Plan and forecast sales
Create a sales plan from a sales forecast
Once you have finalised your sales forecast, you can create an informed sales plan. The questions your sales plan should answer include:
- What are you going to focus on?
- What are you going to change?
- In practical terms, what steps are involved?
- What territories and targets are you going to give each salesperson or team?
The sales plan will start with some strategic objectives. Here are some examples:
- break into the local authority market by adapting your product for this market
- open a shop in an area that you believe has the potential for generating lots of sales
- boost the average sale per customer
You can then explain the stepping stones that will allow you to achieve these objectives. Use objectives which are SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound - when setting targets for your business.
Using the example of breaking into the local authority market, your stepping stones might be to:
- hire a sales person with experience of the local authority market on a basic salary of £24,000 by the beginning of February
- fully train the sales person by mid-April
- ensure that any changes the product development team has agreed to make are ready to pilot by the beginning of April
As well as planning for new products and new markets, explain how you propose to improve sales and profit margins for your existing products and markets.
It is often helpful to identify how you could remove barriers to sales by:
- Increasing the activity levels of the sales team - more telephone calls per day, or more customer visits per week?
- Increasing the conversion rate of calls into sales - through better sales training, better sales support materials or improved sales incentives?