Without a plan, sales reps have no choice but to do their own thing – which` may not necessarily be what your company needs them to do to achieve its sales targets. Undirected sales reps are likely to be too often found in the office or out on haphazard travel, spending time with the friendly accounts and pushing the easier to sell (but not necessarily profitable) products.
With a good INDIVIDUAL plan that has some discipline built into it for the rep the chances for sales success increase dramatically and ensure the focus needed at the individual level to get the right things sold to the right customers.
A good sales rep plan can be built if you keep these things in mind.
Base it on business goals, not whim – the company sales plan must be clear on what needs to be achieved. That puts the onus on you to have done your homework and developed an annual strategic plan for marketing that includes sales and gross profit goals and strategies for increasing sales to current customers and developing new ones. If management doesn’t know what it wants from its sales team, how can the sales reps know what is expected of them? How can you measure their effectiveness? How reasonable is it to complain of their ineffectiveness?
Include strategies to guide action – too often sales reps are given no more direction than to “Get out there and increase sales by x%”. If management ‘planning’ is at the level of just tacking on an x% increase in sales volume in the budget without having developed the strategies for achieving it, that doesn’t provide any direction for sales reps. In this situation reps are likely to fall short of their goal even though the budgeted increases may be realistic. Their sales plan will start with some strategic objectives but must then detail the activities expected of them that will allow them to achieve these objectives.
Each rep needs their own plan covering which customers they are to contact, when, how often, and so on.
In B2B you also need to decide on the person they will need to contact/persuade. Is this the Chief Executive, a Managing Director or a head of department? And will you need to talk to somebody else first before you get to this person?
If the rep is in a territory making calls it is often helpful to create a routing plan that directs him through the territory on specific days and weeks to make the most effective use of time and minimise backtracking. Planning this aspect can help significantly in getting reps out of the office and into the field.
Other things that could be set into their plan to be accomplished in a given period (such as each week or month) are number of client phone calls to make, number of contacts, appointments set, appointments conducted and value of sales to close.
Monitor results – since the plan has covered the goals and strategies down to task level, such as which customers or prospect groups are going to be approached, how frequently and so on, then each activity and the resulting sales can be monitored and checked to see if they are reaching the plan.
Don’t make recording activities a burden to the rep but recognise that tracking a few key performance indicators is essential to keeping your company sales plan on track and will form the basis of your assessment of a reps performance. Reviewing can take place on a monthly basis. Sales management excellence involves reviewing the results against the plan to determine missed opportunities and areas for improvement.
A genuine sales effort requires regular planning, tracking, and review to achieve the targeted results. Every sales rep requires their own action plan to direct their day-to-day activities and set up their accountabilities. An individual plan will force a rep to become more disciplined in his or her approach to selling and provide better opportunity for successful selling. SOURCE NOTE: RAN One