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Strategic sales planning is an involved business activity that covers several different stages to reach a desired goal. Common activities in this process include setting objectives, conducting an environmental scan, formulating and implementing strategies, and evaluating the results. All companies go through these steps, whether in part or in full. The purpose of strategic sales planning is to create a competitive advantage in a market and induce high consumer sales. Companies may change sales strategies frequently in order to remain competitive and stay ahead of shifts in consumer demand or desires.
Like most business planning activities, strategic sales planning requires objectives as the starting point. Owners, executives, and other employees can all help set goals and objectives for the sales department. Common goals may include reaching high dollar amounts, selling out old or obsolete products, and moving new products into the market. Many different goals can be under a larger umbrella of goals or sales strategies. Again, the goals, objectives, and strategies will most likely change due to external market forces.
An environmental scan is necessary to formulate strategies in strategic sales planning. The scan looks at both internal and external factors that can affect a company’s sales. Each factor discovered may have some impact on strategy formulation, though not all factors may have the same importance. When formulating sales strategies, it is then wise for companies to rank the impact of all factors discovered during the environmental scan. The sales strategy will then have specific attributes and characteristics that will gain the most benefits from current market conditions.
Implementing sales strategies are the physical process of working formulated sales plans. Strategic sales planning may call for a gradual implementation of the new sales plan. Either way, all employees involved must be aware of the situation and how a company expects the plans to work. Failure to educate employees can result in poor implementation and poor sales results. Tipping off competitors is another potential downside from poorly executed sales plans as this allows a competitors to change their sales plans.
Owners and executives must review the sales strategies for success under standard strategic sales planning. Failure to do so may result in poor business results. Changes to the sales plan may also be necessary once implemented into the market. This occurs as consumer preferences change or other movements occur in the open market.
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