Successful sales programs don't happen naturally.
They are the product of an intentional strategy that emphasizes fundamental sales principles and assessment tools. Yet for some reason, many small businesses turn loose their sales team with little more than monthly sales targets – and when the sales division fails to hit their target, the company goes into crisis mode trying to understand the reasons behind the shortfall.
First-rate sales strategies begin with first-rate prospecting plans. Prospecting plans minimize the amount of time and energy sales personnel waste on unproductive prospects. But more importantly, they give company leadership and sales division staff a game plan they can rely on during the early stages of the sales cycle.
Prospecting plans vary widely. You'll need to carefully consider the shape of your plan based on your specific sales goals and processes. As the business owner, the task of creating a sales prospecting plan falls squarely on your shoulders – and here are some of the must-have features your plan needs to address.
The planning process begins with an honest assessment of factors that have a direct impact on the shape and scope of your plan. Some of the things you'll need to address include your geographic territory, market penetration, brand recognition, sales resources and current conversion rates. You should also evaluate your existing prospecting and lead generation strategies to identify areas for improvement.
If you haven't done so already, you'll need to identify sales goals and include them in your prospecting plan. If the strategies defined in the rest of the plan aren't capable of achieving your stated sales goals, they should be re-evaluated and replaced by more effective ones.
The remainder of your plan should discuss the strategies you will rely on to gather quality prospects and convert them into sales.
- Research. Your strategies should define how your sales team identifies and qualifies prospects.
- Quality. All of the strategies in your plan should emphasize prospect quality over quantity.
- Follow-up. A sound prospecting plan clarifies follow-up processes and identifies specific people who will be responsible for contacting incoming prospects.
- Measurements. Ongoing assessment is critical to the long-term viability of your plan. Put strategies in place to measure results and make adjustments when necessary.