Running a small business can be a challenge especially when you’re also trying to grow the company and expand. We all know sales is a huge factor in this. After all, if you aren’t making money, how do you expect to pay for the expansion? Fortunately, there are some techniques you can do for increasing sales of a small business, and the first thing you should try is creating a good sales plan.
Essentially, a sales plan is an outline of how your business intends to reach its sales goals over the course of a year and broken down into smaller segments like quarters or months. What you’ll generally find in a sales plan are forecasts on the level of sales, targets that you want your sales team to reach, and tactics & strategies on how to reach those goals. Sales planning for small businesses can be a very effective way to boost sales or get you out of a dry spell. It’s also a good place to start before exploring other support strategies like hiring a marketing consultant for your small business.
How Do You Build An Effective Sales Plan?
There can be a lot of steps in making a sales plan depending on the needs of your business and its customers. In general, the different steps can be grouped into three phases: sales forecasting & goal setting, market research, and prospecting.
Sales Forecasting & Goal Setting
This first phase is about assessing your own needs: review and evaluate the business, identify its needs, and choose goals that directly help with these. However, more than simply stating something you want to achieve, you should be setting SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound goals. So instead of saying “we need to double sales”, it may be better to say “we need to sell 100 units of our flagship product every month”. The latter is specific in the kind and quantity of products that need to be sold, it’s measurable, and it has a time limit of one month.
To make sure goals are still attainable and realistic, these goals must be based on previous data and sales. Historic data lets you forecast how much sales you can gather in a certain time period with more accuracy. Just remember, it’s safer to be pessimistic than optimistic when forecasting sales to ensure you hit your targets.
After setting goals and looking at previous sales data, the next step is studying the market the customers you want to reach. For this step, it’s important that you understand your market and how you and your company or product can fit into their lives, so it’s important to identify your target market. Take a look at your ideal customer and understand their lifestyle and their needs and try to ask these questions:
- How big is the market?
- Where is the demand for your product coming from?
- What’s your current market position: Including any strengths, weaknesses, opportunities or threats
- Who are your competitors? What do they offer versus what you can offer?
- What is the target market’s lifestyle and what kind of needs/pain points do they have?
- How can your product help them?
- How and where can you reach your customers to promote your company?
- What is their buying process or journey like? Where can your company fit into this journey?
Many sales consultants for small business say understanding the market and your customers is key in determining what products or services you can sell them and how you’ll do it, including different marketing channels and possible promotions that will further entice them.
The last step is prospecting or looking for possible customers. Using the insights and data from the first two steps, try identify possible clients for your business and pick a lead generation strategy. From there, it’s about reaching out to them and growing relationships to turn them into sales. Don’t forget to consider your current client base and possible opportunities to grow their business with you, selling them other complementary products or services that they can benefit from.
Learn More With Shawn Tiberio
Sales planning is just one method to help you achieve your business goals and take your company to the next level. There are so many other tools and tactics that you can utilize to improve sales performance and you can learn all of this through a sales consultant for small business like Shaw Tiberio. Improve the way you do business not only through sales, but also with marketing strategies and a proper mindset. Schedule a call and turbocharge your business growth.