9 Tips to Writing a Sales Plan

Whether you’re engaged in health insurance sales or another business, it is very helpful – to you and your agency or employer – if you develop an annual (or more frequent) sales plan that outlines your strategy for reaching your sales goals.

Executive Summary

Start by creating your executive summary. This should include an introduction to you, your business, the problem/challenge in the market, and why you are best positioned to solve or address the challenge. Remember, this is a summary, so it’s best for this portion of your sales plan not to exceed a few paragraphs.

Business/Product Definition

Your sales plan needs to provide detailed information on who you are, what you sell, and how you’re planning to take on the market. It must contain measurable goals. If you’re selling something that helps your customers address an as-yet unmet need, describe how your offering can improve your customers’ health, save them money, or otherwise improve their lives.

Industry Analysis

Provide a snapshot of others in the industry. Describe what others do (as compared to what you plan to do). Provide information on how your solution is similar to or better than others available.

Describe Your Customers

Do a SWOT analysis of your customers. What are strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? Do you understand how your target prospects/customers make decisions about what you’re selling? For example, if you’re selling small group health insurance, do you know how many small businesses are in your targeted market area? Are decisions made by a committee or by one or two senior people (such as the business owner)?

Competitive Advantages

Set the stage for how you plan to succeed. Is your portfolio of products and services different from your competitors’? If you’re marketing a new health plan, what will make it more attractive to your targeted prospects (than, perhaps, what is being marketing by others)? Are the rates more competitive? Is the provider network better? What will give you the edge?

What’s Your Marketing Plan?

What, specifically, is part of your sales and marketing plan? What are your short-term and long-term revenue goals? What is your geographic focus? How did you select that area? Was it random? Was it convenience? Is it because you’ve done research and businesses in your planned target area are not already being courted by others? What are your planned tactics? Define your advertising approach. Will you be using television, radio, newspapers, or online media? What about direct mail or email? You should discuss all of the planned vehicles and their related costs in your sales plan.

Don’t Forget Retention

While attracting new customers is important, don’t forget that retaining current customers is as important as getting new ones. Make certain a portion of your plan includes a discussion on retention efforts for the next quarter or year. Referrals can go a long way in helping you meet your revenue goals.

Thoughts on Formatting

While it’s true there’s no single format that works for every business plan, it’s good to balance your informative and useful content with an attractive design or format. Make use of bullet points, graphics, tables, and other devices to keep your readers interested in what you have to say. Break your sections down into readily understood and clearly titled sections.

More Resources

You don’t have to go it alone. There are a lot of online and tools available to help you in crafting your sales plan. If you’re an independent health insurance sales professional, you may also be able to tap into resources offered by your general agency (GA). Don’t be afraid to ask them for help, because they want you to be successful, too.

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