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How to Create a Winning Sales Plan for Your Small Business

By Lindsay Haskell Reviewed By Mike Lucas
By Lindsay Haskell
By Lindsay Haskell Reviewed By Mike Lucas

Creating a sales plan is a great way to define your sales goals and the action steps required to achieve them. This can become the ultimate resource for your sales team, keeping reps on the same page and focused on the right priorities. Let’s check out some sales plan examples to help you craft your own to set up your team for success and inspire confidence in stakeholders.

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What Is a Sales Plan?

A sales plan is the action plan that breaks down exactly how your business will achieve its sales goals. It outlines your objectives, including timelines for achieving certain measurable outcomes. A great sales plan also describes your target audience so your sales and marketing teams are clear on who your customers are. Then, it details strategies at every stage in the sales cycle, from lead generation to promotional offers.

Types of Sales Plans

Not every sales plan looks the same. Larger organizations may benefit from creating one sales strategy template for executives and stakeholders and a different sales plan sample for sales reps to use as a practical resource. Here are some of the types of sales plans you can create.

Sales Action Plan

A sales action plan is a standard sales plan complete with sales goals, strategies and tools for given time periods. It gives an overview of how team members across the company play a role in generating sales. It’s probably the best sales goals template to hand over to a stakeholder if you want to demonstrate how your company plans to grow.

Operational Sales Plan

An operational sales plan focuses on the administrative policies that will enable your sales team to increase conversions. Basically, the plan includes the action steps and protocols sales reps aren’t directly responsible for, but which they require in order to perform better. For example, an operational sales plan might include the payment methods accepted, the online checkout process and customer perks, such as free shipping on larger orders.

Territory Sales Plan

A territory sales plan is limited in scope to the action steps and tools required to sell to a specific segment of your audience. Creating territory sales plans for the different persona types in your target market enables your sales team to take a “divide and conquer” approach. When each sales rep specializes in understanding specific buyer types and selling directly to them, they can convert more sales.

A woman points to notes on a whiteboard as she makes a presentation to her co-workers.

Tactical Sales Plan

A sales action plan template makes for great literature to present corporate executives, board members, investors or other company stakeholders. It’s written in a way that helps them understand the company’s forecast for the future, but it’s not necessarily presented in a way that helps your sales reps understand how to take action. Creating a tactical sales plan for your sales reps is a great way to give them a sample of all the practical strategies they need in an instructional format, without irrelevant information. 

Contingency Sales Plan

No matter how great your daily sales plan, you still need  a plan B. A contingency sales plan defines completely different ways to generate sales outside of any tactics or strategies mentioned in the original document. You might consider writing down action steps your staff should take in the event of a natural disaster, internet outage or a cyberattack. These plans might include, for example, steps for retrieving lost data, alternate ways to communicate and written policies regarding legal liability.

Elements of a Sales Plan

A comprehensive sales plan acts as a resource for all parties invested in your business’s sales outcomes, from your sales agents to your financial investors. When thinking how to write a sales plan, here are the elements you should include: 

Mission Statement and Sales Goals

Your company’s vision and overarching goals can be formalized in a mission statement, which should be at the core of all strategic planning. After starting with the mission statement, your sales plan should then outline measurable sales goals in dollar amounts with time restrictions. Make sure there are goals for each responsible party. For example, your sales team can rally around revenue goals, while executives and investors are interested in profit margins and market share.

Customer Personas

Success in sales requires knowing your customers and speaking their “language.” Develop a profile for each customer type so you can tailor the buyer’s journey according to the customer profile each person fits best. Customer persona profiles should include demographics, interests, how they spend leisure time, which social media platforms they use most and which line of communication they prefer. Also, include exactly how your product or company solves a problem for this customer. 

Sales Strategies

Outline your tactical strategies for generating leads and converting sales and include the research that supports it, such as relevant statistics on your industry and target consumer. These strategies are ultimately the action steps your team will take to achieve the company’s goals. Break them down into specialized areas within sales, such as lead generation strategies, customer loyalty strategies and sales enablement strategies.

A man points to a large brainstorming board as he presents a sales plan to his co-workers during a meeting.

Tools and Systems

Include the business software you’ll use to organize and track the information involved at every stage in the sales cycle. Include the CRM tool, any communication tools and performance tracking tools that will be used to help achieve your goals.

Performance Tracking

Detail how sales outcomes will be tracked and measured against sales goals. Include all the sales action plans and tools involved in monitoring team member productivity and the efficacy of sales tactics used. Also, mention how the relevant personnel will receive performance feedback on their work.

Sales Budget

Include an itemized sales budget that forecasts the expected overhead required to achieve your sales goals. Provide supporting return on investment (ROI) analyses to justify proposed expenditures such as new software or freelance work.

Sales Plan Templates

Using available online resources, you can avoid starting from scratch and have a sales plan put together in no time. Grab a downloadable template and replace the sales plan sample text with your own details. Here are some websites that provide free sales plan templates:

Lindsay Haskell Contributing Writer at Fast Capital 360
Lindsay Haskell is a business writer who specializes in blog posts targeting niche audiences with a focus on business, marketing, health, fitness and beauty. She also writes sales and marketing copy, press releases, product reviews and buyer's guides.
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