Do you have a “sales action plan?” If not, or if you don’t fully understand the difference between a sales plan and a sales action plan, here are some essential insights for how to make an action plan to increase sales.
Is There a Difference Between a Sales Plan and a Sales Action Plan?
Although some might use the terms interchangeably, there is a difference between a sales plan and a sales action plan. A sales plan is a bigger-picture document that identifies strategic sales growth objectives and the general path(s) to achieve them. A sales plan can, for example, document target markets, revenue goals, and your sales team structure.
Think in terms of a GPS mapping program or app: if you key in a destination, the first level of directional detail might give you options for different primary routes. When you choose one of these paths to reach your goal, the next level of detail shows main milestones. This is similar to a sales plan. It is a big-picture view, zoomed in to actional objectives.
A sales action plan, on the other hand, details the tactics and processes necessary to reach your strategic sales goals. Using our GPS metaphor, a sales action plan gives you the turn-by-turn details you’ll need to reach your revenue and growth destinations.
With that distinction in mind, what are some essential sales action plan ideas and elements?
Sales Action Plan Essential #1: Alignment with Your Sales Plan
Your sales action plan should directly relate to your bigger-picture sales plan goals. Any objective spelled out in the sales plan should be spelled out in detail in your sales action plan. For clarity, use consistent terminology in both plans.
Sales Action Plan Essential #2: Details
An effective sales action plan makes your sales plan actionable. That might sound obvious, but it’s crucial for your sales action plan to include enough detail to provide reliable direction and eliminate gray areas. By implementing consistent sales methods throughout your organization and territories, your company can be more agile in responding to market forces or in-house turnover. What’s more, your company will have a more consistent and recognizable brand identity.
Sales Action Plan Essential #3: Connection to Your CRM
For your sales action plan to be truly effective – and serve to continually increase sales and improve your overall sales plan – it needs to be measurable. By connecting sales action plan milestones to data in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, you can track sales, forecast reliably, and make timely process adjustments, as necessary.
Sales Action Plan Essential #4: Accountability
If your sales action plan includes clear levels of detail and expectations, your sales reps are armed with a tremendous tool to help them reach their goals. It can motivate and inspire them to success! If they fall short, however, the sales action plan – via the CRM connection – also is a tool that holds them accountable.
Looking for a sales action plan example? Frankly, it would probably be misleading or incomplete. Every industry, every market, and every sales organization brings its own unique characteristics, challenges, and solutions. But if your objective is to understand how to make an action plan to increase sales, taking the Sales Agility Assessment (SAA) from Sales Xceleration is a great starting point. The SAA can help you understand your current sales process and use that knowledge to build a sales action plan for sustainable sales and revenue growth. To utilize this free tool, click here. To connect with an Outsourced VP of Sales in your area, click here. Or contact us today at 844.874.7253.