Why NOT a Sales Plan?

I am fascinated by the reluctance of many salespeople to put together a detailed Sales Plan.  I understand it takes some time, serious thinking and a bit of data gathering.  However, unless you are in a 100% transactional sales environment, how can you NOT plan?

Without planning you are merely drifting down the river like a leaf hoping to bump into something before you get to the waterfall.  We must be deliberate in our selling and prospecting.  Here are few simple steps to developing a Sales Plan.  After you initiate these steps you’ll probably add more detail, so think of this as a minimum. 

  1. Make a list of your current clients with their sales for each of the last three years.  You may want to take 2020 out of the mix if COVID had a significant impact on your business (up or down).
  2. Do the 80/20 calculation to determine the 20% of your clients that bring you 80% of your revenue.
  3. Look at that top 20% and determine (sometimes it’s an educated guess and that’s ok).  How much of their business do you have versus your competitor?  How can you increase your share?
  4. Take a hard look at the bottom 10% of your revenue generators.  Are you getting an adequate return on the energy you expend on these small customers?  Maybe it’s time move that energy and resource to better customers.
  5. Now look at a few prospective customers that fit your perfect customer profile.  What could you do to gain some inroads to those customers?  Have you called on them lately?  Are they still satisfied with their current provider?  You may be pleasantly surprised by the response you get.

These are simple initial steps to begin a sales plan.  The information you have now gathered will show you where to devote resources and time to:

  1. Enhance your position with your best customers.
  2. Ascertain where you have more opportunities with you best customers.
  3. Identify new potential customers that deserve some attention
  4. Realize you have some small customers that should be given an opportunity to find a new provider.

There’s an old adage that goes “plan your work and work your plan”.  Today’s economy requires we be deliberate, plan and execute better than ever before.

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