With your ideal customer profile in place, the next part of your sales plan needs to address how that customer becomes your customer. We can do this by mapping out their journey from prospect to loyal customer.

So, what do we need to know about our soon-to-be customers? Let’s start with the basics to ask them:

  • What do you want our product to do for you?
  • What features are important to you? Why?
  • What’s your budget for this?
  • How are you currently solving this problem?

These are all great questions to ask. However, it’s a huge mistake to only focus on the present in your sales plan.

From before they even knew they needed your solution to when they’re a happy, loyal customer. To fully understand their journey as a customer start by asking about past buying experiences:

  • When was the last time you bought something similar to our service or product?
  • Was that a good or bad experience? Why?
  • How did you make your decision back then? What was the decision-making process like?
  • How did you evaluate different offers?
  • What were the deciding factors that made you chose that particular solution?

If they had a great previous experience, think of ways to align your pitch with that experience and differentiate yourself with your unique value proposition (more on this next!). If they had a bad experience, distance yourself and explain how you would fix that situation.

Next, get your prospect to define their own roadmap to a close by asking them ‘what’s next?’

“What needs to happen to make you a customer?”

If they say they’ll have to get approval from the VP of Finance. Ask:

“Ok, and let’s say he agrees that we’re the right fit, what’s next?”

Putting your prospect in this future-thinking state of mind makes them imagine buying from you. This is a powerful tool, which can help uncover any potential roadblocks and even help accelerate the sales process.

In your sales plan template, be sure to address the entire customer journey from pre- to post-sale.