A Basic Sales Planning Strategy That Really Works
By Steve Smith
There are six steps to generating new business and increasing your company's revenue, all this takes is a little profiling and you can make all subsequent sales actions more effective.
I run a sales forum in the UK - we get many questions from new sales people, seasoned professionals and small business owners relating to new business sales campaigns. I firmly believe that planning is key and the answers to their questions often relate back to this simple sales planning method.
Step 1 - Get access to historical data on your existing customers and their buying habits.
Step 2 - Get information about prospects who will not buy from you.
Step 3 - Find information on your major competitors, their products and USP's.
Step 4 - Now take a look at your top customers (depending on the nature of your business and customer spend, this could be as few as 5 or as many as 50) take a look at why they buy from you. Do they like your customer service? Do you offer product features that are unique? Do you offer additional services they value? Are you a one stop shop for them? Do you fill a specialised niche? Also are there some common traits these customers have? Perhaps size, location or industry sector?
Step 4 - Next take a look at the prospects which do not buy from you and find some common traits with these.
Step 5 - From here you can easily see what it is your biggest customers like about you and why they buy from you, which business is being won by your competition and why, along with any existing gaps in the market.
Step 6 - You now understand why your best customers are your best customers and why your prospects are buying from the competition.
From here you can make informed decisions about who to target and with which products or services. Every time you speak to another prospect they will be similar to your best existing customers, so therefore, will have great potential to become a loyal customer too. An added benefit to this exercise is that you will learn a lot more about your competition.
Following these steps can be as simple or in depth as you wish, dependant on the level or information you want to get out of the exercise. It may be that you marketing department already hold a lot of this information, so check with them first as you don't want to duplicate efforts.
Finally - Good Luck - Although, you will not be relying on luck with your future sales as you have now stacked the cards in your favour.
About The Author
10 years in technology based sales in the UK including software, hardware and services. Now a Sales Manager for a well known UK software company.