Contributors from members of the Copper team
It’s a new year, which means it’s time to rethink how your sales team is going to get across the finish line before 2023.
It might have been easy writing a sales business plan pre-2020, but with a remote or hybrid sales team, you’ll likely need to rethink your goals and tactics in 2022.
Remote work is the norm now, but how do you manage a fully remote sales team? It isn’t as easy as swinging by Dan’s cubicle to talk about his Q2 performance. Your sales plan needs to address not only the new reality of sourcing customers in a digital way, but also of managing a remote salesforce.
Whatever your goals, you need a solid plan backing up your ambitious goals so your sales team can hit their quotas — especially when they’re working remotely.
Curious about how to write a sales business plan? Let’s dive into why every remote biz needs one and 7 steps to write your own sales business plan template.
What is a sales plan and why does my remote team need one?
A sales plan is like a normal business plan, except that it’s focused exclusively on sales. A good sales business plan details everything your sales team needs to get results this year, including:
- Customer demographics
- Tactics and processes
A sales business plan is basically a sales bible. It’s both a strategy doc and a playbook for execution, which is important to keep your remote salesforce motivated and productive.
Honestly, every business needs a sales business plan, but if your sales team is working from home, it’s even more important. A sales business plan is going to help your team:
- Understand why their work matters.
- Meet (and maybe even exceed) their quotas.
- Clarify who does what and when.
It might take a little elbow grease to create a sales business plan in the first place, but once you’ve got your template on lock, your sales team will have everything they need to go the distance.
How to write a sales business plan in 7 steps
If you were going on a road trip, you’d probably punch the address into your GPS to find the best route to your destination, right?
Sales is no different. A sales business plan is like a map that gets you to your goals more quickly and with less fuss.
But if you’ve never written a sales business plan before, don’t worry. Follow these 7 steps to master sales planning for remote work.
1. Write your mission statement
What’s your company trying to accomplish? Who are you? Why do you do what you do? Why do you matter?
These are big questions, but your sales team needs to know the answers. Your mission statement should be the first part of your sales business plan because it explains your ultimate “why” to your sales folks.
This part of your sales business plan needs to include:
- Your company history: How long have you been in business? Have you ever pivoted or changed directions? Why?
- Unique selling proposition (USP): Your USP will help sales distinguish your brand from the competition. Leads will definitely ask you about this, so train your team on your USP!
- Positioning: How are your products, services, pricing and features different from anything else on the market?
2. Set realistic sales targets
Once you’ve clarified your mission and USP, it’s time to tie them to revenue targets. Some sales business plans have one-year revenue targets, but larger companies usually shoot for three- or five-year targets.
You might need to track total revenue per year, per quarter or per salesperson. You also might need to estimate your expenses and how they’ll affect your margins.
The key is to determine a realistic sales goal. Don’t pick a number out of thin air; do a little bit of forecasting to make sure your goal is reasonable. If you haven’t worked with a remote salesforce before, know that your figures might be a tad off as your team works through the kinks.
We also recommend:
- Talking to your reps: Don’t set a sales goal without talking to your team first. They’re out there doing the work and they know the market firsthand, so always consult with your sales team before you change the way they operate.
- Choosing metrics: Metrics make your goals smaller and more achievable. For example, instead of asking a rep to bring in $100,000 this year, you can also ask them to hit metrics like 50 cold calls a week or a 60% close rate, helping them get to that larger annual goal.
- Building accountability: The more visible your team’s goals are, the more likely they are to reach them. Goals don’t mean anything if you don’t review them, so make sure you conduct one-on-ones and set up goal-tracking software to hold your team accountable to their metrics.
3. Research your ideal customers
You’ve done the internal work for your sales business plan, but you can’t make any sales if you don’t understand your customers.
Every good sales planning doc does a deep-dive on their clients. Who is your target demographic? What are their pain points, and how do you solve them?
Chances are good that you’ll have 3-8 customer personas for your business. Look at your past customer data, customer service feedback or client interviews to make sure you understand your audience.
Everything else in your sales plan hinges on understanding your audience’s problems, so spend a good amount of time on this section. Collaborate with customer service, marketing, IT and finance so you leave no stone unturned.
4. Choose sales tactics
At this point, you know what your customers need. Now it’s time to make a plan!
Since your sales team is remote, they’ll need to do their jobs almost 100% virtually. That means you’ll need a different spread of tactics in 2022 than you may have used in the past. This could involve trying out tactics like:
- Cold calls
- Email campaigns
- Referral campaigns
- Affiliate campaigns
- Cross-selling and up-selling
There’s a lot of crossover here with marketing, so work with your marketing team to define which team handles leads and at what stage.
By the way, a CRM like Copper helps with the handoff between marketing and sales. It tracks your lead sources and history, which makes remote sales a lot simpler.
5. Pick your sales tech stack wisely
Once you know which sales and marketing tactics to use, your sales business plan needs to detail which tools you’ll keep in your tech stack. After all, you can’t expect your sales team to do their job without any help, right?
The thing is, you’ll probably need more tools on hand for a remote sales team. For example, you might need to set up VoIP for sales reps who make outbound calls from their home office.
Every business’s sales planning tech stack is different, but we recommend considering:
- Project management software like Asana or Trello
- A cloud-based office suite like Google Workspace
- Chatbot software like Drift
- Video chat software like Google Meet
- Internal chat software like Slack
- A customer relationship management platform like Copper
The key is to marry your tools with your sales tactics. This way, you can reduce tech bloat without leaving your sales pros high and dry.
6. Define roles
Who is responsible for which tactics on your team? Your sales business plan needs to include standard operating procedures (SOPs) so it’s crystal clear who’s doing what.
Better yet, plug these SOPs into your project management tool or CRM. This way, you can track all of your quotas and KPIs in an organized way that minimizes confusion.
7. Create a complete sales pipeline
The final piece of a sales business plan is a sales pipeline. This blends what you know about your customer personas, sales tactics, tools and team.
Basically, this section of your sales business plan should be a step-by-step playbook your sales team can use to do their jobs.
From awareness to brand advocacy, every stage of the customer journey involves some kind of action from your sales team.
Maybe your first touch is a cold email, and then you hit a lead with a demo request. Identify which steps leads take to become a customer, as well as the channel, tools and sales role that will handle it.
In practice, that might be sketched out like:
- Stage 1: Awareness
- Channel: Email marketing
- Tools: Gmail, email templates, Copper CRM
- Role: Sales specialist
Of course, the sales process gets more complicated as you add more customer profiles into the mix. Use a CRM like Copper to track each lead’s progress through the different stages in your pipeline and to get an idea of how effective your remote sales team really is.
Nail down your sales business plan template
We get it; you didn’t ask for the craziness that comes with remote work. But as a sales leader, it’s still your responsibility to keep your remote team productive and profitable.
Take this start of the new year as your opportunity to revamp sales for 2022. These 7 tips will help you get started — and if you need help with execution, Copper is here to help. Copper CRM makes it a breeze for remote sales teams to stay on the same page while giving prospects and customers a seamless, personalized experience. Take Copper for a free test drive now.