5 Mistakes That Will Ruin Even The Best Sales Plan

Marta Balukiewicz in

Blog/5 Mistakes That Will Ruin Even The Best Sales Plan

Drawing up your sales plan for 2018? Wondering how to put yourself in a position to meet your goals? Even the most thorough and detailed sales plan can collapse if you won’t pay attention to a number of essential factors. We’ve used our own and our customers’ experience to identify them for you.

The most common mistakes in sales plans

No proper lead prioritization, poorly planned sales reps’ vacations, or unrealistic, inflated targets. These are some of the most common sales mistakes that can ruin your plan.

#1 NO CONTROL OVER THE SALES PROCESS

If you haven’t been running a CRM, it’s high time you start using one. A comprehensive analysis of the entire process will help you determine the weak points and eliminate them.

The sales process (depending on the product, that is) should be smooth and as short as possible. If the service you offer is complicated and its implementation requires time, keep that in mind when setting sales targets for every month.

For instance, a software house offers implementation of a solution for bookkeeping automation at large corporations. It takes 3-5 months to complete the process. If the payment has been set for after the service has been delivered, then it has a significant impact on the annual budget.

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#2 INABILITY TO OBTAIN NEW LEADS

Regardless of the industry you’re in, or the stage of development you’re at, you need a steady inflow of sales leads. Without it, you won’t be able to sustain growth and that’s what every business strives for. Even if it sounds obvious, we often forget about this and start reacting only when all the leads have dried up.

Do you get most of your clients into the funnel via the website? Maybe you’re active on Quora and/or send cold emails? Remember that drawing leads from a single source is rather risky. Never keep all your eggs in one basket.

The best way to go is to compare the outbound and inbound strategies available to you, and then design a plan based on multiple sources you have access to. Estimating the number of potential leads from each channel will help you plan your sales to an extent.

#3 NOT KNOWING A WHOLE LOT ABOUT YOUR LEADS

Don’t know who you’re selling to? Don’t know how to adjust the offer? I suppose it goes without saying that it should be personalized to the highest degree possible. That’s why you should analyze the clients you’ve won so far, group similar ones, those you’ve had the best relations with, and those bringing in the most revenue to your business. Using a proper marketing strategy, you’ll be able to reach the right target group.

Before your sales reps first reach out to a lead, they should know as much as they can about him. Sales automation tools or pre-sales solutions that qualify leads will assist them in the process.

You can also automate the sales process by using services of a company that will generate quality leads for you, for instance, by targeting only software houses with your cold email campaign you can rest assured that you’re reaching individuals from the IT industry.

#4 NO LEAD PRIORITIZATION

Any salesperson is familiar with the 80/20 Pareto principle. Don’t let your sales reps waste time on leads that don’t generate a higher profit. When planning next year sales, carefully analyze the results you’ve had thus far and pay attention to the quality of leads.

For instance, it may happen that you keep getting leads with private email addresses but your actual target is B2B companies. Your sales reps should first contact those people, who have provided their business addresses. Next, figure out how to adjust your marketing operations in order to obtain only business emails.

#5 POORLY PLANNED VACATIONS AND HOLIDAYS

All the holiday breaks, extended weekends, vacations, and other days off may affect sales, or even cause them to cease temporarily. Make sure there aren’t too many salespeople going on vacation at the same time and take holiday season lead drops into account.

By acting in advance, you can turn things around to your advantage (read more on how to avoid a summertime sales slide).

Final word

“Plans are useless but planning is indispensable” – Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States used to say.

Regardless of how well you’ll plan your budget, structure, or business plan, you must understand you may not be able to execute on all your assumptions. Pinpointing and eliminating the most common mistakes will increase your chances of succeeding.

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Marta Balukiewicz

Former journalist. Loves to ride a motorcycle, writes about B2B marketing with a passion. Thanks to work in RightHello she knows the secrets of lead generation and cold email campaigns. Privately a big fan of Iron Man.