How to Make Your 2018 Sales Plan

Are you thinking about your plan for 2018? Most business folks are starting to plan the year's goals and business projections. If you are making your 2018 sales plan here are a few tips to help start the year strong!

Company Goals vs. Sales Goals

Company goals are great; they are goals for the business as a whole. The sales team should have their own set of goals. Each salesperson on the team should develop their sales plan with a detailed description of how they will achieve these goals. The roadmap should include a prospecting cadence and quarterly revisions to remain on track throughout the year.

Revenue vs. Transactions

Will your plan include gross income, number of transactions, new accounts, upselling, referrals or all of the above? Think of the various ways you can meet your sales targets for the year. Don't underestimate the power of referrals, upselling and cross-selling. Referrals account for 10-12% of sales and are rarely ever used in sales plans. Why leave money on the table?

Look to the Past to Plan the Future

Where did your sales come from last year? Why? Are they the type of customers you want in your 2018 sales plan? What was the wow factor that made them decide to use you over the other available options? Do you consider the fact that most businesses lose 10% of their customers every year due to business factors? Is this number taken into account in your sales projections?

Customer Valuation

What kind of customers do you currently have in your business portfolio? Customers are divided into four categories.

(A) Customers; these are customers who are highly profitable and low maintenance. They are the customers you want to focus on getting in the portfolio.

(B) customers; these are customers that are pretty stable, are in the middle of the income stream and are usually pretty easy to maintain.

(C) customers; these are customers on the lower end of the income stream; they are stable, pay on time and take very a little effort to service.

(D) Customers; these are the customers who are low profit, always chasing the lowest price and are difficult to service. These are the customers you want to fire, and not add more to your customer portfolio.

Thinking Ahead

Did you lose an account last year to your competition? Are you eliminating prospects because they are doing business with your competition? These are overlooked opportunities to add to your sales plan. When developing a sales plan include even those who may not be looking at this time. You might be surprised to find they are not as happy as they appeared to be when you last spoke to them. The first part of the year is the time businesses evaluate buying decisions in most industries.

SWOT your Competition

Have you done a recent assessment of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? More importantly, have you done one in your competition? How about your customers? Knowing the sales landscape for your business helps to position your product in the best possible scenario to win new business. Try it; you will be enlightened by what you discover!

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