After three years of writing with four ebooks on Amazon and a totally unimpressive number of sales, I’ve come to realize that selling is more than just putting out a product or service, telling people about it, and sitting back waiting for them to buy. You actually have to convince them to come and buy. Now, you might say, “but that’s marketing and I do it.” Yes, convincing people to buy your product or use your service is marketing, and you probably do it (though you might not even be doing it well). But do you make it easy for them to get to where your product or service is? Do you make it easy for them to remember your business when they need what you offer? Do you give them a reason to pick you out of the multitude that provides the same thing you offer?
Most importantly, do you give them a reason to come back after their first time? Selling successfully requires you to position yourself as the alpha and omega of your customers’ needs. To do that, you need to have a sales plan that successfully anticipates your customers’ needs and gives you options to respond to them and further boost your credibility. In other words, you need a data-driven sales plan.
In this article, we’ll define what makes a sales plan data-driven, the elements of a good sales plan, how to create a sales plan with data insights, and why you need a data-driven sales plan. If you are already familiar with what a sales plan is, you can use the table of contents to skip to the section that most interests you.
Table of Contents
What Makes a Good Sales Plan?
Before discussing what makes a sales plan good and effective, let’s precisely define a sales plan. A sales plan is a documented strategy describing your sales goals, your proposed methods of achieving them, and the resources required to achieve them. Typically, a sales plan is designed to increase your revenue and aid in long-term growth by helping you solidify and expand your customer base over time.
With the sales plan definition above, it is evident that some elements and components must be present in your sales plan for it to be effective. Let’s take a look at some of these components:
- Sales goals: This is an obvious one. For your sales plan to approach anything resembling effectiveness, it needs to contain clearly defined sales goals. Percentage of existing customers you would like to retain, the lead-to-close ratio for new customers, sales goals for each segment of your sales team, target increase in revenue at the end of a particular time-frame, target sales numbers for a segment of your audience, etc. All these and more must be included in your sales plan. Not only should they be included, but you must also clearly define them to align with the long-term growth plan for your business.
- Audience segmentation and Ideal Customer Profiles: To sell effectively, you need to know who you want to sell to. Some parts of your audience are more valuable than others. They are more receptive to your message, and they’ll buy faster and pay better. These are the parts of your audience that you need to focus on (you shouldn’t necessarily ignore the other parts). To successfully segment your audience, you need to have an Ideal Customer Persona/Profile. Your ideal customer is that person for whom your product or service is an answer to their prayers. You only have to get it in front of them for them to start buying. Once you have your ideal customer profile, you can use it to segment your audience. The closer a member of the audience is to your IDP, the more valuable they are to your business. Once you have a database of these valuable audience members, you can personalize your sales process to target them more effectively.
- Channel strategy: For maximum effectiveness, your sales plan must contain a process for selecting the best channels to reach your customers. The faster you can reach your customers, the quicker you can convert them, and the less you have to spend on outreach. There are several channels you can use to reach your customers. Picking the most effective one has the potential to help you increase your business reach.
- Customer journey map/sales process: Having a sales process benefits you in two ways. First, it makes it easier for your customers to get from point A to point B in their journey to making a purchase. The smoother and more defined the sales process is, the more likely they will get to the end of the journey and even come back for more. Second, having a well-defined sales process and customer journey map makes it easy for your sales team to convert leads faster. You can also bring on new salespeople and get them out into the field as quickly as you want. All they have to do is learn the already-developed process that is working well for you.
- Value proposition: Your sales business plan must contain a value message that sets your business apart from the crowd. This statement summarizes what you do and why you are the best person doing it. It is the punchline of your marketing message. Some of the things that go into creating your value proposition are the Unique Selling Point (USP) of your product, the swiftness of your service, additional bonuses from buying your product, etc.
- Performance metrics: What gets measured gets done. For your sales plan to be effective, you need to measure what you have done and what you have yet to do. You need metrics that you can keep track of to stay informed about what is working and what is not working. Having quality performance metrics helps to maximize your sales resources.
Building a Data-Driven Sales Business Plan: Why and How
A data-driven sales strategy involves using data to define your sales goals and support your sales decisions. The days of intuition-driven sales are long gone. Nowadays, it doesn’t matter much if your salespeople could sell ice to Eskimos; without quality data, they’ll always be behind the curve. According to research, 40% of organizations indicate that scattered information and limited visibility into data impair their sales organization. This is evidence of the importance of data for your sales development plan. So how exactly do you build a data-driven sales strategy? Here are a few tips:
- Develop a data-driven company mindset: The very first step to building a successful data-driven sales action plan is to simply re-orient the company mindset towards more data-dependence. Get your teams on-board with making data-driven decisions. Establish KPIs and teach the team to integrate them into their decision-making process.
- Develop a centralized data collection and management process: Sometimes, it is not about how much data you have but how well you are using it. Is the data readily available to your teams? Is it integrated into their workflows for easy access? You need to build a centralized data collection process that collates the data collected by different departments, cleans it up, structures it, and makes it available in an easy-to-use format. The easier it is for your sales team to access data, the easier it is for them to make data-driven decisions.
- Update your technology stack across the board: To successfully integrate data into your sales teams’ workflows, you need up-to-date technology that can seamlessly process data and provide useful output. Implementing tools with machine learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities can go a long way in helping you develop a data-driven sales strategy that can revolutionize your sales.
- Carry out necessary training for your teams: If your teams have the data and the tools but don’t know how to use them, your sales process remains unchanged. You need to give your teams the necessary training to use the data and tools effectively.
Data shows that companies that rate themselves as data-driven perform better financially and operationally than competitors. This shows just how beneficial it is for you to develop a data-driven strategy in your sales process. Knowing how to use sales data to inform business decisions is one of the biggest edges you could give your business over competitors.
How To Collect Data for Your Sales Action Plan
One problem remains, though. How do you collect the data you need? While your teams might bring in data from their activities in the field, they cannot bring in near the amount of data you need. So you need a specialized data collection solution to seamlessly build a centralized data collection process for your data-driven sales strategy. Here’s where web scraping comes in. Web scraping works by using bots called crawlers to parse through the HTML of a target web page and extract data according to some preset parameters. With web scraping, you can easily extract data in large volumes. Even better, you can automate your data collection process, making it a lot easier to build a centralized data collection mechanism to fuel your sales process. Web scraping offers a unique and efficient method to create a data-driven sales plan with quality and up-to-date data insights.
How To Create a Sales Plan With Data Insights From Scraping Robot
To get the most efficient data scraping experience for your sales process, I recommend using Scraping Robot as your web scraping solution. At Scraping Robot, we make it as easy as possible to get the data you need with minimal effort and expenses. To get started, all you have to do is send a message to us, and our developers will get started creating your custom scraping solution. Our scraping service uses APIs and multiple proxies to enable you to collect data in real-time and from multiple pages simultaneously. Our scraping service delivers the data you need in an easy-to-use format that you can easily integrate into your data-driven sales process.
As much as having a sales plan is crucial to having a successful business, making your sales plan data-driven is essential to its success. At Scraping Robot, our job is to make it very easy for you to collect and collate the data you need to develop your sales development plan.
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