in Mind While Setting Up Your Sales Action Plan
Never allow anyone in your company to lose sight of what the overall mission and objective is. Every employee must be aware of it.
Analyze everyone on your sales team. What are each of their strengths? Weaknesses? What can be implemented to improve each of their performances?
This is absolutely crucial to consistently making sales. You can’t consistently get sales if you have little knowledge of who you’re selling to. Your action plan must not only detail who your average customer is, but how the company can continue to get sales from those average customers.
Don’t just note which resources and tools, such as CRM software, your company currently uses. Come up with a list of additional ones that you feel will help your salespeople succeed.
You can’t analyze the past and present, you have to do the best you can to anticipate the future. All industries change. Ask yourself, “What changes are my company the most concerned about?” But don’t just stop there. Ask, “How can we turn change into an advantage for us?”
Figure out which marketing strategies have worked for you in the past and which have not. Come up with a list of new marketing strategies that you and the rest of management feel will position the company for success.
How are your salespeople effectively going to qualify the leads that marketing provides them? A specific plan must be in place. This is absolutely crucial to the success of a sales team.
Put all of the new actions you and your company will be doing into a single list and go over the list in an upper management meeting. Not only will this make everyone feel better about the future, but working together discussing strategies will help you determine which ones need to be concentrated on immediately.
Reevaluate all of the company’s sales goals after speaking to every salesperson individually. Perhaps the goals are a bit too lofty or perhaps you will realize that your company is capable of even more output than you initially had in mind.
Figure out all costs involved in obtaining your new sales goals. This includes:
-Food and beverage
-Outside consultant or coaching fees
If your company isn’t utilizing a sales action plan, then it is most likely missing out on getting the most sales revenue possible. Get an action plan up and running as soon a possible so you don’t get left behind in the dust in the ever-changing business climate. If implementation of the action plan doesn’t go as well as you had in mind, consider hiring an outside consultant or coach who can step in and maximize the success of both your salespeople and your business.