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Article 9 min read

How to write a sales plan: Types, template, and tips

A sales plan helps you outline sales strategies and goals, identify resources, and set a budget so you can pack your pipeline with high-quality leads.

著者: Cristina Maza, Contributing Writer

更新日: April 4, 2024

Before the start of a new fiscal year, organizations should create a sales plan. This must-have asset will be a boon in the upcoming year, helping sales staff better understand your products and meet their quotas. It can also provide crucial data insights on product- and territory-specific sales initiatives.

To write an effective sales plan, you’ll need to rely on cold, hard numbers and facts to develop data-driven strategies and pull off a seamless implementation. Read on to learn how you can guide your team to success.

What is a sales plan?

A sales plan lays out all sales-related activities and details sales objectives, strategies, budgets, timelines, and processes. It includes information on your target audience, market conditions, resources needed, and high-level tactics for achieving goals. It also outlines your team structure and the roles and responsibilities of team members.

Your plan will guide you and your team through the sales cycle and illustrate the big picture, empowering all of you to work together to reach your revenue and performance goals.

Purpose of creating a sales plan

The primary purpose of a sales plan is to outline a set of strategies and tactics that will help you meet your sales objectives. This resource can also help you:

  • Properly allocate resources

  • Set quantifiable goals and clear expectations for team members

  • Make more accurate sales predictions

  • Understand threats and opportunities

  • Increase sales rep productivity

Sales plan vs. business plan

A business plan outlines broad company goals, market research findings, company resources, and value propositions. Meanwhile, a sales plan zooms in on sales and revenue, offering an execution plan. Both play an important role, especially if you have investors to impress.

Sales plan process overview

When executed well, your sales plan template will empower your team to reach their quotas, streamline daily operations, and help you scale your business.

The process of sales planning entails:

  • Sharing time-based company objectives

  • Providing strategies to meet business goals

  • Outlining job roles, descriptions, and expectations

  • Defining how to measure and monitor progress

What to include in a sales plan

You can tweak your sales plan to suit your company’s unique needs. However, some tenets of a strong sales plan that you shouldn’t skip include a(n):

  • Mission statement

  • Executive summary

  • List of business goals and objectives

  • Analysis of past performance

  • Industry and market overview

  • Set of approved sales strategies and tactics

  • Plan for tracking metrics

According to Brad Kemp, EVP of business development at Verblio, a winning sales plan must include an objective, a crystal-clear view of what makes your company’s offering different, and an understanding of the tangible impact your product or service will have on your customers.

Customizable sales plan template

Use our free sales plan template to outline your sales goals for the upcoming year and define the strategies your team will use to achieve them.

How to create a sales plan in 12 steps

Follow these tips and tricks to craft a sales plan that’s actionable, data-driven, and impactful.

Preparation

1. Identify company objectives and set goals

Create a SMART goal to drive better results and accurately reflect on progress. SMART stands for:

S: Specific
M: Measurable
A: Achievable
R: Relevant
T: Time-bound

When determining your SMART goals, it’s critical to base them on accurate data and facts so you choose appropriate targets. You’ll also want to ensure your benchmarks align with the growth your company wants to experience.

Think about how much revenue your company strives to generate. Review previous performance data and sales forecasts, too—this will allow you to set realistic revenue goals. Also, ask yourself what methods you’ll use to gauge your team’s success. Those could include performance metrics, software, and monitoring techniques.

Regardless of what you decide, communicate your SMART goals and tracking methods to your team so the process is transparent and everyone is working toward the same objective.

2. Review sales and consumer data

Make sure your plan builds on sales data from previous quarters. Historical data will enable you to spot trends, determine where you can improve compared to last year, and establish realistic expectations. (Of course, you’ll want to consider the current state of the market and demand forecasts, too.)

The data can also help you identify potential challenges, find new opportunities in your sales process, see what mistakes to avoid, and come up with more accurate metrics for measuring success.

Tip: Assess sales funnel and pipeline data from your CRM to map out the customer journey and visualize buyer personas.

3. Determine performance benchmarks

Strategic sales plans need to incorporate milestones and processes that’ll help you monitor the progress and performance of the team and individual sales agents.

This is where KPIs come in. They can vary based on your company’s needs, but some typical ones include:

  • Gross profit margins

  • Annual contract value (ACV)

  • Customer lifetime value (CLV)

  • Return on investment (ROI)

  • Pipeline leads and age

  • Conversion rates

  • Customer retention

  • Daily web traffic

Additionally, you’ll want to specify the technology you’ll use to measure success, such as a sales CRM or analytics software.

4. Audit the existing plan

To truly prepare, your company needs to assess how existing and former sales plans performed (if you have any). That way, you can identify trends and perform a SWOT analysis that allows you to up your sales game.

The SWOT analysis will reveal your:

  • Strengths

  • Weaknesses

  • Opportunities

  • Threats

5. Take stock of resources

Once you collect the bulk of the data and get a general idea of what to accomplish with your sales plan, take inventory of your resources. Some tools you’ll want to have throughout the process include:

  • CRM software, integrations, and automations

  • Lead gen, prospecting, and outreach tools

  • Internal communication and project management software

  • Engagement and outreach tools

  • Sales tech stack

6. Start sales forecasting

Sales forecasting is the process of predicting future sales. It’s not a perfect science, but it can provide baseline data to help your company plan for:

  • Hiring

  • Pricing

  • Product development

  • Demand

7. Staff for success

Your sales plan will only be successful if it helps your team work like a well-oiled machine. That means defining clear roles and responsibilities so everyone is on the same page.

