4 Field-tested Steps for Better Sales Planning

a sales notebook showing Better Sales Planning

High Performance Sales Needs High Performance Sales Planning
If you want better sales performance, you need better sales planning.  The goal for most sales teams is pretty straightforward – grow profitable sales.  To grow profitably however, takes more than wishful thinking.  It takes a clear go to market sales strategy combined with a sales plan to make it happen.

4 Steps for Better Sales Planning
Follow these four field-tested steps for better sales planning:

1. Define How You Will Win
Before you get into the details of how to more effectively sell your solutions, you need to create a clear, believable and implementable sales strategy that everyone commits to fully execute across the organization.  That means getting clarity and agreement on at least these five areas:

  • Target Clients: Your ideal target clients where you should win the majority of the time
  • Unique Value Proposition: What differentiates you from the competition in the eyes of your target clients in a way that drives premium pricing, increases qualified lead generation and improves customer retention
  • Success Metrics: How sales success and failure will be measured at the corporate, team and individual levels
  • Sales Processes: The critical few sales processes that matter most in terms of meeting your sales targets and executing your sales strategy
  • Sales Barriers: The top 10 barriers to sales success over the next 12 to 36 months
  • Action Plan: An action plan to execute your sales strategy and overcome the key barriers

2. Determine How You Will Add Visible Value at Your Target Accounts
Once your go-to-market plan is clear, it is time to research your most attractive target companies in order to understand their business and begin to build solid sales strategies for each account.  The most successful sales account plans create consistently deep customer interactions that add value while building deep and meaningful personal and professional experiences.  You will know you are on the right path when you understand what matters most for each account vis-à-vis your potential opportunities to help them to succeed in a way that makes sense.

3. Identify Opportunity Teams
Once you have created high level account plans, it’s time to identify the key buyers and influencers and a specific approach to reach them.  This stage should involve the whole sales team and take advantage of any contacts who can give you a “warm” introduction.   Evaluate each potential opportunity against your value proposition and ideal target client criteria to prioritize your sales efforts.

Then identify the best team to try to win each specific opportunity based upon their skills, industry knowledge, approach and experience.

4. Build and Execute Sales Call Plans
Once your opportunity plans have been finalized, it is now time to put your solution selling skills to work by creating an effective sales call plan.  Sales reps who prepare consistently outperform those who wing it.  Pre-call sales planning allows you to anticipate, add value, demonstrate competency, gain credibility and show respect.

The Bottom Line
Succeeding at sales requires much more than luck.  Far too many salespeople sit in their customer’s lobby leafing through, for the first time, a crash course of material on their customer’s business.  Don’t leave your success up to chance.  Follow the four steps to better sales planning.

Identify your ideal customer, understand your customer’s need and build a strong and productive relationship by providing value in every interaction.

Want to improve your sales skills?  Download 30 Effective Sales Questions More Important than Budget When Selling Solutions

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