It’s the time of year when big brands send you free wall planners for the following year – as if all you need to succeed is the tools to plan! However, in business, you also need an understanding of how to execute your sales action plan in the best way to make sure it hits home.
We’re not talking about just the first nine months of the year. You need your plan to move you strongly right through Q4 and into new year.
Having a plan is surviving. Executing it well means thriving!
In other words, documenting what you want to achieve is not going to bring good results on its own. You need better ways to make it happen in real time!
- If you’re the sales person, you want to ensure you establish your brand in the specific marketplace you’re in, and get your commissions!
- If you’re the boss, you need cash flow to expand or invest because thriving and growing matters in today’s economic climate.
So – first, you need a plan of action for your sales people that breaks down the processes they’ll use to achieve your and their goals. (It’s not the same as your business plan, as we’ll see.)
And then, we’ll look at five ways to improve on execution.
What is a Sales Action Plan and Why Do You Need It?
During your business development process, you devise and write a sales plan. This provides your sales people with an action plan of how to reach their target goals with
- best strategies,
- tools and
Your sales plan will also include information about your target audience, ideal customer profile, revenue goals, contingency planning, etc., for the team to use in order to win at every touchpoint.
Although this closely links to your business plan, there’s a difference.
Your sales action plan outlines the activities your sales people will take to achieve your company’s short- and long-term goal of selling your products or services.
A business plan, on the other hand, is a broader roadmap of what you want to achieve over a period of time with specific high-level goals.
Both plans work together to ensure everyone is operating to the same RevOps overview.
A sales action plan is therefore essential because:
- It makes your business plan a reality by providing direction for how you’re going to bring about success via strengthening your sales activities.
- It supports the growth of your business by monitoring your sales progress and keeping it on track.
- It can shed light on how to improve efficiencies in your sales activities.
But you still need to activate/execute that plan in order to achieve the benefits! Let’s look in more detail how to do that.
5 Ways to Improve Execution of Your Sales Action Plan
Here are five tips to help you make your plan work more effectively than leaving it to chance. A detailed sales plan will have no impact on your business growth unless you make it workable! This is the “how” of bringing your sales to the next level.
1 Set Realistic Goals
Realistic goals make it easier for your sales team to achieve their targets. You want your team members to feel like winners, after all. When setting deliverables for your team, make sure they’re specific and measurable. This will increase motivation to close more sales.
In addition, you can help your sales people by not only giving them overall goals but also providing actionable steps and activities for them to take when they’re trying to achieve those goals. Instead of having one giant goal, create smaller goals about action along the way.
Instead of setting a task to email any previous contacts this month, set them to choose, say, three that fit your target audience well and contact each with a personalized, carefully constructed email offer.
2 Develop a Sales Strategy Implementation Plan
The implementation plan is where you include all the specific steps that help you reach your target market and new audiences.
Here you need to provide to those who’re going to execute your sales action plan all the specific details like timelines, activities, deadlines/milestones, etc.
A good implementation plan takes into account several factors such as
- your target market/audience,
- the capability of your sales team, and
- products/service description that will help them close faster and efficiently.
This will all be documented in your sales playbook. You do have one?
3 Provide Tools
How well you execute a plan of action for sales also depends on the tools and resources your sales team has at their disposal to achieve the stated goals and implement your plan.
The best tools are not necessarily the most expensive ones. They simply need to meet your company’s current needs, because their purpose is to make the implementation process easier.
The one you shouldn’t miss out on, however, is good CRM software – customized to your goals to help make your customer relationships stronger.
4 Review and Track Progress Regularly
Executing your sales action plan is not a once-and-done. You must regularly check the progress of the activities and processes that are in action.
This is best carried out by making use of data and analytics tools to help you track progress, market response, and growth.
You can also monitor and measure progress and effectiveness through weekly sales meetings and one-on-one updates – gathering feedback and offering helpful insights.
This is not micromanaging; it’s responding to what’s happening in an agile way. Let’s look how.
You might find one rep is much better at answering client queries about your product or service, so get them to help others improve their responses, thus helping everyone achieve more.
Or – on a bigger scale – have quarterly reviews to assess your company’s strategies and processes and whether your sales action plan is contributing well to your business plan within a suitable time frame.
If you find ongoing queries about one particular issue might be the reason for slower results this quarter, allocate time to tweaking the processes to ensure this point is covered routinely by everyone in advance during sales calls.
Commitment is a crucial part of how to improve your sales action plan. There are always obstacles and setbacks. So you need to develop systems to make it easier to stay consistently committed to your plan and implementation.
Prioritize its success by finding new ways to achieve the same ends!
Instead of abandoning what isn’t working well, try to use an idea from somewhere else in a different way to make it work. Innovation doesn’t always mean new or expensive. Just different and imaginative.
Innovation might also mean consulting with an outside partner to consider other systems and strategies that work to boost sales!