How to Build a Sales Plan for Your Craft Food Business
The 5 Key Components of a Successful Outreach Approach
Your sales plan establishes a strategy for identifying sales targets, i.e. prospective customers, retailers or even funding partners. It lays out the steps you will take to connect with them and the tactics and tools used to do so. Sales are achieved by establishing recognition and credibility (awareness), developing an understanding of your product/s (education) and persuasion based on unique value (consideration). These are considered the ‘pre-conversion’ phases in a sales cycle. Pre-conversion refers to the time and efforts that happen before a sale has been made.
Remember that sales is, in large part, a numbers game—the more outreach you do and relationships you build, the more likely you are to increase your sales and retail placements. You will have to develop tough skin, and fast! Handling rejection, learning from feedback and getting yourself back out into the field is a huge part of being successful at sales—resilience is key!
Your plan should be broken down into five (5) sections designed to:
- Set your goals and measurable objectives (goals & metrics).
- Define a strategy to identify retail or other prospects and choose sales approaches that are suited to target them (strategies).
- Identify sales tools and delivery methods (tactics).
- Detail out the steps you’ll take to connect with retailers or other audiences (process).
- Circle back to adjust your goals and measurable objectives as you gain experience and gather input and data (goals & metrics).
Your sales outreach plan will go hand-in-hand with your product launch strategy and ongoing marketing plan. Make sure to revisit and update your strategies and plans every 2-3 quarters. These are ‘living’ documents that will change based on what you learn about your audiences and their motivations for buying your product!
1. Goals & Metrics
Establish SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timebound) goals for your sales outreach. Typically three is a good number to start with. The goals are usually tied to monetary or other tracked figures.
Each strategy lays out the approach you will take to achieve your three established goals. They are also tied to the pre-conversion portion of the sales cycle. This ensures that they are relevant to where your prospect is in the buying process. Your strategies are developed directly into the tactics it will take to support them.
Tactics are the tools and delivery methods you use to deliver the right message to your target audience at the right time in order move them forward in the buying process. In a sales plan, tactics are broken down by your three defined strategies and are the components that make up each individual approach. Your tactics will become the basis of the step-by-step plan that you will lay out in your process.
Your sales process consists of the stages that your prospect will move through from initial idea or inquiry to a closed sale. This is the section where you decide on the specific steps that you will take to get them there. The process consists of your tactics organized into a step-by-step guide to implementation.
5. Goals and Metrics Assessment
The last section is a reminder to revisit your goals and measurable objectives regularly to assess their effectiveness, feasibility and traction. If you are regularly exceeding your sales, set the bar even higher! Or if your prospect close rate isn’t attainable, adjust accordingly so your metrics are achievable.
Need help creating your sales plan? We offer a variety of consulting services as well as customized strategies and other marketing solutions. Contact us today for more information.