Making a Sales Plan for Your Small Business

September 13, 2018 | Roger and Susie Engelau

In our experience, small business leaders tend to take a passive approach to sales, meaning, they take whatever business comes their way instead of being deliberate about it.

Making a sales plan for your small business quickly alleviates:

  • Under-performing sales growth
  • Constantly cutting expenses to compensate for lack of sales
  • Low profits that don’t support cash flow needs
  • Unprofitable customers
  • Relying on one customer who makes up more than 20% of your profits or changing the way you do business for that customer

It doesn’t take long to figure out 1) who your target market is, 2) how you’re going to find them on a consistent basis, 3) what your revenue growth targets are, and 4) how those revenue targets fit with your overall business goals… this is what making a sales plan for your small business is all about.

Get off the infamous sales roller coaster

Making a sales plan for your small business starts with identifying your ideal customer, being very specific about their behaviors, characteristics, and demographics. Do this by looking at your very best customers. What do they buy? Why do they buy? When do they buy? Where do they live? What’s their lifestyle, age, gender? After you can answer these questions, write a summary paragraph describing your target market.

Next, set your goals. What RESULTS do you want? Sales goals are typically either $$, like ‘$500K in new business,’ or volume, like ‘50 new clients.’ There are several things to consider when trying to determine numeric goals for your sales results…

  • What are your company’s overall goals?
  • What’s a reasonable level of growth given past growth or lack of it?
  • What’s the market doing?
  • What are your resources?
  • How much do you need to cover overhead plus yield the amount of profit you want?
  • How much should be from new customers vs existing ones?
  • What are your sales people capable of? What other duties do they have? What would stretch them but not overwhelm them? You can engage them in the goal-setting… after arriving at individual goals, add them up to arrive at a total company sales goal.

Once you’ve identified your target market and set goals, determine what ACTIVITIES it will take to meet the goals. Making a sales plan for your small business must include both RESULTS and ACTIVITIES goals. So what activities are necessary to produce the ultimate sales goals?

Typical activities include emails, texts, phone calls, followup calls, quotes, and appointments. But depending on what you and your salespeople each identify as their individual development goals, you’ll want to set activity goals unique to that person’s development needs. Here are 3 examples:

  • Salesperson A – Push for the yes or the no calls where it’s appropriate.
  • Salesperson B – Ask at least 3 needs-based questions before discussing features and benefits.
  • Salesperson C – Insure 25% of sales are repeat business.

You’ve heard it before and it’s true… sales is a numbers game. Reviewing and adjusting the sales ACTIVITES numbers on a regular basis is what will lead to your desired sales RESULTS. Eventually you come to know and refine how many cold calls result in one appointment or how many appointments result in one closed sale, etc. With this historical data you become more and more confident in the targets you set for your sales people.

Finally, you’ll want to track and monitor these numbers on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis.

If you’d like to spend some dedicated time making a solid sales plan for 2019, we invite you to attend our 6-hour Sales Growth Plan Workshop on Thur., Nov. 8.

Test out your unique strategies, discuss your tough sales issues with fellow small business owners, and walk away with a complete and detailed sales plan that:

  • Sets realistic sales goals & identifies how much new business you need to accomplish them.
  • Insures your sales goals support:
    •     Last year’s goals
    •     What your salespeople are capable of
    •     How much profit you want and overhead you need to cover
    •     What the market is doing
    •     What your company is capable of
  • Balances results goals with activities goals
  • Creates accountability & insures that your salespeople are engaged & organized
  • Sets up a tracking methodology that makes monitoring & adjusting quick & easy.

Click here to learn more and register.

Making a sales plan for your small business sets you on track for growth you can build on year after year. We encourage you to make a deliberate plan before the end of 2018. Whether you attend our workshop or do it on your own, just do it. This time next year you’ll be so glad you did.