In this section of the plan, assign tasks and activities to specific individuals or groups. For example, perhaps you give cold-calling responsibilities to one set of agents while another set oversees lead nurturing. This helps balance the workload and ensures the whole team is actively engaged in improving the sales process.

8. Outline team responsibilities

You won’t reach your sales goals without taking concrete steps to make them happen—and the more specific and well-planned your actions are, the faster you’ll realize your goals. So, you want to choose tactics that’ll help you achieve those objectives.

Ensure your team knows the steps to reach qualified leads, their duties, and how you plan to measure performance. Here are some typical responsibilities that sales managers need to assign to an individual or group of representatives.

  • Prospecting and lead scoring

  • Outbound sales

  • Inbound sales

  • Sales enablement

  • Onboarding and retention

  • Reporting

To execute the sales plan properly, everyone on your team should know precisely what they need to do and when.

When assigning tasks to your team, ensure the workload is manageable—be realistic about each individual’s capacity. If you find that you may need to hire new salespeople, include that in the sales plan and specify what role they would fill, the value they would add, and when you would want to bring them on.

It’s beneficial to include an organizational chart showing every person on your sales team, their personal goals, and their primary responsibilities. It would also be helpful to outline any important deadlines they might have to meet. Avoid ambiguity as much as possible.

9. Align marketing with sales objectives

Create action items for the marketing and support teams to create cross-functional go-to-market strategies, and equip the sales department with sales enablement materials that help:

  • Inform consumers

  • Score leads

  • Promote inbound leads

Creation

10. Outline your sales plan

We already covered the must-have components of a sales plan, which include:

  • Mission and vision statements

  • Business objectives

  • Past sales performance

  • Software inventory

  • Industry and market analysis

  • Sales strategies and tactics

  • Customer segments

  • Sales operations budgets

Beyond that, you can customize your sales plan as much as you want. We recommend including the following elements:

  • Pricing and promotions

  • Deadlines and important dates

  • Product demand

  • Team structure

  • Market conditions

Implementation

11. Monitor your progress

Select a person or a group of people to track progress as you begin implementation and to make sure you achieve complete compliance. They can keep track of:

  • Interdepartmental collaborations

  • Sales enablement collateral

  • Strategy adherence

  • Labor, production, and supply costs

  • ROI

  • Sales channel performance

  • Team performance

Using sales software features like sales tracking, analytics, and reporting makes it easy to assess how your team and sales strategies perform over time.

12. Revise the sales plan regularly

Keep in mind that sales planning doesn’t end with the first iteration. Once you reach the pre-defined date, you must review the results and adjust accordingly to ensure sales don’t stagnate.

Set up monthly meetings with your sales team to address any questions and concerns that arise, and keep close tabs on what does and doesn’t work.

Types of sales plans and examples

There are four sales plans your business can try when outlining processes, setting goals, and determining your execution strategy.

  • 30-60-90 day sales plan

  • Territory sales plan

  • Market expansion plan

  • New product sales plan

30-60-90 day sales plan

This plan has a three-part timeline for accomplishing larger goals. Companies often use it to help new salespeople acclimate to your business and understand your product’s value proposition.

  • 30 days: This is generally an introductory phase and includes onboarding sales staff. During this time, they will learn the ins and outs of company processes, your target audience, and the products they’ll sell.
  • 60 days: This phase allows your new hires to put what they learned into practice by role-playing, making mock sales calls, presenting sales pitches, and attending coaching sessions.
  • 90 days: Finally, send your sales team members out into the world to implement the skills they’ve gained. This is the time to assess their performance, provide feedback, and make any necessary adjustments.

Territory sales plan

Target customers within a specific geographical region and deliver top-level insights to company directors and VPs. Here are some things you can do when writing a winning territory sales plan:

  • Assess your existing customers’ characteristics and purchase history

  • Segment customers using region-specific data

  • Audit existing plans to find strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats

Market expansion plan

This sales plan outlines strategies, tasks, and metrics to expand into new target markets. Market expansion plans should include:

  • Distribution expenses

  • Time zone variations between the sales team and potential buyers

  • Industry compliance regulations, policies, and laws

New product sales plan

You’ll need this type of sales plan to generate revenue early on if you plan to launch a new item in the near future. Some things to consider when creating a product sales plan are:

  • Competitors

  • Sales strategies

  • Brand positioning

  • Partners

  • Consumer demand

  • Product perception

Sales plan template

Use our free sales plan template to outline your sales goals for the upcoming year and define the strategies your team will use to achieve them. Our template has tips for:

  • Crafting your mission statement and vision statement

  • Understanding your target market

  • Determining sales data, processes, and strategies

sales plan template

Download template

Execute your sales plan

Use a CRM to keep tabs on sales performance. A tool like Zendesk Sell can help you manage sales data, monitor your team’s pipeline and performance, and forecast sales. You can even create reports to evaluate your sales strategy and determine whether your team is on track, ahead, or behind in meeting milestones and key objectives.

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