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How do you know if you are track to win the sales you need over the coming months? Part 1

Many of us suffer from the curse of over-optimistic sales planning

At planning time everyone is positive. We know we are going to crush last year’s figures! We know we will grow our company and achieve bigger and better things. The only issue is we often don’t quite know how we will do it…

Another issue with planning is that we rarely plan for decline. I have written before about the fact that you can expect to lose between 14% of your customers next year (Source: Other customers will place less print with you. So the amount of you need to achieve your targets may be far greater than you think.

Worse still, many people do not know that they will not achieve their targets until it is too late. It is often only at the end of the target period that we have a true sense of whether we are on track for success or not.

Realistic sales planning is vital if you are to achieve your goals

People that create a sales plan retain control of their sales figures. They are much more likely to achieve the sales that they set out to win. They know what is working and what is not. Those that ignore the planning process may find that their results fall far short of their expectations. This lack of control may mean that their turnover actually declines.

If you want to achieve the sales results that you want, it is worth following this five-stage process:

1. Plan the sales journey

What path do you lead your prospects along when you try to sell to them? It is important to understand the stages that they must pass in order to become customers. You may have several journeys according to different sales channels.

Here is the journey that my prospects take when I use social media as a sales channel:

– We connect on social media

– They engage with my content

– We start a 1-2-1 dialogue on social media

– I invite them to have a call

– We agree that it is worth having a follow-up sales conversation

– They become a customer

In nearly all cases, prospects have to go through each of these stages in order to become a customer. Knowing and understanding these stages helps me plan sales better. Especially when I understand the numbers behind each stage.

2. Set numbers

Naturally, not all the prospects I connect with on social media become customers! At each stage some prospects stop being prospects. They fall out of my sales funnel.

It is useful to measure the success rate of each stage. For instance, I know how many people usually become customers after the last sales call. And I know how many people agree to a follow up sales call after the initial conversation. In this way, I can track back to the beginning of the journey. I know how many prospects I will normally have to connect with on social media in order to win a customer.

The same process applies to any sales journey. Once we have a rough idea of these numbers we can set some targets. But they have to be the right ones.

This article is continued here

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