It’s been said that a great product will sell itself. But when you put in the time and effort for sales strategy planning, the sky’s the limit as to how much you can achieve.
With some help from technology and a little thoughtful planning, you can create a sales strategy plan that helps your sales team reach their targets, week after week. Fortunately, other companies within your industry have paved the way for you!
Here are some sales strategy planning templates and best practices to help you build a foundation for your business success.
The Purpose of your Sales Strategy Plan
When we talk about a sales strategy plan, what exactly are we talking about? Why do you need one?
A sales strategy plan is a written document that details the exact steps of how to sell your product or service to qualified buyers, as well as how to position that product or service differently than your competitors.
Here are some of the ways that your sales strategy plan works to your benefit when it comes to positioning:
- Helps to create a vision for your sales team.
- Gives you the tools to benchmark sales progress.
- Provides you identify specific areas in the sales strategy planning process that need improvement.
- Helps you create an objective plan for how to meet sales goals, including the data to support it.
The other purpose of your sales strategy plan is to help make your product or service so enticing that buyers have to have it. With your sales strategy plan in hand, you’ll also have clear objectives and guidance for your sales team.
Here are some things you may want to incorporate into a sales strategy plan:
- Goals for growth
- Metrics and KPIs
- Buyer personas
- A structure for your sales team
- Sales processes
- Digital sales tools
- Product positioning
- Competitive analysis
- Description of sales workflows
Now that you have a better understanding of the purpose of a B2B sales strategy plan, let’s take a look at how to create one.
How to Create a Sales Strategy Plan
A sales strategy plan includes what you’re going to sell, how you’re going to sell it, and who will be responsible for various parts of the sales plan. Here’s a short checklist to ensure that your sales strategy plan covers all of the necessary bases:
- Describe the products or services included in the sales strategy plan.
- Document clear goals and objectives.
- Clearly describe the various sales roles for your sales team, including who is responsible for generating leads, nurturing leads, and closing sales.
- Describe the ideal attitudes and behaviors of your customer service representatives as they relate to your company culture and branding.
- Develop a list of tools you need, including call center software, CRM, and other software integrations.
- Outline the processes for initial sales training and ongoing refreshers.
- Describe rewards and incentives for your sales team, based on achieving set KPIs.
- Detail the post-sales process, including follow-ups and plans for upselling, cross-selling, and generating referrals.
Using a Sales Strategy Planning Template
Your sales strategy plan will be unique to your company—there’s no right or wrong way to construct a sales strategy plan, as long as it works well for you.
There are many sales planning templates available online for various industries, which can be customized to fit your specific business needs. The following sales plan template is just one example of how to structure a sales plan:
Sales Plan Template
Best Practices for a Strategic Sales Plan
A sales planning template is just the beginning. If you want to achieve your business goals and create the best strategy possible, you should consider following some of the best practices which have been proven to work for other businesses in their strategic planning process.
7 best practices that provide a good foundation for the creation of an effective strategic sales plan:
- Leverage call center software to take a data-driven approach to sales planning. The right call center software automates and streamlines workflows, helping your sales team stay on track with goals. Audio data also helps sales team managers identify new growth opportunities.
- Plan for appropriate and realistic call center staffing. You need to be able to accurately predict the number of sales representatives required for the call center, while accounting for things like ramp time and employee turnover. This ensures you always have the right number of staff, especially during seasonal spikes.
- Use data to establish reasonable and realistic sales quotas. Sales quotas that are too low make it too easy for sales reps to hit their targets. Make sure sales reps feel challenged. Rewards may become too familiar, risking a slip in performance. Quotas that are too high, on the other hand, will make incentives seem out of reach, and may therefore discourage your sales reps. Call center data will give you accurate information to establish realistic sales goals and objectives.
- Develop a meaningful incentive program. Find the balance between what you can afford to offer as incentives and what your sales reps will find attractive and meaningful. Take advantage of data and test different incentives to see which drives the strongest performance.
- Create and evaluate a few different sales plan models to identify potential challenges or problems.
- Establish different performance measures for each sales role. Each role has different responsibilities, so it’s best to set appropriate quotas specific to that position. Evaluate these measures objectively using data.
- Continually analyze the performance of sales representatives individually and as a team. Real-time planning is effective, but companies aren’t always equipped to adapt. Updated data (and adequate software) will help you respond to market changes and adapt your sales plan accordingly.
Aligning your Sales Strategy with your Marketing Team
Before you create a sales planning strategy, it’s important to collaborate with your marketing department. Consider the marketing department’s plans for development and their KPIs, and then align with the sales team and other departments, so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to defining and measuring progress towards core business objectives.
Sales and marketing alignment also ensures that your sales team has the same goals and target audiences as your marketing team, and can access key metrics and analytics gathered from marketing efforts. Marketing data is incredibly valuable to sales team managers—it can help them set up CRM accounts and workflows that synergize with the rest of the company, significantly improving sales.
Your marketing department uses buyer personas to paint a clear picture of your target audiences for marketing purposes. These personas can also help your sales team have a better understanding of who the company’s prime customers are and what will motivate them to buy. This is valuable information they can use during the sales process to increase conversion rates.
If you’re not already doing so, it’s also helpful for the marketing team to hold product demonstrations with your sales team. This enhances your sales team’ product knowledge and provides answers to the types of questions they get from customers every day.
Another main area where sales and marketing teams connect is when it comes to sharing leads. With good sales and marketing alignment, your marketing team can generate qualified leads, which the sales team will then be able to nurture and convert. It’s essential to know which sales team members receive these qualified leads first. This allows you to set up the right workflows, optimizing nurtured lead conversion rates for other sales reps. If you’re using a cloud-based phone system, dashboard analytics and other software tools can help evaluate the efficiency of your workflows. Proper optimization will lead usually lead to an increase in sales.
Cloud-based phone systems also help you scale your call center according to your call volume. This helps make sure you’re never over or under-staffed and are consistently able to support sales efforts. Alongside call analytics, your sales strategy plan will also be affected by product development efforts. Make sure to collaborate with your product team to learn about any new products they’ll be launching or promoting. This information will impact your call volume, as well as staffing and training requirements. Additionally, it will help sales reps better answer customer questions during the lead nurturing process.
A good sales planning process ensures that your sales team has access to a steady stream of highly qualified leads. However, the right call center software is also crucial for achieving an effective overall sales process. Sales software programs can help you create a competitive sales environment that drives revenue, increases efficiency, and generates actionable data insights for key decision-makers to further improve sales strategies.
Aircall’s cloud-based phone system makes it easy for businesses to implement and optimize their existing sales plans. Its analytics dashboard provides access to key data needed for creating efficient workflows, monitoring sales representatives’ performance, and developing new sales strategies.
Aircall’s App Marketplace also lets you integrate seamlessly with many other sales software programs, providing an omni-channel approach to customer experience that lets you gauge customer satisfaction and maintain a single source of customer data across sales, marketing, and customer service teams.
Contact us today for a product demo!