Sales Planning - An Overview

Selling is an art. Some people might be born salesmen. However everyone can become a salesman with sufficient training and practice. Don’t we use sales tactics in every relationship and interactions in our life?. We sell products; we sell ideas, concepts, solutions, service etc.

When we talk about conceptual selling process, we are essentially referring to a different approach to selling your product. Every customer has a need and every seller has a product. When the two meet and find the best fit, the interaction results in a sale. However, there are several types of selling processes that are adapted by different industries.

When an individual salesman is selling personally to a buyer be it an individual or organization in B2B or B2C, he would need to have a definite approach to selling. Keeping the customer focus in mind, all industries have now begun to adapt the consultative mode of selling. Some experts call it as Concept selling too.

In consultative mode of selling, you look at the customer’s business; understand his needs from his perspective. The salesman takes time to study the needs and define the details, before using the information to design the solution.

The selling process further involves presenting the solution design to the customer, obtaining his approval after detailing, discussions and finally going on to negotiations and closing the sales call with a commitment from the buyer.

The success of consultative selling process lies on the shoulders of the salesman and his capabilities. The skill with which he cultivates the situation and leads it to its logical conclusion will effect the sales deal in a major way. Managing to cultivate sales lead and managing the entire sales process calls for a disciplined approach to selling. Planning and reviewing of the case status is essential as well as crucial at every stage.

There are several IT applications and systems that help you manage your sales activity. Multi national companies who have sales networks across various countries depend upon the IT applications to gain visibility over sales development and monitor the activities. Such applications are exhaustive and become an important source of information to the Organization for knowledge management purposes. If in case you do not have access to a readymade application, one can easily develop a format using spreadsheets and maintain the same for use as a planner.

The sales planner would ideally contain information with regard to the prospective customers, their business, organization, estimated business potential, their buying behavior, previous history of buying as well as the key contacts and any other information relevant to the customer’s business. It helps to pen down the strategy that you plan to adapt to build on this sales lead.

With every meeting that you hold or attend with this customer, you will need to make detailed notes of the meeting, your observations, and your next plan of action as well as attach the minutes of the meeting. Review of this planner will help you identify your current status with reference to the sales process and help you plan your approach for the next stage.

When you are busy making sales calls all through the month, such planning tools will be of great advantage. At a glance you will be able to identify which way the particular prospective lead is moving and help you plan your strategies to move forward. Besides, the data comes in useful at different times for your sales planning and marketing purposes too.

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