Creating a sales plan can help you strategize and set goals, but creating an actionable sales plan is what you really need to get the sales results you’re looking for. In fact, it is the first—and very critical—step in protecting, nurturing, and securing clients and customers. Developing a sustainable and actionable sales plan doesn’t need to be a long and painful process, but it does require thoughtfulness and intention.
An actionable sales plan doesn’t just describe what your goals are; rather it details how you will achieve those goals. A well-prepared and actionable sales plan should not only include sales goals and prospective clients, but a calendar and detailed to-do list as well.
An actionable sales plan serves three key purposes:
- Provides a clear assessment of whether you are in the marketing or sales phase of the process
- Aligns your team around a common purpose
- Provides a framework of actionable steps to take
Conduct a network audit.
The first step in creating an actionable sales plan is to conduct a network audit. A network audit is the process of identifying the people who make up your personal and professional network and assessing each person’s status in the marketing-to-sales funnel.
If a network audit reveals that most of your contacts aren’t ripe for a potential sale just yet, then you are in the marketing phase. If, on the other hand, you have several contacts and relationships that are ripe for a possible sale, you are in the sales phase of the process.
Build authentic relationships.
Savvy clients and customers can sniff out an inauthentic sales pitch a mile away. Authenticity, on the other hand, is far more valuable. We know that people often make decisions—including sales decisions—based on emotion. They then look for justifications to support their emotional decision. Therefore, your clients, potential clients, and contacts must consider you trustworthy and authentic to cultivate positive emotions. Not to mention that the most long-lasting and positive relationships of any kind, including business relationships, are built on trust.
The beauty of this step is that you can build authentic relationships with everyone in your network, regardless of whether the contact is in the sales phase. Building authentic relationships yields short-term rewards and creates a positive reputation within your network and bolsters brand awareness.
Segment your sales prospects: Protect, Nurture, and Secure
Sales prospects fall into one of three categories:
- Protect: current clients and customers who you want to keep as clients or customers
- Nurture: current clients and customers that are ripe for growth
- Secure: prospects that you’d like to transition into clients or customers
By segmenting your sales prospects into these three categories, you can tailor the specific actions taken in each particular opportunity to yield more productive results and continue building an authentic relationship.
Lead Qualification Roadmap
Not every lead or prospect is going to be a viable sale. To avoid spending time, energy, and resources on trying to secure prospects that aren’t viable, an actionable sales plan should include a lead qualification roadmap. There are several variations on lead generation roadmaps, and we prefer to use a 7-factor test to know that consists of:
- Identification: do you know the name and company of the prospect?
- Problem: does the prospect have an identifiable problem?
- Solution: do you have a solution to this problem?
- Priority: is finding a solution to the problem a priority for the prospect?
- Authorization: who has authority to make decisions regarding sales?
- Outlook: what are the expected outcomes and goals?
- Resources: does the prospect have the resources (money, personnel, etc.) to invest in the sale?
An actionable sales plan will tailor the above-mentioned factors based on your business, products, and services offered, and specific goals and objectives.