Clearly outlining your goal should always be your first step in planning a sales call – or any other business endeavor. Is your purpose to establish yourself as a trusted advisor? Close a specific deal? When you define your key objective, you can plan later steps around achieving it.
Sales planning is going to start only when you have defined the objectives for the sales team. For example – The objective of an air conditioning company might be to increase the market share of the company. For this, it will have to penetrate a new geographic market. Thus the objective of sales planning is to penetrate a new market to increase market share.
It is done through an evaluation of the current situation. It involves an honest assessment of the situation, and it will relating it to the goal set in the first step. For instance If your objective is to expand your relationship with a customer, an evaluation of the current situation would consist of defining your present relationship. Since you know the objectives of your sales plan, you have to forecast what actions you need to take and the operations which are needed in effect before you implement the sales plan. This is a crucial step in the sales planning process because if you do not forecast the correct operations strategy, then in future you will face operational difficulties which will hamper you in meeting your sales objectives.
It entails ordering various activities that will be required in facilitating sales planning.Once you know the operations that are necessary, you need to organize them. For example – The first priority of the air conditioning company in new territory will be to have a service setup. Than to have a sales setup and the necessary channel in place. Once that happens, they will have to bombard the new territory with aggressive marketing tactics.
Once you have your actions planned and organized, implementing them is the next step. Although it may sound easy, there are many real time and real world problems you may face while implementing a sales plan. For example – The customers of the new territory might not respond to the new air conditioners entering the market. On the other hand, the product might be picked up readily by the customers and you might not be able to adapt.
As in any planning process, the fifth and very important step in the sales planning process is to measure the results. Unlike advertising, sales results are very easy to measure because everything is documented and recorded. For example – the air conditioning company will measure the total sales of the geographic territory in study. At the same time it will find out the competitors sales as well for record keeping.
When you have the sales records in hand, ensure that you analyse the sales records to know whether or not the sales planning process has succeeded. The analysis will tell you what you did right and what went wrong. Thus, based on the analysis you can know the good work that has to be repeated as well as the bad work which has to be avoided.