For most sales leaders, like you, sitting down to write out a sales plan probably isn’t your favorite part of the job, but that doesn’t make it any less important. What you invest in building out a realistic and actionable plan pays huge dividends later, enabling a much more effective team that can meet the ambitious goals you set.

We explain everything you need to know to write a comprehensive sales plan, including a free sales plan template to make it easier:

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What is a Sales Plan?

Your sales plan is a set of strategic goals and tactical plans that outline how you’ll contribute to the overall business plan. It’s a concrete, written plan for the period—often done monthly, quarterly, and/or annually.

Here are the basics your sales plan should cover:

  • Goals and measurable key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Tactical plans to achieve those goals

Those details matter for everyone in the sales organization—so while sales plans are often compiled by upper-level sales managers or executives, they offer vital guidance for the whole team.

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What should a Sales Plan Consist of?

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Actual sales plans include several other sections in addition to those mentioned above, to help ground those goals and tactics within broader organization and business goals.

Company mission and positioning

Start broadly, reiterating the company’s big picture, overarching mission. Add to that details on your positioning within the marketplace and your unique selling proposition (USP) to help ground the tactics you’ll explain later on.

Sales organization structure

Outline your entire sales organization—creating an org chart of the sales team and outlines responsibilities and goals assigned to each role.

Sales goals and targets

Note the high-level goals, sales targets, and KPIs you plan to hit, along with a timeline for achieving them. Ensure these goals are realistic, ambitious, and measurable, above all.

Target audience and customer segments

Define your target audience and customer personas upfront to make it easier to identify the most effective tactics for reaching them. Enterprise sales teams, for example, may include specific target accounts.

Sales strategies and methodologies

Outline your overall sales methodology and strategy. Combine the previous sections into a coherent strategy to drive your sales organization and include things like account-based sales (ABS) strategy, inbound sales strategy, and outbound sales strategy.

Sales execution plan

Your execution plan takes the strategy above and details explicitly how you’ll operationalize that strategy toward the goals you’ve set out.

Support

The rest of your plan deals with the resources and support your team will need to accomplish everything above. That includes financial resources, tools, training, and more.

  • Sales enablement deals with the training materials your sales team will need, customer content, and other educational needs.

  • Sales operations details other requirements including recruiting needs, your framework for sales interactions, and tools and software your team will need.

What is a 30-60-90 day Sales Plan?

 

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What is the Sales Planning Process?

 

A sales plan is built by working together with sales and company leadership.

The sales planning process is typically triggered every month, quarter, or year—but it’s an ongoing process of measuring performance, setting new goals, and tweaking your tactics. The sales plan that emerges from that sets your sales process and overall strategy in stone.

Your strategic sales plan makes it easier for sales leaders to set near-term goals and measure performance—their own and their reps’—against benchmarks. The tactical sales plan helps reps understand what’s expected of them and how they’ll put the plan into action.

How to Create a Sales Plan (a step-by-step guide) for Your Business

 

1. Define sales goals and objectives

Every strategic sales plan starts with goals and objectives. These are the big picture, true north goals that drive all your tactics, more granular KPIs, and your team’s day-to-day work. Start by detailing what these objectives look like for your business.

You may set a goal of doubling sales revenue in the next 12 months, for example, or increasing sales ROI by 15 percent next quarter.

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2. Assess barriers and challenges and how to overcome them

Once you have goals in mind, it’s important to think through any barriers or challenges that might stand in the way of achieving them.

Those can be market barriers, like a savvy competitor nipping at your heels or an economic downturn, or internal challenges like a small team or limited budget.

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3. Include buyer personas you want to target

Knowing who you’re selling to and what’s important to them is the linchpin for every effective sales plan. Whether you serve one buyer persona or five, detail the job title and responsibilities, challenges, and sales needs for each.

For a manufacturing firm, for example, that might include, depending on your product:

  • The purchaser or buyer

  • MRO managers

  • Design engineers

  • The CEO or other executives

Look at the data you have available on your existing customer base to find this information. Segmenting by your most loyal customers or those with the highest lifetime value (CLV) is a good way to ensure your buyer personas represent the kind of customers you want more of.

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4. Map your customer journey

To turn those personas from cold leads into customers, your sales team needs to know the most effective path to lead them down. That’s why your sales plan should include a map of the customer journey (for each persona, if it varies).

At its simplest, that may look something like:

Visit website → watch demo → schedule a meeting with a sales rep → conduct a proof of concept → close

If you already have a sense of the journey your customers take, that’s great. If not, you can:

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5. Create value propositions for the personas

Your value proposition (or USP) drives how sales reps communicate with leads and prospects.

Since each persona has different needs and goals for using your product, it’s important that your sales plan outlines that value proposition for each persona.

Explain what you offer that your competitors don’t—and how that benefits each type of customer. USPs are built from things like price, convenience, customer support, unique features and use cases, and more.

For example: When they first launched, Uber’s value proposition was all about convenience. Instead of calling a cab company or standing in the street to hail a cab, Uber allowed users to simply request a ride via the app—pretty revolutionary at the time.  

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6. Map out key milestones, KPIs, and timelines

Looking at your overarching goals and objectives from above, break them down into more actionable, time-based, and measurable benchmarks.

These can look like specific organization-wide goals on a weekly or monthly basis and role or individual-specific KPIs by period.

Your organizational goal, for example, could be to grow sales by 30% month-over-month.

At the team level, that might break down to each business development rep handing off 15 more sales qualified leads per week.

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7. Finalize strategic and tactical plan

With all the information above, you’re ready to finalize your sales plan. Run through the information again and double-check:

  • Big goals are broken down into achievable benchmarks
  • All goals and KPIs are specific, time-based, and measurable
  • Your buyer personas are clear, detailed, and mapped to your USP

Once you’ve double-checked the plan on your own, run through it with key stakeholders—iron out any unclear areas and build in answers to any questions that arise.

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8. Communicate to relevant teams and set expectations

Now that your sales plan is finalized, it’s time to distribute it across the sales organization.

Email works, or you can post it on another company-wide resource like a wiki or sales enablement hub.

Make sure everyone has access, understands what the sales plan means for them, knows their KPIs, and has a forum to ask any questions they may have.

That may look like a dedicated meeting with each team member to ensure they understand their goals and expectations and can ask questions.

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9. Track progress and adjust strategy as needed

Real life doesn’t always go according to plan, so it’s key to monitor your progress and adjust your tactics or strategy as needed to achieve your sales goals. Depending on your objectives, you and other sales leaders may track:

  • Sales revenue
  • Quota retirement by rep
  • Lead generation
  • Close rate
  • Time-to-close

If you’re using Freshworks CRM, you can track many of these right in your CRM.

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Selling your sales plan

Building your sales plan is only the beginning—now it’s time to track the sales metrics and KPIs you’ve set forth and adjust your tactics as needed to meet your goals.

A good CRM can help you do that, tracking sales metrics and data that are already available within the tool and making it easier to monitor progress and reach your goals.

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