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Sales Plan Part-3: How to optimize your Sales Planning for Rep Success in 2021

6 minutes read

True success always starts with a plan. And for sales success, nothing beats a strategic sales plan. While your sales plan definitely benefits your sales executives by providing them with a roadmap to drive sales success, have you ever thought if it is helping your frontline sellers?

In today’s day and age, it’s extremely important to have a sales plan that aligns with the way that the bottom line operates and empowers them to succeed. Because after all, they are the ones who are mainly responsible for driving your sales to success.

Learn how to optimize your sales plan in such a way that it enables your reps to be successful

1. Conduct extensive research

Needless to say that before planning your sales for a financial year you would be conducting extensive research and analysis on,

  • The market niche

  • The industry trends

  • The competitors

  • The ideal customers, etc.

But all this is external research. This research fetches you the data that helps you to tackle external problems. There is one other crucial research which you need to conduct internally in your company. It is research and analysis of your front-line sales reps. This should be focused on understanding your sales reps’ capabilities and preferences.

Use the sales performance data and do an in-depth analysis of the past sales performances of the team and the sales outcomes. Apart from analyzing this data, you also need to conduct a survey of your employees to find out about various things like,

  • Their experience level
  • Their skill sets
  • Their achievements
  • Their preferences in terms of training method, study resources, tools, compensation etc
This information lays the foundation on which you can build the sales plan that enables your reps to be successful sellers

2. Involve sales enablement team in the planning process

The sales management (including senior sales leaders and front-line sales managers) certainly plays a crucial role in strategizing a sales plan. But the role of the sales enablement team is equally important. Because sales enablement professionals are responsible for empowering the sales reps with knowledge and skills that will help in setting them up for success.

So, it’s crucial to involve the sales enablement team in the sales planning process. Because they can contribute towards drafting a perfect sales training and development strategy. They can provide insights into,

  • How to best train the reps?
  • What would be a perfect time to train the reps?
  • What kind of training would help them reach their goals?
  • How much time should be allotted for training?
  • What technology and resources should you provide them?
  • And how to get the low performers to raise up their game?
This information helps you to draft the training and development section of your sales plan in such a way that it truly helps in enhancing your sales reps’ knowledge and skills

3. Optimize goals, DRIs, and deadlines

Defining goals, DRIs (Direct Responsible Individuals) and deadlines is an important part of a sales plan. This helps in providing a roadmap for the sales reps to achieve their goals and for the managers to track the progress of the sales.

The sales goals could be,

  • Revenue-based, for example, you might want your team to bring in a total revenue target of $10 million.

  • Or volume-based, where you want your reps to bring in 100 new customers or sell 450 units of a product

Now all these targets would have a timeline as well before which they need to be achieved.

But it’s important to make sure that your sales goals are focus on your reps’ capabilities. Every sales team will have,

  • Some underperformers
  • Some over performers
  • And some medium performers
So it is important that you create persona groups and assign goals and deadlines according to the employees’ capabilities. You can optimize this further by assigning the goals depending on,
  • The market conditions that the reps are operating in
  • The customer personas that they are dealing with
  • The territory where they are selling and the rules and regulations of doing business in that territory

If they are operating in difficult conditions, make sure that you give them extra time to achieve the goals assigned to them.

This way you will be able to avoid overwhelming your salespeople

4. Plan training according to the learning needs of the employees

Training & development is a section in the sales plan in which you outline

  • The training plan for the sales reps

  • And the content resources and tools that they should use

But it’s important that you keep in mind the training needs of the salespeople while drafting this section.

All your sales reps do not need to be trained in the same way, on the same set of things. The training should not be common for everyone unless you are training them for

  • A new product launch
  • Or on a new process
  • Or a new system
For generic training or coaching, you can divide your sales team into various clusters depending on their experience, skill level, and expertise. Then provide training or coaching to them according to their learning needs.

5. Sales budget should include accurate sales compensation

The sales budget is another important part of a sales plan where you assign an annual budget towards sales. While drafting this you need to keep in mind that sales reps are driven and motivated by good compensations and incentives. So, make sure that your annual sales budget includes a good amount of money towards the sales compensation.

It should include,

  • Pay (salary and commission)
  • Sales Contest prizes
  • Awards
  • Opportunities to attend sales events (their travel and accommodation expenses)
  • Team bonding activities
  • Food etc

Final Remarks

In today’s world, profitable sales don’t happen without a good sales plan that truly empowers the reps to be successful. Fortunately, it is not hard to make one. By implementing the ideas discussed in this blog, you can easily document a sales plan that is sales rep friendly.

Learn how to use strategic and tactical planning to create a perfect sales plan

Strategic vs Tactical planning in Sales

Want to know what sales experts are predicting about sales in 2021?

Read: 6 Trends that Sales Experts are predicting for 2021

Want to know how to plan your sales enablement in the year 2021?

Read: The Sales Enablement 2021 Yearly Planning Guide

Want to create a remote sales playbook?

Read: How to Create a Remote Sales Playbook?

Published on Tue Jun 15 2021

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