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How to Develop an Effective Sales Plan 

Credit: istockphoto.com/skynesher

There’s a saying that salespeople always struggle. We beg to disagree. The best of us don’t struggle: We hustle. The only salespeople who struggle are those without an effective sales plan. 

If you’ve ever seen the film The Wolf of Wall Street, based on the real-life hustler Jordan Belfort, then you know that a really good salesman can sell anything to anyone. It just starts with a solid sales plan, which for Jordan, came in the form of a flawless script.

Here are the five Ws that make up a solid sales plan

Who?

The initial step in creating a sales plan is to determine your target audience. Who are you selling to? Who is this product for? Are there other demographics that you can target? 

For instance, let’s say you’re selling school supplies. The obvious target market would be students, right? 

Write down your targets and ask yourself, where is the most demand with the least competition? Once you’ve found the ideal customer that meets the sweet spot between demand and competition, then you can move forward to build a customer profile.

Where?

Where will you find your ideal customer? Where do they hang out? Are they on forums and social media? What time do they usually go online? Where will you find their information? 

This requires a lot of research. We suggest you check out online listings or even create a strategic partnership with another company (or salesperson) that targets the same ideal customer. You don’t have to be in competition with each other. If you can find one with a product or service that perfectly complements what you have to offer, that’s helpful.

Why?

You need to define the need that your offer addresses. How will it add value to your client’s lives? Otherwise, why would they even consider buying your product in the first place?

If your product doesn’t address a specific need, then does it improve something or does it make a certain task easier? In fact, if you simply can’t find a space for it anywhere, then great, you’ve stumbled upon something that’s completely new! It’s now up to you to come up with its “why.”

What?

You now have an ideal customer and you know where to find them. You also know why they’d want to spend their hard-earned money on what you have to offer. It’s now time for us to create our goals. 

What are your sales milestones? Having a set number in mind can significantly help you figure out if you’re moving in the right direction. We suggest you create sub-goals as well. These are smaller, more achievable, actionable items that are easier to track.

Another reason why you need to create concrete goals (and sub-goals) is that it will also help you discern roadblocks and loopholes in the sales plan that you are constructing. 

When?

Finally, once you have your goals laid out already, the last thing to do is to set manageable deadlines. Setting a deadline on a goal will add to your motivation. Just remember to not set it too short that will force you to give up from the get-go, or too long that will allow your brain to convince you to procrastinate.

By keeping these Ws in mind, you will be able to construct a sales plan for you and your business. 

More tips for sales plan success

Here are even more tips that you can follow to ensure the success of the sales plan you’ve developed above.

Diversify your sales platforms

Don’t just focus on your online shop. Explore different social media networks. Join forums. Purchase ads. Consider collaborating with content creators and social influencers. By doing so, you will be able to reach more people at half the time, plus you have various lead generating streams to rely on.

 Use proven analytical tools

Learn how to use tools like Google Analytics to determine where your online visitors are coming from, how many of them are converted into buying consumers and recurring clients, and how many are lost in the fray.

Finally, explore various sales systems and methods

A sales funnel that automates the sales process is an efficient method that we encourage you to try.

Jim Hughes

Jim Hughes is a content marketer at OpenCashAdvance. He has significant experience covering marketing, finance, economics, and business topics for about 3 years. He likes to share all the insight and knowledge he has

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