How to write a small business plan that paves the way for sales success
If you don’t plan your goals you are very unlikely to reach them. Success in business is about strategy, planning and organisation – we all know this. But the problem with a lot of small business plans is that they leave sales and marketing as an afterthought when this is really the key aspect of your business strategy that will define your success.
The 6 things you should think about including in your small business plan so you have sales success
1) First of all – make sure your core business is solid and sorted
- Who is doing what?
- Is there a hierarchy of tasks and information?
- What do you do if there is a problem?
- Do you have a clear flowchart worked out?
Whatever you do, do it well, and be organised about it. Don’t bother doing any other step if you haven’t already got this sorted (but it’s worth planning ahead at what you’ll do once you are ready to take the next step).
2) Define your sales goals
Set realistic targets to aim for:
- Amount of sales in a weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual basis
- Your profit margin (do you need to work on your efficiency?)
- Individual targets for conversions of leads to sales
- Individual targets for planned campaigns
3) Delegation of sales tasks
- Who will be responsible for creating leads, making sales, marketing etc? Make sure that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined with a clear reporting structure.
- Is there a skill your company lacks that you need to hire in?
4) Marketing plan
Marketing your company is essential to bring in leads. Think about using at least 3 of the below methods. If you have limited resources then concentrate on one area to be the primary method of marketing (but still use more than 1).
- A strong company website
- Online marketing (including SEO, Social media campaigns, PPC, Ads etc)
- Inbound marketing (blogs, infographics and courses, guest blogging and link building)
- Traditional marketing (press releases and advertisements)
5) Lead generation
In many ways lead generation can be thought of very separately from marketing (where you are more overtly trying to convert). Lead generation is about building relationships and a reputation of authority (Inbound Marketing uses a lot of lead generation techniques).
- Networking (both social networking and in person – meet people and get known)
- Word of mouth
- Active sourcing of leads (LinkedIn is especially good for this – check out our article on using LinkedIn for lead generation here)
Once you’ve got your lead and they’ve contacted you do you know how to strategically close the sale?
- Make sure you have specific staff for sales who know how to answer all questions
- Know what discounts and offers you can and can’t make
- Know which contracts are valuable, and which you’d happily let go
- Make sure that all of your information about pricing is transparent and consistent throughout your business
- Highlight where the opportunities for up-selling are in your business and make sure your staff know to make the most of these situations if appropriate.
For a business to be successful you need to have strong relationships at a staff and a customer level. Make sure your that staff enjoy working at your company – small things make a big difference to morale. Similarly, make sure your customers are happy and remember that small things make a big difference to them too.
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