Most Success is Planning Success
Even if you have talented people, a team culture, good equipment, and so forth; without an accurate sales plan, nothing else matters. Without revenue of some sort; no Organization, Company, or even a Person can survive for long.
Step One - Where do We Start?
The first step in the big picture is to determine what you want your sales to be to achieve all of the other goals. For people to understand what they need to do; they need direction and the sales plan gives them that direction.
If projected sales are not achieved, then all of the expenses run out of plan and everything starts to fall apart. That means layoffs, cutting expenses, running out of cash, even failure of the entity. Failure is caused by stagnation and missed opportunities. Avoiding this failure starts with the sales and marketing plan.
Sales Planning without Management doesn’t Work
Management’s job is execution of the plan. Semi-monthly meetings are a way of measuring results and adjusting daily work efforts. It means reviewing all of the key indicator numbers to isolate and correct any variances plus or minus 5%. The reason this works is because it is proactive and makes time to fix variances. Our experience has been that these special meetings can literally make a difference in the results. These meetings actually control your forecast because the numbers don’t lie. Activity equals results – change activity, change results. Without Management meetings, it won’t happen.
Step Two - Market Analysis
We study total industry growth, segment growth, competitor share, and areas where the biggest increases are expected. We also review pricing, interest rates, the general economics, and last year’s sales.
Step Three - Review
We conduct a sales history review by customer, by the month, or by product or service; to establish a baseline for next year’s plan.
Step Four - Next Year’s Forecast
We perform a forecast for the next fiscal year; formatted to enable review of actual versus forecast to identify variances.
Step Five - Gross Margin Dollars and Percentage Increases
Growing sales just for the sake of growing sales doesn’t make sense if you’re not growing profits also. Marketing and Sales plans and staff are responsible for both sales and gross profits. New products, services, or promotions may cost more up front, but eventually as efficiencies improve, so should profits. Gross profit dollars and percentage analysis is critical to making money. We have developed a series of worksheets to help sales and marketing people analyze and compare margin performance.
Another reason for detailed worksheets is to prove to customers, justification for a price increase. The reason for worksheets is so everyone is analyzing the same data and understanding mark-ups in labor, materials, costs to produce overhead, and other costs.
Discounts don’t Usually Work
The reason being that discounting doesn’t usually increase the bottom line. You must truly understand the effort required to gain enough volume to make the discount positively affect the bottom line.
Step Six - Lead Generation and Promotions
Very few sales plans can be achieved without support in the form of lead generation efforts. The reason lead generation is so important is because of the enormous number of competitors vying for your business. In order to keep growing, you need to keep your name in front of potential and existing customers.
We teach people how to measure response. Again we set a goal for sales leads by channel, i.e.: social media, website, phone calls, and direct mail. We develop messages and promotional strategies such as; sales, contests, frequency programs, and customer appreciation events like fishing or sports events. We grade each promotional result and repeat those that work the best and discard those that don’t.
In summation; it is important to determine your goals, analyze the market, review what you are doing, identify variances, plan for the proper margins, and determine the best course of action to generate new business based on what works for your specific market.
We call this system the planning system that never fails. This has been implemented successfully in over 200 Organizations. We customize planning and training to your business and industry. Send us an email for our industry experience list, or visit our website.
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