What’s your strategy for 2019? Are you just winging it or do you have a definite plan in place? Let’s explore what can be done to have a successful year.
“Business is like war in one respect. If its grand strategy is correct, any number of tactical errors can be made and yet the enterprise proves successful.” Robert E. Wood – Executive and Brigadier General
To create real, lasting growth for you and your company you need to create your own grand strategy. And that starts with a solid sales plan.
As billionaire investor Warren Buffett puts it:
“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
So what exactly is a sales plan? A sales plan is the guide which will help you hit your sales goal for the year. The grand picture aside, a good sales plan breaks down goals on a month to month basis outlining market trends, who your customers are and how you plan to engage them and most importantly sell to them!
Once done correctly, this plan can empower you to run your business rather than worry about the day to day aspects of running your business. With this information, you’re prepared for both fast and slow periods, you know where to dedicate resources, you are able to spot opportunities and act on them; thereby taking your business to the next level.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
1. Set sales goals.
Be realistic in your sales goals. Your goal can’t be “make sales”… set numbers. Its always a good idea to set a measurable goal. How many sales, how many customers, how much profit? Set figures which your market, the size of your business and the economy will allow. Now that we have this figured out, we simply work backwards. How many employees are needed, how much you need to advertise or even how much stock you need on hand can be figured out after setting your final sales goal.
2. Set clear deadlines and milestones.
You need to break the big goal down into smaller chunks. This can be quarterly, monthly or even daily. This way you can measure whether or not your plans are working. In terms of your online sales, you need to measure everything. How many followers does your business have? How many website clicks and which products or pages are they visiting? Proper analysis from time to time will give clues as to what you can do to improve overall performance and sales.
3. Pick your niche and focus.
As much as we want to sell everything to everyone, it makes more sense to focus your efforts and narrow down. Your online advertising can be targeted only to your specific demographic. Your website can be the go to for a specific product. A good way to increase sales is to be the best or one of the best in a specific niche. What’s your niche?
“When you try to create something for everyone, you end up creating something for no one” Please don’t do that!
Do an in-depth analysis of your market. Who are your competitors? What are their strengths? What are your strengths? What can you do to stand out?
Ensure your social media focuses on this niche as much as possible in order to fully engage your target audience.
4. Understand your customers.
Now that we’ve identified a niche and figured out who your ideal customer is, it’s time to understand them. It’s makes no sense wasting resources chasing the wrong prospect. How does your customer think? Are they on Facebook or Twitter? Are they on any forums or groups? What are they buying? What do they need? Get into your customers heads and understand them.
5. Figure out your customers’ buying process.
Become your customer for a moment. How would you pick a product or service, how would choose a business to buy from? What are the current hurdles to buying? What can you do to help the customer purchase from you easier? Think about everything from beginning to end. From wanting to buy to actually purchasing and even what happens after the sale is over.
Analysis of your social media and website to look for bottlenecks in the buying process for your customer can be a great help here.
6. Define your value propositions.
What is your competitive advantage? What are you doing which makes your business better than your competitors? Why should the customer buy from you? What does your product or service provide for the customer? Customers usually choose convenience over anything else, so are you making things convenient?
Now that we know who we are targeting and how we are going to win them over, it’s time to find people to sell to. Depending on your business, this can be a prospect list or people on social media you want to reach out to. This is where we put all work from the previous sections into real life practice.
- Search social media for groups of potential buyers
- Attend networking events or markets, trade shows etc
- Advertise both online and offline
8. Leverage your client base.
Your existing customers are a great source of new customers. Referrals are a great way to increase your sales. You can set up referral programmes or even simply ask each customer to share with a friend. A happy customer is usually more than happy to spread the word about your business.
9. Strategic partners.
Can you partner with another business who shares the same or similar customer base? A feature for feature on social media goes a long way. You can partner with other businesses to do giveaways. There are countless ways in which you can partner with another business in order to gain more exposure.
10. TRACK everything.
As mentioned earlier, you need to be tracking and measuring everything. Just because you made a solid plan, does not mean it is set in stone.
“A plan is simply a guess you wrote down.”
You need to make adjustments along the way. Try different things, make intelligent guesses and measure again. Always remember that your sales plan is a living breathing document which has to adapt and change over time. Review it weekly, monthly, quarterly and make adjustments.
If you need a one on one session to plan and implement this into your business please contact us. I’m doing this free of charge to all current clients.