Sales plan - why doesn't it work?

Customer acquisition

Profit is the main goal of every company operating on the market. The key to its implementation is a well-thought-out, well-prepared sales plan. But what if it doesn't work?

You offer outstanding products or services, employ a great team of traders and operate according to a carefully prepared strategy, and yet you do not see the satisfactory results. The sales plan created by you does not guarantee the expected income, it does not provide as many customers as you wanted to be, and therefore it does not support your company's development. How to change it? Where could the cause of failure lie?

What gives a good sales plan?

According to the definition, a sales plan is a document prepared by an enterprise selling specific goods. A plan represents the number of individual products that will be sold to customers over a specified period - usually the next calendar year.

A properly prepared sales plan defines the goals of salespeople and sets a path for them to follow to achieve the company's goals. It is a kind of base for effective sales. It indicates which models of interaction with clients to choose and which clients are the priority, determines the needs of recipients and methods of solving their problems, presents stages of the sales processand also determines the ways of taking advantage of the available market opportunities. The sales plan should also assume a potential risk that may hinder the achievement of sales goals. When will the sales plan not fulfill its functions?

Mistakes in the preparation of the sales plan

One of the basic mistakes is the incorrect definition of the target group or insufficient analysis of the audience. Ignorance of potential customers makes it impossible to prepare an effective plan. When planning sales, the needs and expectations of customers should be taken into account. The sales strategy should include elements that distinguish the company and its products from the competition, as well as use the language of benefits tailored to the target group. 

The second mistake is an inadequate sales forecast. Forecasting should be based on reasonable premises, especially those that are not largely dependent on external factors - they are in some way constant. The basis for accurate sales forecasting are:

  • market analyzes - clients, competition, market situation, trends and mechanisms,
  • observations of the economic, political, social and other situation - e.g. inflation, pandemic influences, etc.

The sales plan should include a specific one pricing strategy. Unfortunately, adopting a wrong strategy may reduce the effectiveness of the activities carried out. Low prices are usually associated with higher interest and increased sales, but do not guarantee a good position on the market. Higher ones may bring a certain position in the industry, but they require greater care for the flawless quality of the offered products. The pricing strategy should be based on a comprehensive market analysis, taking into account the prices of similar products / services as well as the costs of production or importation. Prices must guarantee a profit. At the same time, they should be competitive.

Among the common mistakes when creating a sales plan, we will also mention:

  • disregard seasonality of sales,
  • unclear, difficult to understand or impossible sales goals,
  • failure to take into account all factors (opportunities and threats) that may affect sales.

Errors in the implementation of the sales plan

Sales planning alone is not enough. The execution, i.e. the implementation of the assumed plan, is of key importance. The success of the sales plan depends largely on the salespeople. What can reduce the effectiveness of sales activities?

First of all, the lack of high sales skills. A salesperson should be distinguished by above-average competences in the field of marketing, sales and customer service. He should listen actively, use the language of benefits in his messages and have a wide knowledge of the product or service presented. In addition, he must know how to take advantage of opportunities in the market. Professionalism, openness and self-confidence are also of great importance in contact with the client. Each employer should provide his employees with appropriate conditions for the development and acquisition of new knowledge useful in everyday work. Employee development methodsworth using are:

  • traditional training,
  • e-learning,
  • mentoring and coaching.

The effective implementation of the sales plan is also influenced by the employees' motivation to act. A poor atmosphere in the company, injustice, poor employment conditions and treating employees as money machines are factors that lower their commitment to work. This has a negative impact on the functioning of the entire company. The entrepreneur must offer employees adequate remuneration, appropriate benefits and the necessary tools for work. In addition, he should ensure that the company has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. It is of great importance in building good relationships group integration. Regular meetings and integration trips they add motivation to act, perfectly relax and relieve tension.

The effectiveness of the sales plan implementation depends to some extent on the superiors. Sales team coordinators should create an atmosphere of appreciation, mutual trust and fair treatment in the group. Superiors must set a good example. They should correct traders' mistakes, help them solve problems and motivate them to act.

Salespeople do not fully commit to their professional duties if the demands placed on them are too high. The key to the effective implementation of the sales plan is to adjust the strategy to the real possibilities of sellers, the market situation and other factors - constant and variable. 

A carefully prepared and consistently implemented sales plan is an opportunity for spectacular success in business. Advertising is a great support for sales. Adequate brand promotion and its products will greatly facilitate the work of traders, and will provide you with attractive profits.

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