Sales Plan Guidelines

There are two views for a sales plan:
The First View:
There are three broad areas to consider in a sales plan:
1-The Territory
2-The Account
3-The Call
The second view:
There are four broad areas to consider in a sales plan:
1-Customers
2-Competition
3-Pricing
4-Marketing

I will explain briefly each view below.

The first view:
1- The Territory:

1.1 Create your territory
a- A critical part of sales planning is discriminating between Poor, Good, Better and Best accounts.
You then divide your time and attention in the way that most of your time is spent where the money comes from. The only way to do this is to give less time to the small accounts.

Your top 5% money volume accounts are “A” accounts. The next 15% are “B”, the next 20% are “C”. The remaining 60% are small players.

b- Create a “Hit List” containing 6-10 large potential prospects and treat them as your “A” list.
Allocate at least 50% of your selling time to your “A”, “B” and “Hit List” accounts.
About 30-40% to your “C” list. And the last 10-20% can be divided among the remaining 60% of customers that provide around 10% of your revenue.

Note: some people say, create your hi list from your competitors’ customer list. I see this as unethical. I think that if we concentrate on doing a better job than our competitors and offering a better service, their customers will move to us without having to deliberately target them.1.2 Map your territory
Take your prioritized customer list created in the first step and plot it on a map with colour coding to indicate importance. Start calling customers to schedule visits. Using your map identify one or two top-tier (A, B, Hit List) to visit in the morning every day and another one or two in the afternoon.

2- The Account
2.1 Set Targets
After identifying your key customers in the previous step, set annual sales and product targets and goals for each of them. Part of the goal will be to maintain and protect existing business and another part is to grow new business.

After targets are set ask the following questions and set your plan to answer them:
·Do I currently have 100% of the target or do I only have a percentage?
·What can I do to reach the target?
·What competitive threats exist?
·How can I neutralize/eliminate my competitors?
·What habits or practices are standing in the way of my getting my business?

2.2 Create customer records
Targets and action plan should be recorded in each customer record. The record should include important data about the customer and its personnel (sales history, names, roles, phone numbers, etc.)
Information learnt about the account is very important.

3- The Call
This is related to the account plan. The call plan is developed using: Long term targets, progress reports and current marketing or sales promotions. It is about how to utilize what you have and when to call/visit you customers.

Second View
Main topics of a sales plan:
1- Customers
2- Competition
3- Pricing
4- Marketing

Customers
· Who are your customers?
· Are your markets growing? Steady? Declining?
· How will you attract, hold, increase your market share?

Competition
· Who are your five most direct competitors?
· Who are your indirect competitors?
· How are their businesses: steady? Increasing? Decreasing?
· What have you learned about their operations?
· What do you know about their marketing and advertising?
· What are their strengths and weaknesses?
· How do their services and products differ from yours?
Note: Create a file for each competitor. Save their advertising and promotional materials and any pricing information you can gather. Review these files periodically, determining when and how often they advertise, how they participate at industry gatherings and anything else you can about the way they bring business.

Pricing
Your pricing strategy is another marketing technique you can use to improve your overall competitiveness. Although your pricing will be based on your industry and cost, it is good practice to know what pricing strategies your competitors are using.

Marketing
Your Marketing / Advertising Plan is critical in helping you reach your customers and create a unique image for yourself.

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