6 Steps to Building an Actionable Sales Plan
Entrepreneur's New Year’s Guide
While a great product is the core of any business, a clear sales and marketing strategy is vital to growth and success. Ads, social media, and direct outreach are all fun buzz words, but what do they really mean? How do you scale effectively scale these channels to help your business grow?
From my experiences as CEO of Travefy, here are six tips and tools to help you build an actionable and data-driven marketing plan that can grow your business.
1. Research your customers
It is impossible to build a sales and marketing plan if you don’t know who you’re selling to. Though it’s a basic component of marketing strategy, many organizations fail to effectively define their target customer.
Be sure to define who your ideal customer is and then research! What’s the market size? What tools and platforms do they use? These answers will help you understand what types of sales channels can effectively reach them.
2. Think cross-platform
A strong sales and marketing strategy is diversified. This allows you to not only test a variety of strategies and channels and learn as much as possible, but also spreads risk if any one fails. (Remember how your mother told you not to put all of your eggs in one basket?)
As such, think across platforms and set plans that leverage a variety of outreach channels, such as ads, conferences, direct outreach, and more.
3. Know your goals
Just like it is essential to define your target customer, it is also imperative to define the ideal outcome for your sales and marketing plan. Goals can vary across organizations and company stages and lead to very distinct marketing plans.
For example, a plan focused on pure growth or customer acquisition is very different from one focused on testing acquisition costs across channels.
Related: 8 Steps to Crushing Ridiculous Goals
4. Set targets
Beyond your initial goals, make sure to set clear data-driven targets for each channel or segment within your sales and marketing plan.
These targets or estimates should include both costs and outputs. If, for instance, you’re setting out your plans for ads, get granular and estimate your AdWords budgets and expected conversion cost for a new customer.
This both helps you plan for the future and also understand if you’ve been successful (or not).
5. Set financial triggers
In addition to targets, you can also set financial triggers that let you know when to scale a channel.
I’ll use the same example: If you’re testing a wide variety of channels, you might note that once your AdWords acquisition cost is below a certain amount, you’ve justified adding more dollars to that channel.
6. Continue to evaluate
At the end of the day, you’ve identified your customers and constructed a data-driven plan to reach them across a variety of channels.
You still can’t get complacent. Customers and markets (and really everything in life) change. As a result, recognize that your sales and marketing plan is not written in stone and be willing to adapt to any changes and update it at a moment's notice.
Related: The False Data About Sales